Johnson’s sights on major signing

Date published: 14 January 2014

LEE Johnson has his sights trained on an ambitious transfer to improve Athletic long-term.

The permanent target, whose identity is being kept under wraps, also has clubs in the Championship interested.

While admitting the swoop is ambitious, Athletic’s manager says mistakes made during a first season in management and his view of the league at close quarters have helped him an idea of what will be needed to push further up the division.

“I have a target I would like to bring in but it is difficult as there’s a lot of interest in him,” said Johnson, who recently confirmed the possibility of re-signing former loan left-back Joseph Mills from Burnley.

“I want to start building. Even now, I believe the lessons I have learned will help for next year.

“I want to take my time and make the right decisions, to woo transfer targets as we have to do - because inevitably they will be taking less money here in wages than elsewhere.”

While Athletic embarks on the tough job of winning at Walsall tonight, defender Cliff Byrne was today training with Ross County.

The former Scunthorpe defender has been told he can leave on a free transfer and he will spend a couple of days in Dingwall in the Scottish Highlands, with another SPL club also interested.

“It is a chance for Cliff, if he can nail something down, to go into a good league and show what he is about up there,” Johnson said.