STALYBRIDGE Celtic have completed the signing of defender Danny Gregson from Vanarama National League North rivals Stockport County on a two-year deal.

The 23-year-old centre-back only joined the Hatters last summer from Conference South side Weston-Super-Mare but has not played since sustaining a knee injury on New Year’s Day.

He made 26 first-team appearances in total with his only goal coming in the 3-0 FA Trophy first-round victory at Ramsbottom United last December.

Gregson has now crossed the SK14 divide to join Celtic as manager Liam Watson continues his squad overhaul at Bower Fold following the club’s narrow escape from relegation last term.

The 6ft 5in player began his career with six years in the Everton academy set-up before studying for a Masters at Myerscough College in Preston whilst undertaking his scholarship.

According to his Twitter profile, Gregson is now a lecturer in sport at the college, a personal trainer and is working towards his Uefa B Coaching License.

He featured for the England College National in 2011 before signing for Evo-Stik First Division North side Lancaster City where he spent two years.

Gregson then joined Northwich Victoria but only lasted six months before arriving at Weston-Super-Mare where he finished the 2013-14 campaign.

His brief stint at County began well as he fought his way into the starting line-up and became a commanding presence at the heart of the Hatters defence whilst winning over the Edgeley Park supporters.

One of Gregson’s first appearances in a County shirt came against future employers Stalybridge in a 3-2 defeat at Bower Fold last August but he did not play in County’s 4-3 win in the return fixture in mid-December.

Gregson’s final outing for the Hatters came in their 1-0 victory at Colwyn Bay on January 1, 2015, and he has since undergone surgery and rehabilitation to recover from a knee problem.

As a result, he was not included on the transfer list by newly-appointed County manager Neil Young but Gregson has now joined a long list of departures at the club after Stalybridge declared their interest in his services.

County have already signed two experienced defenders in former Carlisle centre-half Sean O’Hanlon and ex-Derby County full-back Gareth Roberts, who was released by Vanarama National League outfit Chester last month.

Gregson becomes Stalybridge’s eighth new signing of the summer already and the second in as many days following the purchase of former Lincoln City midfielder Bohan Dixon on Monday.

Right-back Peter Wylie, midfielder Michael Powell and striker Chris Simm – who played their part in the club’s survival towards the end of the campaign – have agreed contract extensions to remain at the Tameside outfit.

Winger Ben McKenna and former Hyde and Southport striker Steve Tames also committed their futures to the club while left-back Danny Wisdom has arrived from Evo-Stik Premier Division outfit Skelmersdale United.

It was swiftly followed by the triple signing of goalkeeper Tony McMillan from Barrow, midfielder Ryan Wade from Airbus UK and striker Alex Johnson from newly-promoted National League outfit Guiseley.

There are now 18 contracted players as Watson – who lost only one of his eight games in charge since replacing Keith Briggs in mid-April – and his assistant Dominic Morley shape a new-look squad prior to the August kick-off.

Stalybridge retained their status in the sixth tier of English football only on goal difference after a dramatic 4-4 draw with Gainsborough Trinity on the final day of the 2014-15 season.

County finished 11th in the Conference North – 13 points adrift of the play-offs – and appointed former Chester boss Young last month to replace Alan Lord, who is now the club’s director of football.

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