Swindon Town's Ryan Harley returns to Exeter City

By Brent PilnickBBC Sport
Ryan Harley and Paul Tisdale
Ryan Harley was a key member of Paul Tisdale's promotion-winning sides

Exeter City have signed Swindon Town midfielder Ryan Harley on loan with view to a permanent deal in January.

Harley, 29, played for the Grecians between 2008 and 2011, scoring 32 times in 144 appearances as City won back-to-back promotions from the Conference to League One.

He joined Swansea in January 2011, but was loaned to Exeter until that May.

Harley never played for the Swans and before

"He's signing a loan until January and then to all intents and purposes that will transfer to a permanent signing in January," manager Paul Tisdale told BBC Sport.

Ryan Harley
Was part of the Exeter team that won consecutive promotions from the Conference to League One between 2008-10
Played only 57 games since the summer of 2011
Signed by Exeter from non-league Weston-super-Mare after being released by Bristol City as a youngster

Harley, who joined Exeter from non-league Weston-super-Mare in 2007 after beginning his career at Bristol City, had been training with Exeter earlier this season.

"He's not trained with us for the last month, so that process needs to happen again and we need to assess his fitness," Tisdale said.

"He's not played a game for a long time, his training has been a bit sporadic, so we need a bit of common sense on everyone's behalf in terms of when we thrust him back into action.

"We're looking at this with a sensible view that it's someone who will add to our team. I'm certainly not going to rush the impact that he will make on our play."

Harley has struggled to establish himself at any of the clubs he has joined since leaving Exeter.

Ryan Harley scores for Exeter
Harley scored the winning goal against Huddersfield to keep Exeter in League One in May 2010

Having signed for Swansea in January 2011 and being loaned back to City for the rest of the season, the Swans gained promotion to the Premier League and he moved to Brighton and Hove Albion, making just 21 appearances for the Championship side in two seasons and being loaned out to MK Dons for two months in January 2013.

He has made only 36 appearances since that move to MK, and has not featured for Swindon at all this season.

Despite his relative lack of football, Tisdale is confident that Harley can be a success at City, for whom he shone as they moved up the leagues.

"He's a good signing because in the first instance he knows a lot about the way we play, so there's not too much of an integration period needed.

"I think his record with us speaks for itself.

"His expectations are high as to what the team can, should, might achieve and I like to think he'll add to us."

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