Latics boss still keen on Tarky’s loan return
Reporter: MATTHEW CHAMBERS
Date online: 10 February 2014
LEE Johnson is holding on to the hope of bringing back James Tarkowski on loan to Boundary Park, despite Brentford’s late decision to block a deal last week.
The centre-back joined the Bees on deadline day, but the agreement led to Tarkowski sticking with Athletic to train in the build-up to the Bristol City draw.
Brentford boss Mark Warburton called the player back to West London as cover on Friday over injury concerns. In fact Brentford’s home clash with Crawley on Saturday was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
Athletic meanwhile were held to a 1-1 draw by the visiting Robins - though Johnson later revealed Tarkowski wouldn’t have been named in the first XI.
Adam Lockwood and James Wilson are currently the first-choice centre-backs and Johnson also had Genseric Kusunga back from a strained hamstring on the substitutes’ bench.
With Jonathan Grounds and Glenn Belezika also able to turn out at centre-back, and with five loan players named in the squad against Bristol — the maximum — Athletic seem set for now without Tarkowski, who was sold for an undisclosed sum two weeks ago.
Johnson views the talented player as a potentially useful asset, though admits he may not return.
“Obviously we are still hoping to get him back. But this is the problem now, you are never quite sure.”
Tarkowski tweeted his goodbyes to Athletic’s faithful last night: “A final thanks to everybody involved at Oldham. Players/staff/fans been great since day one. Memories that will never be forgotten.”
Athletic are sweating on the fitness of James Wesolowski, who hurt himself in the weekend’s draw and was replaced by David Mellor in the second half.
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