Hartlepool United new boy Louis Laing will be looking to put down roots back in the North East after a difficult few years since he left the region.
The 24-year-old joined Pools yesterday on a free transfer after spells at Motherwell, Notts County and Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
Having been highly-rated at Sunderland as a youngster, Newcastle-born Laing’s career has had ups and downs since he left the region – and he’ll be hoping some stability in the North East will boost his fortunes.
Here’s the lowdown on what happened to him since he left Sunderland.
Laing was always highly-rated as a youngster at Sunderland, having joined the Academy in 2009.
He was handed his first-team debut by Steve Bruce as a late substitute for John Mensah in the Premier League match against Wolves.
He then went out on loan to Wycombe Wanderers before signing a new contract at Sunderland.
However, his last two years were disrupted by injury and he was eventually released in 2014.
Nott a good move?
When Laing decided to leave Sunderland in 2014, there were a number of clubs interested in him, including Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United.
It was even understood that he had a trial at Manchester United.
However, he decided to join Championship side Nottingham Forest on a 12-month contract.
Laing was quickly farmed out on loan to neighbours Notts County and did enough there to secure another loan move, this time to SPL side Motherwell where he also impressed, including playing both legs in their vital 6-1 aggregate Premiership play-off win over Rangers.
At the end of the season, his contract at Forest wasn’t extended and he became a free agent.
All’s not ‘Well
Laing returned to Motherwell in June 2015, signing a two-year deal with the Premiership outfit.
He made 16 appearances in the first team in his first season before losing his place after manager Ian Barraclough was sacked and Mark McGhee took over.
At one point, Laing even admitted he had considered quitting the game given his frustrations and unhappiness with being out of the side.
However, he rejoined Notts County on loan at the start of the last campaign. After a spell there, Laing’s contract at Motherwell was cancelled in January, six months ahead of schedule.
Back to Scotland
In February, Laing joined SPL side Inverness Caledonian Thistle on a free transfer, where he played 14 times, helping the strugglers to four wins including victory over Rangers and his old club, Motherwell.
However, he was unable to save them from relegation.
In demand again
After the success of last season, where Laing played 41 times for both Notts County and Caley Thistle, a number of clubs were interested in his services as a free agent.
Inverness were keen on getting him to stay, while Scottish Premiership and League One clubs were also linked with the central defender.
However, Pools have won the race for the defender who has signed a 12-month deal at Victoria Park.