David Gray, a right-sided defender also capable of playing in midfield, was recruited by Stevenage manager Gary Smith in summer 2012. The signing was a somewhat ironic one; it being former Boro’ manager Graham Westley‘s decision not to renew his deal at Preston North End that made him available.
David Gray: Before Boro’
The Edinburgh-born full back started his career with Scottish Premier League side Hearts as a youth. But his talent at an early age saw him move to Manchester United for £50,000; Gray spending five years under contract at Old Trafford. However, most of this was spent on loan elsewhere. He did, however, make his senior United debut in the 2005-6 Carling Cup. First team opportunities overall were – perhaps understandably – scarce. Injury curtailed a loan spell at Royal Antwerp in 2007, while a similar switch to Crewe Alexandra that same year was no more productive.
The defender went on loan twice to Plymouth Argyle in 2009, however; gaining some valuable Football League experience before his United contract came to an end in 2010. Preston of the Championship would be the player’s next permanent home. Injury again struck during his time at Deepdale and restricted him to around 50 appearances; both starting and as a substitute. But Gary Smith moved quickly when he became available, and Gray became the latest addition to Boro’s new-look team.