Reporter: Matthew Chambers
Date online: 21 July 2014
ATHLETIC expect to tie up a deal to bring in Amari Morgan-Smith today, with William Gros also adding to the club’s attacking options for the start of the new Sky Bet League One campaign.
Gros has initially joined on a month-to-month basis, manager Lee Johnson confirmed, while former Kidderminster man Morgan-Smith — currently on the sidelines with a knee flare-up that will keep him out for another two weeks — will complete a permanent move to SportsDirect.com Park.
Johnson also confirmed that he is still on the lookout for fresh blood, with players in the top flight being targeted.
“There is a possibility of bringing in a winger and we have spoken to a couple of Premier League clubs about loans,” Johnson said.
“We have got Amari, who will sign (today) and William Gros has signed for a month so that is two bodies in.
“Ideally we could do with three extra bodies, quality players, but realistically we can probably only afford two.”
Morgan-Smith (25) is capable of playing out wide as well as a central striker and in his sole public run-out for Athletic scored in the friendly win at Curzon Ashton.
He initially gained a contract at Stockport seven years ago after going on trial as part of a talent-spotting competition, and went on to play for Ilkeston, Luton and Macclesfield.
Morgan-Smith joined the Harriers last September and scored 10 goals from a wide role as the club narrowly missed out on the play-offs.
impressed Gros, meanwhile, has impressed on trial after departing Kilmarnock. And after netting the winner against Newcastle last week, the muscular forward has been handed a chance to show his worth and earn a long-term deal.
One possible further acquisition is centre-back Miguel Llera, who scored an equaliser in the 1-1 home draw with Melbourne City on Saturday.
The unattached Spaniard (34), who last season was playing for Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship, might be a stretch too far for Athletic, though.
“We have not got an awful lot left in the budget, so we have to make sure we get the right blend,” Johnson said.
“I really like Miguel and I think he is a top player. But we have got Lockwood, Kusunga and (James) Wilson.
“I would like to bring him in as well but he comes from a big club on good money and he will have certain expectations.
“We will certainly sit down and talk to him, but I am not 100-per-cent hopeful on that one because of where we are with our budget.”
One player who definitely won’t be joining Athletic is winger Mo Shariff. The ex-QPR man was on show in the Newcastle friendly, but not in the Melbourne game.
Athletic are back in action again tomorrow at Morecambe, when Joseph Mills could step back in after missing the Melbourne clash with a stiff back.
Danny Philliskirk should feature and Rhys Turner, nursing a slightly tight hip flexor, will be monitored today to see if he can play any part in the game at the Globe Arena (7.30pm kick-off), which precedes the squad spending a few days away in camp in Kendal in the Lake District.
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