Chorley have completed the signing of goalkeeper Ritchie Branagan following his release from National League side Macclesfield Town.
The 25-year-old arrives as loanee Shaun Rowley returns to Shrewsbury Town following the completion of his three-month spell from The Shrews.
20-year-old Shaun played nine games for the Magpies as emergency cover following the loss of Sam Ashton to a season ending injury. He collecting four clean-sheets, five wins and only conceding eight goals during his spell with us and everyone at The Chorley Group Victory Park Stadium would like to wish Shaun all the best in what looks like a bright future in the game.
The club did have the option of extending Shaun’s loan but any new deal with Shrewsbury would have included a 24-hour recall clause. Had the loan option been taken and this clause then triggered it would he left the club in a very difficult position, so the management team opted to make a permanent signing and we now welcome Ritchie back to Victory Park.
Ritchie returns having played for us during a loan spell from Bury in March 2010, when he played five times for then manager Steve Waywell in the old UniBond League First Division North. At the tender age of 19, in what were his first competitive senior games, he recording back-back clean sheets in his first two games (both goalless draws) before the team went on to win two and lose one prior to his return to Bury.
The son of Bolton Wanderers legend Keith; Ritchie came through the youth system at the Reebok before joining Bury where he made three first team appearances and picked up a Republic of Ireland under 21 cap, appearing against Cyprus in 2011. On his release from The Shakers in the summer of 2012 he signed for the pre-Class of 92 Salford City where his performances caught the eye of National League side Macclesfield Town and he joined the Moss Rose club in the summer of 2013.
During his majority of his three-and-a-half years with the Silkmen he has been a regular in the first team squad and was given the number 1 shirt at the start of this season and played a total of 19 first team games for the club. However, due to limited opportunities this season he had a month-long loan spell at Ashton United in November and was released by mutual consent following the opening of the January transfer window.