Chelmsford City is delighted to reveal that Danny Imray has returned to the Club on loan from Crystal Palace for the rest of this season.
In February 2021, the young defender departed the EMG Inspire Stadium and joined the Eagles for an undisclosed fee.
The 18-year-old made his first appearance in a matchday squad for City in Robbie Simpson’s first game in charge of the Clarets, the away tie against Dulwich Hamlet in February 2020.
Three days later Imray then made his debut, starting against Concord Rangers in the BBC Essex Senior Cup as a 16-year-old.
Overall, Danny made 21 first-team appearances for City before moving to Selhurst Park.
Since signing for Palace, Imray has featured in the Premier League side’s Under-23s, working with Shaun Derry.
On his Chelmsford return, Imray said: “I’ve been speaking to Simmo quite a lot and we talked about me maybe coming back in January.
“I’ve had other National League and National League South sides asking about if I want to go on loan to them, but my preference was to go back to Chelmsford because I couldn’t really turn down working with Simmo again because he gets the best out of me.
“He knows how I play, and he knows what to expect from me, so I feel like I can just get straight into it here.”
Since leaving, the youngster has kept up on the Clarets’ fortunes, whilst working on his own development with the Eagles.
“It’s been tough with injuries, obviously I had an injury about four games into my career at Palace,” he explained.
“So, it’s been tough mentally and physically, but I feel like since I was at Chelmsford, I’ve come on massively since I’ve been playing full time.
“I’m learning every day and having a ball at my feet every day – there’s nothing better than it.
“I feel like I can bring a lot back to Chelmsford and show the fans how I’ve progressed and help the team get to where they want to get to.
“I want to get some minutes under my belt and get some experience coming back to Chelmsford, and I want to try and bring as much as I can to the team.
“I’m sure the team wants to be higher up in the league, but I think Chelmsford has only lost once in the last nine, so all the rewards are coming now and everyone’s seeing how good Simmo is with the players and I’m sure we’ll get to where we want to get to by the end of the season.”
When discussing Danny’s return, the Clarets’ Manager commented: “Danny went to Palace and he was an instant hit.
“He was soon training with Roy Hodgson in the first team, and I know Roy really liked him.
“I had a few really good friends that were in Palace’s first team at the time, and they were telling me how well Danny was doing.
“Then, unfortunately, he got a really bad injury and that put him out for the rest of the season, but Danny came back strong in pre-season and was going really well.
“He was all set to be part of Vieira’s pre-season plans and then he got Covid, since coming back he’s not had as much game time as he thought he might have done in the 23s.
“He was keen to get back playing games and getting back playing men’s football.
“I know he had other suitors in our league and potentially in the league above but having spoken to him, he sees the benefit of coming back to us.
“He absolutely loved his time here and we’ve got a really good relationship; bringing him back was a real no-brainer.
“He’s played a bit further forward for Palace Under-23s, he’s played on the wing and in the youth team with us he’s played there as well.
“So, he gives us a bit more attacking intent, he adds to our attacking options and, hopefully, a bit more creativity to create clear-cut chances.
“He’s a great kid, he loves the Club and he’s coming back to, hopefully, give us something and we can’t wait to see him in a claret shirt again.”
Welcome back to the Clarets, Danny!