HE’S the lethal Sheffield goalscorer that Football League clubs have been flirting with for years.
Now hot-shot Ross Hannah, a former Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United junior prospect, is about to make the step up from non league into the full-time paid ranks.
The Aston-based 24 year old striker aims to smash Matlock Town’s all-time goalscoring record this weekend. It looks like it will be his last major contribution before heading off into League Two.
Torquay United, Bradford City, Port Vale and Macclesfield Town have been keeping tabs on the player and The Star understands he is likely to accept a contract in the next few days. Hannah has already turned down Barnet, because they could not meet his personal terms. And Torquay stalled on a deal recently.
But Hannah’s contract with The Gladiators is up at the end of the season and he’s destined to be off - ending his current lifestyle as part-time footballer and landscape gardener.
“It is my dream to play in the Football League and having seen players like Ian Wright, DJ Campbell and Stuart Pearce rising from non league into the big time I know it can be done,” he said.
Hannah, now on 49 goals for Matlock, equalled the club goal record set by Bobby Mountain in 1983 on Tuesday night. Beating the record would be a fitting tribute to the fans before he goes.
“I will be chuffed to get 50, it’s hard to score that at any level” said the former Aston Comprehensive schoolboy.
“I scored 40 last season and I had a glimmer of hope then, but I couldn’t get a full-time deal.”
Hannah was a schoolboy player with the Owls at 15 but was released and later tried his luck at United.
But with the likes of Billy Sharp, Jonathan Forte and Ian Ross in the ranks, the Wednesday fan didn’t get a look in.
He played the non league circuit at Stocksbridge Park Steels, Worksop and Gainsborough Trinity before ending up at Matlock.
He credits his best form in recent times to manager Mark Atkins, the former Blackburn Rovers and Wolverhampton Wanderers star.
“He is a good coach and I have enjoyed scoring for them. People say I don’t do tap-ins, I only score difficult goals, but I suppose I just have the confidence to have a go when I get a chance.”
His boss Atkins added: “At any level the man who scores you lots of goals is hard to replace, but we’ve never held him back. We’d love him to stay, but if he does leave, he will go with our best wishes. I have never known a player who scores so many spectacular goals.”
On Saturday, Hannah and his team will come up against the massed ranks of FC United of Manchester fans at Causeway Lane.
“They have brilliant supporters who like to have fun and don’t cause trouble,” said Hannah. “I have done well against them in the past and they have come up and congratulated me. That sort of thing doesn’t happen very often.”
Atkins added: “I said at the start of the season any team above FC United would get promoted.
“They always try to attack, home or away, they have a great cavalier way of playing. But they had their two best players sent off recently (Norton and Wright) and will miss them in the Play Offs.”