ACHIEVE client Matty Pearson has completed a move to Championship outfit Barnsley from League Two side Accrington Stanley.
Towering defender Pearson has penned a three-year contract at Oakwell and will likely make his debut in Tuesday’s League Cup clash with Morecambe.
Pearson is a 6 foot 3” “hard as nails” defender and former England under-18 and England C international who joined Accrington Stanley in May 2015 from FC Halifax Town.
Able to operate anywhere across the back four, or as a holding midfielder, he joined Blackburn Rovers at the age of 10, progressing through the academy to sign his first professional contract in the summer of 2011 alongside Phil Jones. In January 2012, he joined National League side Lincoln City on a youth loan. Pearson made his debut for the Imps in a 2–1 win over Carshalton Athletic in the FA Trophy. However, his loan was cut short two months early as he was recalled by his parent club.
In August 2012, he joined League Two side Rochdale on a one-year deal after his release by Blackburn. His professional debut came in August 2012, in a 3-4 defeat, incidentally, to Barnsley in the League Cup.
In March 2013, he joined FC Halifax Town on loan, making his debut for the club in the following day’s 5–0 National League North home victory over Worcester City and going on to make 17 league appearances. He left Rochdale at the end of his contract after nine league appearances during his time at Spotland and, in June 2013, FC Halifax Town announced that he had signed a two-year contract to join the club on a permanent basis.
He was subsequently a regular in manager Neil Aspin’s side, helping them to reach the National League play-off places in the 2014-15 season. His form attracted the attentions of a host of clubs, before he eventually linked up with his former manager at Rochdale, John Coleman, signing for League Two club Accrington Stanley in May 2015 after over 100 appearance for FC Halifax Town in all competitions. During his time with FC Halifax Town, he also became an England C international, making his debut against Latvia.
He quickly became a mainstay in the Accy defence and has appeared right across the backline, playing at right-back, left-back and centre-back and he helped the club enjoy one of their best-ever season during the 2015-16 campaign as they narrowly missed out on automatic promotion. His first goal for the club came in a home win over Dagenham & Redbridge in October 2015 and he netted again the following month in a thumping 5-1 win over York City.
Pearson signed a new contract in January 2016 as a reward for his superb form and he scored his third goal of the season the following month in a 4-1 victory over Crawley Town. Such was his outstanding form during the season that he appeared in all 46 league matches during the season and made 52 appearances in all competitions as Accrington defied the odds and just missed out on promotion after losing in the play-offs.
He enjoyed yet another superb 2016-17 campaign from a personal point of view, helping Accrington Stanley to cement their place once again in League Two and contributing a staggering 9 goals from a defensive position during the season.
Operating in either full-back role, in the centre of the defence and also in a holding midfield role during the season, Pearson showed his versatility and he was an automatic selection in the side. In fact, he missed just three matches all season, appearing 51 times in all competitions, those three missed matches coming due to suspension. Prior to this suspension, he was ranked third in the most number of successive appearances of all players in the Premier League and Football League.
His rich vein of goal scoring form began on the very opening day as he netted in a 3-2 win over eventual champions Doncaster Rovers in August 2017 and followed that up with the winning goal later that same month as he scored a last second strike to defeat Premier League opposition and Lancashire rivals Burnley in the League Cup in front of the live television cameras.
He continued to perform admirably during the following months, earning a reputation as one of the best defenders in League Two. A real menace for the opposition with his powerful leap, his goal scoring exploits continued with a real purple patch in the new year as he bagged goals against Hartlepool United, Colchester United, Wycombe Wanderers, Exeter City and Leyton Orient.
A real threat from set-pieces, he netted his ninth goal of the season with another trademark header in the last home game of the campaign against Luton Town to end a remarkable season with a magnificent 9 goals from defence.
ACHIEVE Director Dave Garley said: “There has been a lot of interest in Matty this summer from clubs in higher divisions, which is understandable as he had a fantastic couple of seasons with Accrington.
“Matty lives fairly local to Barnsley and when they came in, the opportunity to progress his career with a Championship club – one that is not far from his home – was just too good an opportunity to turn down.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Andy Holt, Accrington Stanley’s chairman, who was an absolute pleasure to deal with throughout the process, as well as Gauthier Ganaye, the Barnsley Chief Executive.
“Both clubs conducted themselves impeccably and were very professional and a privilege to work with.
“We are extremely proud to have played a part in Matty making this step up and helping him to progress in his career. He has undoubtedly been one of the best defenders outside the Championship over the past couple of seasons and this move is a just reward for his hard work.
“Matty comes from a lovely family, he is as down-to-earth as you could get, a genuinely nice person and we are very pleased for him.
“We have no doubt that Matty will very quickly become a fans’ favourite with Barnsley.”
Barnsley manager Paul Heckingbottom said: “We’re really pleased to get Matty to the club. This is a deal we have moved quickly on once we knew he was available and I am happy we could get it over the line.
“For a tall full-back, Matty has some exceptional qualities that we feel we can work with and make better. He has heard everything we had to say and really bought into our ideas of what we want to do at the Club.
“This is an excellent deal and I look forward to now working with Matty and the rest of the squad as we begin the new season.”
We wish Matty, Barnsley and Accrington Stanley all the best for the forthcoming season, from everyone at ACHIEVE.