Grimsby Town Football Club are delighted to announce the signing of striker, Ira Jackson Jr. on an initial two-year contract, with the option of a further year.
Following spells in the non-league, the 23-year-old forward joins The Mariners from his previous club, Folkestone Invicta after scoring 26 goals and contributing to 9 assists in 36 starts for the club.
Jackson spoke exclusively to gtfc.co.uk following his second pre-season session with the club this afternoon. "The opportunity came about after the Manager and Chairman saw some of my footage, they invited me down, I came in, had a good first training session with a LOT of running and from there, my Dad did a great job with his conversations in order to get this move to come along", said Jackson.
"With the lock-down, I've been used to training by myself really, so I have just spent a lot of time getting in plenty of rest, then coming back to it and seeing where I was going, because I wasn't quite sure at the time. But during that, I've got my head down, been training 6 days a week to keep fit, work on my weaknesses from last season and try drive forward and wait for an opportunity like this to come along.
"I'm a forward player, who likes to get forward, create chances and score goals really!", explained Jackson. "I want to make the team win, I want to get in, do my job, score goals and I know that we have got really big ambitions for this season, so it's all about me playing my part in that and helping the team go forward, whether that's Playoffs or promotion, whichever we are going for".
The forward also wanted to give a special mention to his manager at Folkstone Invicta following his transfer to the Mariners. "I just want to thank my manager at Folkstone Invicta for giving me the opportunity, Neil Cugley. He is definitely the best manager in the non-league and now, it's an opportunity for me to be with, who I consider to be the best manager in the EFL in Ian Holloway. I'm looking forward to being at work!".
Jackson was also full of admiration for his new manager, Ian Holloway, explaining just how influential he was in making the move up to Grimsby. "I think he was pretty much 95% of the influence in me coming here, to be honest", said Jackson. "As soon as I heard that Ian Holloway was interested in me as a player and some of the stuff he was saying to me and my Dad about me as a player and what I could potentially go on to do, it was like a godsend, it's a perfect opportunity to come work under a manager with Premier League experience and I want to push on. It's about taking this opportunity well and I want to thank God for this opportunity to progress in my career".
We caught up with the manager earlier today who spoke to us about his new exciting young signing.
"He's a two-footed centre forward who scored a lot of goals last season", said Holloway. "He's been concentrating on a degree at 23 years old and now he's finished that, he's going full-time."
"He's had lots of choices but he's chosen us and I've chosen him so I am absolutely delighted at it. He gave me a really good time yesterday and I can't wait to work with him really, he can play anywhere along the front, on the right, in the centre or on the left, so as we lost Charlie and Billy, I need to bolster that area and he's of that age where I believe he will become a saleable asset to us."
You will be able to catch up with the manager later on iFollow Mariners.
Welcome to Blundell Park, Ira!