Revolving doors at Boundary Park
Reporter: MATTHEW CHAMBERS
Date online: 30 June 2014
ATHLETIC manager Lee Johnson has described as “bittersweet” the transfer manoeuvres that have seen captain Korey Smith leave for Bristol City — and midfield man Liam Kelly arrive in the opposite direction.
The two deals — which are believed to leave Athletic more than £250,000 in pocket — were concluded late last week as Kelly (24) completed a thorough medical to seal his move to Oldham on a three-year deal.
Smith (23) has also signed for three years at Ashton Gate after one full season with Athletic.
Johnson is happy to have landed Kelly, a player he sees as an able replacement.
“Ideally I would have liked to have both Smith and Kelly,” said Johnson. “With Mike Jones that would have been a perfect midfield blend.
“But when you lose a good player you want to bring in one just as good, and I am sure we have done that. Normally, Oldham would not be signing a full Scotland international.”
A former team-mate of Johnson’s at Kilmarnock, Milton Keynes-born Kelly made 20 appearances for Bristol City after signing in January 2013.
He suffered a ruptured knee ligament a year ago and recovered only towards the end of last season.
“He is an all-round midfielder,” Johnson added on Kelly. “He is aggressive and driven to win, which is what we need.”
The player joined the squad today as pre-season training began in earnest.
ATHLETIC have announced a new kit partnership with Sondico.
The five-year deal will see Sondico supply a range of kit including training wear and equipment and home and away strips. Supporters will see the new kit for the first time in the pre-season programme.
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