Sights set on target man

Date published: 05 September 2014

ATHLETIC will step up the hunt for a new focal point of attack when the emergency loan window reopens next week.

The loss of Jonson Clarke-Harris to Rotherham on deadline day left a target man-sized hole in manager Lee Johnson’s squad.

A return for Chris Porter has been suggested, while Johnson has also invited free agent Sylvan Ebanks-Blake to train with the squad.

Fringe players could also be shipped out to the lower divisions for experience, too, as Athletic’s manager attempts to fine-tune an attack now featuring the burning pace of four-goal Jonathan Forte and new signing Dominic Poleon.

“There are certainly a couple who could do with a loan out and we may tweak and adjust to bring in a couple to protect ourselves,” said Johnson.

“It is no secret we are looking for a striker as well. Whether that is someone who is out of contract or a loan remains to be seen. At the moment, we have ideas, but not many firm options.”

After tomorrow’s game against Fleetwood at Park, there is a week off before Athletic host Gillingham on September 13.

Johnson admitted some of his men are playing with real belief and he is happy supporters have responded to the improvements.

“We have got players going into this one who are nice and confident in their own games,” said the manager. “There are a fair few who will have that internal feeling from the last three games of ‘I’m playing well here’. The fans have started to understand and enjoy individuals’ performances and that is good for players as well.”

Forte should be fit to feature tomorrow despite missing the Bradford game with a flare-up of his knee condition, in a game against a high-flying Fleetwood side whose squad and manager Johnson respects.

“They have had a great start and their momentum has carried on,” added Johnson. “They have made some good signings and are another club that has had a bit of a go financially and good luck to them.”

Genseric Kusunga misses a second game due to international commitments with Angola.