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Atkinson playing for Accrington Stanley in 2014
|Full name||Robert Guy Atkinson|
|Date of birth||29 April 1987|
|Place of birth||North Ferriby, England|
|Height||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|2005–2006||→ Scarborough (loan)||22||(0)|
|2006||→ Halifax Town (loan)||4||(2)|
|2007||→ Rochdale (loan)||2||(0)|
|2007–2008||→ Grimsby Town (loan)||24||(1)|
|2008–2009||→ Grimsby Town (loan)||9||(1)|
|2009||→ Grimsby Town (loan)||1||(0)|
|2012||→ Accrington Stanley (loan)||12||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 23:52, 03 May 2016 (UTC).
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 15:09, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
Atkinson started his professional career with Barnsley in 2004, and then spent time on loan with Scarborough, Halifax Town, Rochdale and Grimsby Town. Following three loan spells with Grimsby he joined the club on a permanent basis in 2009 before signing with Fleetwood Town two years later. He has also been capped twice by the England C football team.
Born in North Ferriby, East Riding of Yorkshire, Atkinson has come through the youth ranks with Barnsley, making his debut on 6 March 2004. In the 2005–06 season he had a six-month loan spell with Scarborough playing 22 league games. He was also loaned out to Halifax Town during the 2006–07 season. After some impressive performances, Atkinson was recalled to Barnsley following injuries to first team players Bobby Hassell, Paul Reid and Antony Kay. Atkinson played his first full game for the Oakwell based club on Boxing Day 2006, in a 1–0 win over Burnley. In this game, Atkinson's performance earned him the man of the match award.
Rob Atkinson was initially signed for Grimsby Town on loan in November 2007 by Alan Buckley. He was drafted in as a covering defender, and was slotted in at centre back next to Nick Fenton. He scored his first goal for the club against Chester City on 1 January 2008. Atkinson went on to play he full 90 minutes at Wembley Stadium, in the Football League Trophy final defeat against MK Dons. Atkinson was singled out by Grimsby fans, as one of their more stronger players in the 2007–08 season, and in May 2008, Buckley revealed his desire to bring Atkinson back to the club on loan or possibly on a permanent deal. However at the time, nothing came of the transfer, and after Buckley signed centre backs Richard Hope and Matthew Heywood in pre-season, the Atkinson deal became dead in the water. On 31 October 2008 he re-signed for Grimsby on another loan deal, initially until January 2009. Town who were now managed by Mike Newell had signed Atkinson along with Jean-Paul Kamudimba Kalala, who was another former Grimsby player. Both transfers were made in the space of two days. Atkinson made his second debut for the club in a 2–1 defeat to Darlington when he came on as a substitute for skipper Matthew Heywood in the 30th minute of play. In January 2009 Rob's loan contract with Grimsby expired and he returned to Barnsley. However a day later he joined the club for a third spell, signing on an emergency loan deal to play the league fixture with Morecambe on 10 January. A deal was struck between Barnsley and Grimsby for a permanent switch that was completed two days later. Rob went on to cement a first team place at centre back alongside youngster Ryan Bennett, who had become the club's new captain, replacing Matt Heywood, who had been dropped due to poor performances. Atkinson and Bennett both were integral parts of the Grimsby squad that helped stave off relegation out of the Football League. During the 2009–10 season The Mariners suffered an eventual relegation, bowing out on the final day of the season.
Atkinson remained with Grimsby for the 2010–11 season, which was the club's first season in Non-League football in over 100 years. Following a pre-season injury, Darran Kempson, Scott Garner and Steven Watt shared out the two centre half positions until Atkinson returned and was preferred at the back alongside Kempson. He would also be appointed the club's interim captain when club captain Lee Peacock was not selected in the team, but would go on to depart Grimsby in the summer despite being offered a fresh contract by the club's new managerial duo of Rob Scott and Paul Hurst.
Despite being offered a new contract with Grimsby, Atkinson opted to transfer to fellow Conference Premier side Fleetwood Town on 10 June 2011. In his first season with the club Fleetwood earned promotion to the Football League for the first time in their history. The following season Atkinson spent time on loan with Accrington Stanley but following a managerial change at Fleetwood he returned to the club and briefly captained the side. It was announced on 7 May 2013, that Fleetwood would not be offering the defender a new contract, and would therefore be released.
On 16 July 2013 Atkinson returned to Accrington, penning a two-year deal.
- Hugman, Barry J., ed. (2010). The PFA Footballers' Who's Who 2010–11. Mainstream Publishing. p. 27. ISBN 978-1-84596-601-0.
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