Harkins on Latics radar

Date published: 09 June 2014

 GARY Harkins is trying to secure his release from St Mirren — and manager Lee Johnson says the Scot may be persuaded to shun better offers and return to Boundary Park.

Crowd-pleaser Harkins (29) impressed during his stay with Athletic in 2013-14, scoring five goals while on loan from the Buddies in the second half of the campaign as the club climbed away from relegation danger with a strong finish.

Whether his work-rate levels fit in with Johnson’s remodelled squad remains to be seen.

But even though rivals with fatter wallets are interested, Johnson is at least for now retaining an interest in the gifted, if inconsistent, Scot.

“He has still got a bit of sorting out to do with St Mirren and I think there are a couple of other clubs interested who could pay more,” said Johnson.

“Knowing him well though, he is more the sort of player who plays for a manager and also the fans rather than being all about money. I have to time everything right to make sure if we did get him in, it is right for both the team and for the club.”

Athletic are this afternoon expecting to wrap up the second new signing of the close season, with chief executive Neil Joy tying up loose ends after returning from the Football League’s annual meeting.

Further arrivals will would follow last week’s capture of former loan star Joseph Mills from Burnley.

James Wesolowski has opted to join Shrewsbury in Sky Bet League Two — a switch revealed in Friday’s Chronicle — after rejecting the offer of a new contract.

“It was a very tough decision to leave Oldham and I have really enjoyed my time there,” Wesolowski said. “When I went to see Micky Mellon (Shrewsbury’s manager) and he spoke of his plans for the future of the club it was exciting.”

Jonson Clarke-Harris has again been linked with a switch to Championship new-boys Rotherham in the national press, this time with a price tag of £500,000 attached.

Football League clubs have “no appetite” for Greg Dyke’s plan for a B team league following a presentation by the Football Association chairman.

Football League chief executive Shaun Harvey said clubs didn’t back the idea, but there is support in principle for artificial pitches being permitted in League One and Two.