7th February – Clayton Donaldson

Clayton Donaldson has played a big part in Birmingham City’s revival this season under Gary Rowett and helped his side to a 1-1 draw with Fulham on his birthday but unfortunately could not add to his goal tally.

Now 31 it has been a long road for the 31 year old to reach the Championship but he has always scored goals at whatever club he has been at in England. It seemed like he made a bad decision leaving Brentford for Birmingham in the early months of the season but in recent weeks his new club have started playing much better.

The striker started his career at Hull City and scored on his debut on the 22nd October 2002 against Port Vale in the Football League Trophy. Shortly afterwards he joined Northern Premier League club Harrogate Town on loan and also scored on his debut for them against Gateshead. He spent three months at the club, scoring five times in 10 games. Back at his parent club he signed a new two year deal and made a further two appearances before the end of the season. After short loan spells at Scarborough and Halifax Town, he returned to Harrogate again on loan and had more success with the club, winning the Conference North Player of the Month in October 2004 and scored four times in 11 games before being released by his parent club.

In June 2005 Donaldson joined York City and had an impressive first season, finding the back of the net 18 times and being named Clubman of the Year. During his second season he was being linked with moves away from the club and this may have distracted for short periods and many clubs tabled bids for the striker but none were accepted. After 26 goals in the Conference he did leave York in the summer of 2007 and made the step up to the SPL and joined Hibernian. Donaldson got his first goal for the club after winning and scoring a penalty against Falkirk but was later sent off in the game. After serving his suspension he scored on his return against Motherwell and then later in the month got a hatrick against Kilmarnock.

Donaldson York

During the second half of the season he was frozen out of the team and didn’t play leading to a transfer to Crewe Alexandra in the summer. He first season wasn’t as prolific as he hoped but he improved in his second season despite injuries and eventually in his third season he showed his true potential. He ended the campaign as League Two’s top scorer with 28 goals.

Donaldson CA

Once again his talents were seen by teams in higher leagues and on the 1st July 2011 he joined League One side Brentford. In each of his three seasons he hit double figures and was a constant threat to the opposition, ending his time there with over 50 goals but even though he helped them to promotion at the end of the 2013-14 season he declined their new contract offer and joined Birmingham. He is already in double figures so he has proved he can make the step up to the level and it will be interesting to see how far he can go.

Donaldson Brentford

The final word can go to Birmingham manager Gary Rowett. “He deserves his purple patch because he works so hard for the team. His role is pivotal to the way we play and he plays it brilliantly. He occupies defenders and all the players appreciate the role he does. He’s picking up goals as well and for me they’re bonuses.”

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6th May – Craig Dawson

With a record of six goals in 15 games for the England under 21s you would expect this player to be a striker or at least an attacking midfielder but in fact he is a central defender.

Craig Dawson, 24 today, has came a long way since playing for Radcliffe Borough as he lined up in an unfamiliar position of right back against Arsenal for West Brom. The Northern Premier League side Radcliffe played the defender 95 times and he scored 15 league goals which shows that he has always had an eye for goal. His impressive performances meant that he was being watched by Football League clubs and it was Rochdale that signed him.

On his debut for the reserves he scored a header against Manchester City but unfortunately an injury stopped him progressing to the first team quicker.
Dawson Rochdale
At the start of the 2009-10 season he made his debut on the 8th August against Port Vale and was a consistent player throughout earning him a place in the PFA League Two Team of the Year. He also scored 9 goals in 42 league games which once again meant teams in higher division were looking at him.

On 31st August 2010 West Brom signed Dawson on a three year deal for an undisclosed fee but as part of the transfer agreement he was loaned back to Rochdale for the remainder of the season. Once again he proved how dangerous he can be in the oppositions box by getting into double figures and scoring 10 times.

On his return to West Brom he made his debut in a League Cup win over Bournemouth which was watched by England under 21 manager Stuart Pearce and he earned a call up to his next squad. In July 2011 he was rewarded by the club with a new and improved contract and made his first Premier League start on the 17th September against Swansea City, however it was a disappointing performance from the whole team as they lost 3-0.
Dawson WBA
Due to him not getting many first team opportunities he was once again going out on loan in January 2013 and it was Bolton Wanderers who won the race to sign him. It did not take him long to open his goalscoring account with two goals in a 4-1 win over Hull City on the 23rd February. Three days later he scored the only goal against Peterborough United and then made it three games in a row by scoring the winning goal against Barnsley in a 3-2 win.
Dawson Bolton
The only surprising thing about his career so far is that he has played 15 Premier League games and he hasn’t managed to get on the scoresheet. The final word can go to West Brom Sporting Director Dan Ashworth. “He is an exciting young prospect who we have thoroughly scouted and he is an imposing lad with bags of potential.”