Fleetwood swoop for Rochdale defender Eastham

Ashley Eastham
Ashley Eastham

Fleetwood Town have swooped for former Blackpool player and out of contract Rochdale defender Ashley Eastham.

The 25-year-old is from Preston, came through Blackpool’s youth system and previously had a brief loan spell at Town in 2012.

Ashley Eastham

Ashley Eastham

He turned down a new contract at Rochdale to sign a two year deal at Highbury and will officially return to the Fylde coast on July 1.

And the centre-half says the ambition of Town’s chairman Andy Pilley and manager Steven Pressley and the club’s impressive new £8.5m Poolfoot farm training complex were big factors in his decision to leave Rochdale for their League One rivals.

He said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be here. I came to have talks with the manager and the chairman over the last couple of weeks, and I felt it was the right time for change and a new start.

“I’ve played for Fleetwood before albeit very briefly. I was at Blackpool at the time and Ian Holloway decided it’d be good for me to come here for a month to get some experience.

“I know quite a bit about Fleetwood to be fair, especially as they’ve been in the same league as Rochdale for the past couple of seasons.

“We played against Fleetwood back in February and happened to win 1-0, but I thought we were a little fortunate that night because Fleetwood played some great football and hit the bar late on.

“I’ve had chats with various people and it was a tough decision for me to leave Rochdale. I’ve had three fantastic years there but I needed a new start.

“It excites me just looking at the facilities and the infrastructure here and I really can’t wait to get started now. I was blown away by the training ground.

“One of the biggest factors in me coming here was the ambition from the chairman and manager. I felt it was something I wanted to be a part of.”

He made one Championship substitute appearance for the Seasiders at Bloomfield Road against Peterborough in September 2009.

Eastham played twice in the League Cup for Blackpool but spent the majority of his four year spell with the Tangerines on loan.

He had a one month loan spell at Highbury in August 2012 and played two games for Town in the 2-2 JP Trophy draw with Dale and in the 5-2 defeat to Port Vale.

After that he had loan spells with Notts County and Bury before joining Rochdale on a free transfer from Pool in 2013.

He went on to make 74 appearances for the League One side before making the switch to Pressley’s side to become Town’s second signing of the summer after striker Ashley Nadesan’s arrival from non-league Horley Town on Tuesday.