Date: 26th February 2016 at 3:13pm
Written by:

Clayton Donaldson is the One to Watch ahead of Rangers’ clash with playoff hopefuls Birmingham City.

Name: Clayton Donaldson.

Date of birth: 07.02.1984 (Bradford)

Previous clubs: Hull City, Harrogate Town (L), Scarborough (L), Halifax Town (L), York City, Crewe Alexandra, Brentford.

Appearances (goals): 483 (174)

At 32 years of age, and having experienced life in the non-league game, and all three divisions of the Football League, Birmingham City striker Clayton Donaldson will be desperate to help the Blues secure a return to the top-flight this season, providing him with his first opportunity of Premier League football.

Seven league goals in 26 appearances so far this term sees Donaldson top the side`s goalscoring charts, with his winner in the 1-0 victory at home to Bolton Wanderers on Tuesday evening, his second goal in three games, helping the club stay within touching distance of the play-off places in seventh spot.

The striker began his career with Hull City, with whom he made his debut in the in a Football League Trophy match in October 2002, in which he bagged the side`s only goal in a 3-1 defeat at Port Vale.

He would only make six appearances in all competitions for the Tigers over a three-year spell, which included loan moves to Harrogate Town, Scarborough and Halifax Town, with the bright lights of the Premier League just a distant dream after he was released at the end of the 2004/2005 campaign.

A move to Conference side York City ensued, where he netted 16 times for the club in 43 appearances during his first season, which was rewarded with a new one-year deal with the club.

The goals continued to flow for Donaldson, and having netted 18 times by January in the 2006/2007 season, interest from other clubs began to arise, and Peterborough United saw a £100,000 offer for his services rejected, and he remained with the club to finish the season with 24 goals in all competitions.

Having turned down the offer of a new contract, he moved to Scottish Premier League side Hibernian, where he managed five goals in his first five appearances, including a hat-trick, by the end of September, but just one more goal followed as he failed to make himself a permanent fixture in the team.

Following the sale of prolific forward Nicky Maynard to Bristol City, League One side Crewe Alexandra were in the market for a replacement, and eventually agreed a deal with Hibs and personal terms with Donaldson on a three-year contract, for a fee believed to have been in the six-figure region.

It wasn`t the most prolific first campaign for his new side, but he was back playing regular football, as he finished with seven goals from 43 matches in all competitions for the Railwaymen, and it ended in disappointing fashion as the club finished four points adrift of safety and were relegated to League Two.

13 goals the following campaign, which included a spell on the sidelines through injury, was followed by his best return to date, as he netted 29 goals, 28 of those coming in the league, as he finished as top scorer in League Two, resulting in a free transfer to Brentford in the third tier at the end of his contract.

A mid-table finish for the Bees in his first season at Griffin Park saw Donaldson get on the scoresheet on 11 occasions, and the 2012/2013 season saw him surpass the 20 goal mark once again as he hit 24 goals in 56 appearances on the road to the play-off final, which the side lost out 2-1 to Yeovil at Wembley.

His performances earned year him the club`s Player of the Year award, and his success on the pitch, adding another 18 goals the following year, was also mirrored by the club, as Uwe Rowsler guided Brentford to a second place finish, providing Donaldson with his first opportunity at Championship level.

To the dismay of the club however, Donaldson didn`t line up for Brentford on the first day 2013/2014 campaign, but instead at fellow Championship rivals and current club Birmingham City, where he moved on a free transfer and two-year deal having rejected the offer of a new contract at Griffin Park.

16 goals for the Blues last season helped them to a 10th place finish and earned him a two-year contract extension, but he could have been left wondering what could have been, as Brentford secured a play-off spot on the final day of the season, only to go down to Middlesbrough at the semi-final stage.

Should Birmingham secure promotion under Gary Rowett and Donaldson end the campaign as a Premier League player, it would mark a memorable year for the striker, who earnt his first two caps for Jamaica in November during the World Cup qualifiers, scoring the only goal on his second appearance in a 1-0 victory in Haiti.