Date:Friday September 25 2009
Barnsley forward Andy Gray is the One to Watch ahead of this weekend's clash with the Tykes.
Name: Andrew David Gray
Date of Birth: 15-11-1977 (Harrogate)
Former Clubs: Leeds United, Bury (L), Nottingham Forest, Preston North End (L), Oldham Athletic (L), Bradford City, Sheffield United, Sunderland, Burnley, Charlton Athletic.
Appearances (Goals): 377 (87)
The Harrogate born striker comes from a great footballing heritage, he is the son of former Scotland defender Frank Gray and the nephew of Leeds United legend Eddie Gray.
Gray started his career at Leeds United and made his debut in January 1996 at home to West Ham United. Leeds won the game 2-0 with Gray replacing Rodney Wallace with 15 minutes remaining.
He had his first taste at Loftus Road later that season as his Leeds United side ran out 2-0 winners, courtesy of a Tony Yeboah brace.
Gray had to wait until January 1998 for his first goal, and it came during a loan period at Bury. He replaced Anthony Battersby in the 72nd minute against Reading and snatched a late equaliser with three minutes remaining.
The 6"1 forward moved to pastures new and Nottingham Forest, commanding the fee of £200,000 in his move to the City Ground. After 12 appearances he was shipped out on loan to Preston North End and then Oldham Athletic, both spells without scoring in a thoroughly disappointing season.
The following season Gray made 26 appearances for the Tricky Trees but failed to hit the target once in the 1999/00 season. The disappointment continued after the turn of the Millennium as Gray couldn`t score in 19 appearances. He faced the R`s twice in that season as Peter Crouch netted the winner in W12, with Stewart Wardley equalising a Marlon Harewood effort at the City Ground.
However in 2001/02, Gray finally bagged his first goal against Wolverhampton Wanderers, fully four years after joining the Reds. He was released at the end of the season and joined up with Bradford City, and it was from here that Gray`s career began to kick on.
The forward bagged 15 goals in his first season with the Bantams, with the season culminating in a Scotland call-up, a 1-1 draw at home to New Zealand. Six goals at the beginning of the following campaign alerted several clubs to potential of the striker, and when Sheffield United came calling he leapt at the opportunity.
A further nine goals in that campaign for the Blades, including three goals in his first three games helped propel Gray as one of the foremost forwards in the second tier.
18 goals in the 2004/05 season included two goals against the R`s. The first came in the Blades 1-0 win at Loftus Road. He also settled the contest at Bramall Lane in controversial circumstances when Mr Probert handed United a dubious last minute penalty - a decision for which R`s boss Ian Holloway was left fuming.
Gray scored for United on the opening day of the 2005/06 season, but then moved on to Sunderland for £1,100,000. He scored on his debut at the Stadium of Light against Charlton Athletic, but then failed to hit the target for a prolonged period, prompting a loan move to Championship side Burnley.
Once again he came back to haunt the R`s as during his loan spell he scored the only goal of the game in the Clarets 1-0 win at Turf Moor.
He made a £750,000 move to Turf Moor in the summer of 2006, and scored 14 goals in his first full season with the Clarets. He failed to hit the target against QPR in two meetings that season.
Another excellent start to the following campaign saw him score 13 goals, prompting Charlton Athletic to swoop in and capture the signature of the highly rated forward, initially on an emergency loan, then made permanent for £1,500,000.
Into a new Championship season with Charlton, Gray failed to live up to his previous billing at Turf Moor, bagging only seven goals as the Addicks plummeted into League One.
Having noticed the Charlton demise Simon Davey acted quickly to secure the striker for an undisclosed fee as Gray looked to rekindle a dwindling career in the second-tier.
Two goals already this season make him appear a shrewd purchase despite the sacking of manager Davey. He looks already to have made an impact under new boss Mark Robins as the Tykes look to avoid relegation.
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Date:Friday September 25 2009
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