Monday, 17 January 2011

259 Paul Carden

Position :  Winger ( also  played  at  right  back )

Played : 1997-98  to  1999-2000

Appearances :  45

Goals : 0

Paul was a deadline day signing from Blackpool for whom he’d made just one League appearance the previous season.

No one had heard of him and he seemed a lightweight non-entity in his first few games. Then it clicked in the 2-2 draw at Rotherham in April 1998 where he was man of the match effortlessly beating his man with skill and close control. It was a shame there was only one more game to go. It didn’t seem to count for anything the following season when Paul had to wait until late November for his first game although thereafter he played in almost every game, sometimes at right back.

Paul’s time at Spotland ended in frustration as he became the first in a procession of wingers to crash against Steve Parkin’s distrust of the breed. His place in the side was claimed by Parkin’s assistant Tony Ford and he had to make do with late substitute appearances for the veteran. Parkin told him to be patient , that Ford couldn’t last all season but then brought in Chris Bettney as further competition. After making only three starts, Paul went on loan to Chester in March and despite their relegation to the Conference and the eccentric interference of American owner Terry Smith he signed for them permanently in the summer and found himself playing for Graham Barrow again.

After a successful season during which he moved into a more central midfield role he moved to Doncaster in the summer for £10,000 but returned to Chester for £4,000 just months later. This time round he stayed for nearly 4 years winning a Conference championship medal in 2004 and a re-start to his League career. Despite being player of the season in 2004-05 he was released by new manager Keith Curle and rejoined former boss Mark Wright at Peterborough. He played just one full season there, captured in the Big Ron Manager documentary series before leaving the club by mutual consent in October 2006. He signed for Burscough but immediately received an offer of Conference football with Burton and negotiated a loan deal made permanent in January. He then resumed his League career for a third time by signing for Accrington but only made 4 appearances before going on loan to Cambridge in November 2007. He signed permanently in the summer and was made assistant-manager a role he retains today after two brief spells as caretaker boss. As he is still only 31 he could  make yet another return to League action.

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