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Great deal to play for

Reporter: Matthew Chambers
Date online: 04 April 2014

NO new contracts will be offered to Athletic’s players until it is known for sure which division the club will be in next season.

Several key players have deals that run out in the summer, but manager Lee Johnson wants his players’ attention to be fully focused on a charge away from danger in Sky Bet League One — starting with tomorrow’s game at Bradford.

“Contract talks changes people’s mindsets. There are a lot of emotions involved and it is quite a big stress,” said Johnson.

“At the moment, all of us need to concentrate on staying in the division by getting the points. The players know they have a much better chance of staying on if we are in League One.”

One man the expected 1,500-plus Athletic fans making the journey to West Yorkshire tomorrow would dearly love to retain is Gary Harkins. But Johnson is cautious on the chances of keeping the on-loan Scottish trickster.

The 29-year-old still has another season on his deal at St Mirren, though he has fallen out of favour there.

“Of course, we like him. Everyone likes him here and he likes the place. He is settled and keen,” added Johnson. “But it’s not even worth entertaining at the moment because he has another year on his contract.

“Will St Mirren let him go? Will they keep their manager? All these things can change.”

Genseric Kusunga has a 50-50 chance of being in tomorrow’s squad, but is expected to be fit for the Easter programme.


We got to buy Harkins if we can do the deal.

I doubt we will make the play-offs this season!


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