Connections | Halifax Town

WE take a look back at three players who turned out for both the Mariners and the Shaymen.

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Rob Atkinson
Defender Rob Atkinson played over 100 league games for the Mariners in four seasons between 2007 and 2011, encompassing four separate spells at Blundell Park.
The Beverley-born centre half had started out at Barnsley and sought loan spells to get experience under his belt, playing four times for the Shaymen in 2006, scoring twice, having previously impressed in a lengthy spell with Scarborough.
He first joined the Mariners in November 2007 and helped Town reach the final of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at Wembley.
Upon completion of his loan spell, there were rumours that Atkinson was heading back to Blundell Park on a more permanent basis. But that did not materialise at that point and he tried to secure a place in the Tykes’ starting line-up.
In November 2008, he returned to Blundell Park though, again on loan and immediately impressed at the heart of the defence. A third short spell on loan followed in January 2009, before Rob signed on a permanent basis for the Mariners.
He was unable to prevent their relegation to the Conference in 2010 but continued to shine at the back, especially with his goalscoring prowess from set pieces.
Opting to join Fleetwood in 2011, Rob won promotion back to the Football League with the Cod Army at the first attempt and he now plies his trade with Accrington Stanley.

Kevin Donovan
A Halifax lad, winger Kevin Donovan played for Elland Athletic in the local leagues of the West Yorkshire town before signing for Huddersfield as a youngster.
Turning professional in 1989, Kevin spent time on loan with his hometown club in 1992, playing six times, whilst also being on the fringes of the action at Huddersfield.
It was at West Brom that he first made a name for himself, playing 168 league games in a five-season spell and helping the Baggies win promotion to Division One.
He rekindled a relationship with Alan Buckley at Blundell Park in 1997, having his best season ever with 21 goals in all competitions, including the winner as the Mariners were promoted in the Division Two Play Off Final at Wembley.
An injury hit three seasons followed for Donovan before he shocked Town fans with a move to rivals Barnsley. He could not put injuries behind him though and he ended up seeing out his career with Rochdale, York and Alfreton. Kevin now coaches youngster at Brighouse Town.

Jake Sagare
The American striker was one of the Mariners’ one-game wonders in the 2002/03 season, when they were relegated from Division One.
Having made his name in America with Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders, Yakima Reds and Washington Huskies, Jake tried his luck in the English game but struggled to make an impact at Blundell Park – his solitary league appearance coming in a 2-1 defeat at Reading towards the end of the season.
He returned to Portland that summer but his form convinced Halifax to give him another stab at the English game but he failed to score in eleven league appearances the following season.
Returning to North America, Jake again found success with the Timbers, Sounders and Reds, as well as turning out twice for Vancouver Whitecaps – he is now on the coaching staff at Washington Rush.

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