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Clarke on his way out?

Reporter: Matthew Chambers
Date published: 31 January 2017


ATHLETIC could lose the services of skipper Peter Clarke before today's transfer deadline.

The Chronicle understands that there is a £30,000 bid on the table from Sky Bet League One leaders Scunthorpe, with an additional £20,000 payable if they gain promotion to the Championship.

On what could now be a hectic day at SportsDirect.com Park, if Clarke was to leave then manager John Sheridan would have to add a replacement centre-back to a 'wanted' list that already includes a left-sided player and a central midfielder.

Athletic recently brought in Anthony Gerrard on a free transfer and his experience should mitigate the loss of Clarke - who is out of contract at the end of this season - if he makes the move to Glanford Park.

The only other out-and-out senior centre-back on the club's books is teenager George Edmundson and Sheridan would be keen to bring in a replacement for Clarke ahead of the final 18 games of the season before tonight's 11pm deadline.

CONSISTENT

Clarke (35) has been a supremely consistent performer in defence this season since joining from Bury and on signing back in July, was quickly installed as captain by then-manager Stephen Robinson.

The former Southend and Huddersfield player has been an ever-present in an Athletic defence this season that has the joint-fifth best record in the division for goals conceded, despite the lowly position of 23rd in the table.

He has also scored three goals in his 35 appearances in all competitions, two of which secured draws against Bradford and Charlton.

MARKET


Scunthorpe are in the market for a defender in order to bolster their automatic promotion hopes under manager Graham Alexander.

The club's head of recruitment, Lee Turnbull, was with Athletic at the time of Clarke's signing.

In terms of other targets, Bolton winger Chris Taylor has been linked with a loan switch but Sheridan has been cautious over the chances of that move coming off.

So far in this January window, Athletic have brought in Gerrard and strike duo David Ngoo, on a free transfer, and Aaron Amadi-Holloway, from Fleetwood.

Out-of-favour striker Lee Erwin, who is on loan with Athletic from Leeds until the end of the season, has been linked with a switch to Partick Thistle.


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