Johnson closing on signings
Reporter: MATTHEW CHAMBERS
Date online: 04 June 2014
ATHLETIC are hoping to make at least one new signing this week, as contract talks intensify with targets — including one that manager Lee Johnson is keeping secret.
With right-back Connor Brown now ready to stay at Boundary Park, Athletic have their sights trained on a left-sided defender to replace departing Jonathan Grounds.
Also on the menu is a midfielder – though Johnson won’t supply details.
“It is looking like Connor Brown will probably sign for us,” Johnson said. “And it is fair to say we are in advanced talks with at least two other players.”
Paul Rachubka will be Johnson’s first-choice goalkeeper next season after signing a new one-year deal.
The 33-year-old goalkeeper signed yesterday.
“He will have the number one shirt,” Johnson said. “It is up to him to carry on putting in the same sort of performances he has done for us recently.”
As for Grounds’ departure to Birmingham CIty in the Championship, Johnson says he will follow the 26-year-old’s progress with interest.
“He’s a good player, Groundsy,” Johnson said. “Definitely a Championship-quality centre-back.”
Athletic are still looking to arrange one more first-team friendly around the first weekend of July.
The club has been invited to take on Steaua Bucharest, who will be in the country for a series of warm-ups. Last year Athletic took on city rivals Dinamo pre-season in Leigh, drawing 2-2 in a game covered live by Romanian television. The Steaua tie is yet to be confirmed.
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