Lee pins early hopes on young strike trio
Reporter: MATTHEW CHAMBERS
Date online: 28 May 2014
LEE Johnson is prepared to give youth its head in the hunt for goals — at least for the time being.
Athletic’s boss says an experienced striker isn’t his main priority, and he is talking up the prospects of the forward trio already on the Boundary Park books.
“I don’t want to block the path of our younger strikers,” said the manager of the search for a striker.
“Danny Philliskirk was played out of position a lot during the season and he will be looking to get a run up front. Jonson Clarke-Harris got better and better as the season went on and he got more experience.
“And I also want to see Rhys Turner properly, as well. Looking at some of the forwards we have been linked with, they wouldn’t necessarily suit us.
“We’ve got priorities and once we have got those in place, we will assess the position. What I don’t want is to end up with too many good players frustrated on the bench.”
Johnson is hopeful the club will be in a position to confirm some new signings next week, including players taking up contract offers.
James Wesolowski is expected to depart, but Paul Rachubka has shaken hands on a fresh deal. Connor Brown has yet to say what he will do, but the right-back is only 22 and Athletic would be able to claim compensation if he signed for a rival club.
Football League chief executive Shaun Harvey is to offer Premier League clubs an alternative to the controversial ‘B’ team idea put forward by Greg Dyke.
Football Association chairman Dyke whipped up a storm earlier this month when his commission – designed to improve the fortunes of the national side – recommended a new League Three comprised of ‘B’ teams and Conference clubs.
Athletic are one club strongly opposed to the idea, but Dyke is to present his ideas to the League’s summer meeting in Portugal next week and Harvey is weighing up a counter-plan.
This would see the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy expanded to feature 16 ‘B’ teams from clubs with Category One academies over the next two seasons.
The competition, in which Athletic have flirted with possible Wembley appearances in recent seasons, would then be made up of 16 groups of four teams, with one ‘B’ side in each.
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