Manager Allan Johnston's first signing of the upcoming January transfer window has been confirmed as centre half Callum Morris, who will be making a return to East End Park following his 2 year spell at the club earlier this decade.
As a teenager, he had been signed by Newcastle United but was released after 3 years without making a first team appearance. He then played for Blyth Spartans, which was followed by a period at the Glenn Hoddle Soccer Academy in Spain, during which time he played for Spanish 4th division side Jerez. He then moved back to England to play non-League for Hayes, then Morpeth. In August 2012, Pars boss Jim Jefferies made Morris his next signing in a new-look Pars squad following relegation from the Premier League. Morris quickly established his place in the team, making 30 appearances in all competitions that season. The team had led the First Division (now Championship) before the enforced break-up of the first team squad due to administration. Relegation followed after losing the play-off final to Alloa. Despite this, Morris was named in the First Division team of the year, as voted by his fellow professionals.
The next season, 2013/14, Morris played 22 games before injury ruled him out for several weeks. He returned to make a further 15 appearances, with the team finishing second, and going into a promotion play-off with Cowdenbeath. Manager Jefferies, possibly influenced by Morris' rejection of a new contract, kept the player on the bench, instead playing teenagers Kerr Young and Lewis Martin in central defence. Bizarelly, Morris was brought on as a late substitute in the first leg of the play-off, but as a striker. This was to be his 67th and final appearance for Dunfermline. He was an unused substitute in the second leg of the play-off final, which Dunfermline lost 4-1 on aggregate.
Dundee United was the player's next destination, and he played 45 games over a 2 year period before being released and joining Aberdeen in the summer of 2016. Although a first team squad member at Pittodrie, he was not selected as a first team starter in his 6 months at the club.
Pars Review verdict: Potentially a very good signing. Concerns remain over the player's injury record, and the fact that he has not played a first team game this season. However, his form (particularly in his first season at EEP) and the experience he has gained since could make him the dominant centre half that the team requires.
Welcome back to EEP, Callum!