Dan Harding

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Dan Harding is an English full back who was born in Gloucester on 23rd December 1983. Harding joined Brighton when he was 16 and made his first team debut in August 2002, coming off the bench in a 2-0 defeat to Norwich. That was the only game Harding played during the 2002/03 season however. He would become a regular at The Withdean next season though, playing 30 games during 2003/04. He played a further 45 matches the following campaign for The Seagulls, who were by now a Championship outfit.

Harding joined Leeds United in June 2005 when his Brighton contract expired. As Harding was under the age of 24, Brighton were entitled to receive a transfer fee. A tribunal decided Leeds were to pay £850,000 for the left back. Harding had a shaky start at the Elland Road club, but featured in most of Leeds matches during the first half of the 2005/06 season. The return to fitness of Stephen Crainey saw him drop out of the side however.

Harding joined Ipswich in August 2006 in a deal which saw Simon Westlake move in the other direction. Harding was a regular at Portman Road during 2006/07, playing 47 matches in total. The following season saw Harding net his first goal for The Tractor Boys on September 29th 2007 at Hull.

Harding was appearing less frequently for Ipswich in the later stages of the 2007/08 season. He was loaned to Southend for six months at the beginning of 2008/09 and scored his only goal for the club against former outfit Leeds on 28th October. Harding returned to Ipswich in January and played his last game for the club in an FA Cup tie at Crystal Palace. He was then loaned to Reading for the remainder of the campaign. Newly appointed Ipswich manager Roy Keane told Harding he was surplus to requirements at Portman Road in the summer of 2009, and released the defender from the club.

Alan Pardew made Harding his first signing as Southampton manager on 21st July 2009. He had previously been on trial with former club Brighton. He made his debut in the opening day draw against Millwall and scored his first goal just a few weeks later against Brentford. Harding had a fantastic debut season in 2009/10 for The Saints and was voted 2nd best player of the season by fans. He linked up very well with Adam Lallana, whenever Lallana lined up on the left side of midfield in front of Harding. He managed another goal against old side Leeds in March.

Harding faced competition for his starting place in the 2010/11 season as fellow left back Ryan Dickson was signed from Brentford. Harding still started most games at the beginning of the season. He was not quite as effective as he had been the previous campaign though, and on November 13th he had one of his worst games for the club at Carlisle, where he scored an own goal and looked poor until he was subbed in the second half. That game saw him drop out of favour for a short time as Ryan Dickson took his place, but after Dickson's disappointing performances against Tranmere and Manchester United in January, Harding made the left back spot his own again and remained first choice for the next few months. He was named in the 2010/11 League 1 team of the year on 17th April 2011. Harding's contract was automatically extended for a further year in May 2011.

Harding started 2011/12 in fairly good form, helping Saints to the top of the Championship with a goal at Leicester on 27th August. He was then dropped in September following the arrival of Danny Fox. Harding was used sparingly from the bench throughout the season, and was largely disappointing. On January 2nd 2012 he had to be substituted at Brighton, with his former club doing all they could to get him sent off. He played at right-back at Coventry on January 7th and looked surprisingly effective. Subsequent efforts in the same position were less impressive. Harding struggled for form until April 9th when he put in a good showing at Crystal Palace. He signed a contract extension with Saints until 2014 during the club's promotion winning campaign.

On 28th July 2012 Harding signed for Nottingham Forest on a three year contract. He made a solid start at The City Ground, but missed a good chunk of the second half of the 2012/13 season through injury.