Title-winning ex-Rangers star becomes a free agent again after prolonged injury absence at crisis-hit club

Steven Gerrard interacts with Brandon BarkerSteven Gerrard interacts with Brandon Barker
Steven Gerrard interacts with Brandon Barker | Getty Images
Former Manchester City youth prospect and Gers winger Brandon Barker has been left unemployed for the second time in quick succession

Former Rangers, Hibs and Manchester City winger Brandon Barker is searching for a new club for the second time in the space of six months after being released by crisis-hit EFL League Two side Morecambe.

The 27-year-old played only 16 times for the Light Blues under Steven Gerrard during his two-and-a-half year spell at Ibrox before falling out of favour. He has since endured challenging spells at Reading, Omonia Nicosia and Morecambe where he failed to impress.

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Barker returned to the UK as a free agent in January after his ill-fated spell in Cyprus where he worked alongside Neil Lennon for a brief period, but the Irishman was shown the door by club officials in extremely harsh circumstances and has since returned to management with Romanian side Rapid Bucharest.

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He subsequently penned a short-term deal with the Shrimpers until the end of the season, but featured just twice as the financially troubled club were docked three points for failing to pay players on time last August. A 15th-placed finish in League Two saw manager Ged Brannan depart to become number two at rivals Accrington Stanley, with ex-Ross County boss Derek Adams returning to the Lancashire outfit for a third spell earlier this month.

And a mass clearout of the playing squad saw 16 stars head for the exit door including Barker, with just FIVE first-team players left on the books. 12 were not offered new terms, while four opted to reject new deals.

Brannan previously admitted that Barker’s prolonged injury absence was one of the biggest on-field disappointments of his time in charge of Morecambe. A hamstring tear halted the wide man’s game time and left Brannan wondering what might have been had he managed to stay injury-free.

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Speaking back in April, he said: “Brandon is recovering well but I don’t know if we’ll get him on the pitch. He’s been the biggest disappointment for me - not him personally, but his injury - because I was desperate to see him play. Hopefully we can get him for next season because he would have been a top player in this division. It was just a freak injury, a turn on the artificial pitch in training, and I think everyone knew it was a pretty bad tear.”

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