Statement of intent
Reporter: CHRIS LYNHAM
Date online: 01 February 2013
Barnard and Obita join Latics survival push
ATHLETIC chief executive Neil Joy believes the club has sent out a message to the rest of npower League One with its double deadline-day swoop.
Hours after Watford forward Chris Iwelumo completed his switch, Southampton striker Lee Barnard joined for the rest of the season and Reading midfielder Jordan Obita signed for a month.
Athletic were this morning waiting for league clearance for the pair to play tomorrow.
The signings capped a busy week for Athletic, during which veteran Paul Murray returned to Oldham.
Joy said: “We have made some great signings - a statement of intent. Hopefully they can help to push us up the league table on the back of our FA Cup success.”
Of all the new faces, Barnard has set supporters’ pulses racing most. The 28 year old averaged almost a goal every other game during a stint at Southend from 2008-2010.
And the addition of Iwelumo and Barnard couldn’t have come at a better time.
Paul Dickov’s side has been in desperate need of reinforcement in the final third of the pitch since Matt Derbyshire’s loan came to an end.
Obita provides crucial cover for captain Dean Furman, who is on international duty with South Africa.
The player has represented England at under 18-19 level and has had loan moves to Barnet, Gillingham and more recently Portsmouth.
All four new signings are eligible for Athletic’s fifth-round FA Cup tie against Everton on February 16..
Winger Lee Croft has agreed to join Latics for the remainder of the season. His season-long loan spell was technically ended when his contract with Derby was terminated by mutual consent yesterday, enabling him to take up the offer from Latics.
Tickets for the cup tie go on sale to season ticket holders on Wednesday from 9am (until 1pm on February 9 on production of Voucher ‘C’ from the season ticket book).
Those non season-ticket holders who pay or have already paid for the home game against Yeovil on Tuesday get priority to buy tickets for the Everton game on February 11 (9am-5pm), subject to availability and without guarantee. Remaining tickets then go on general sale on February 12 at 9am.
::Athletic’s trip to Stevenage has been rescheduled for February 19 (7.45pm).
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