Window of opportunity

Reporter: Latics latest by TONY BUGBY
Date published: 02 February 2009

ATHLETIC were expected to bring in two loan players today in a bid to inject new life into their push for promotion.

And with striker Craig Davies set to complete a move to Coca-Cola League One rivals Brighton, it promised to be a hectic final day of the transfer window.

Lee Hughes and Chris Taylor are expected to remain at Boundary Park, although Scottish giants Celtic were at Saturday’s game against Swindon Town to run the rule over Taylor.

Brighton made a formal move for Davies on Friday after the Chronicle exclusively revealed the Seagulls were tracking the 23-year-old.

The fee, although undisclosed, is believed to be in the region of £100,000, which is double what Athletic paid Italian outfit Hellas Verona for Davies in the summer of 2007.

Davies has agreed personal terms and the transfer should be completed before today’s 5pm deadline.

Manager John Sheridan said it was a decent bit of business for both Davies and Athletic.

He added: “Craig needed to go somewhere else. He is a very good player on his day, but he has a lot to learn.”

Athletic have also released former Manchester United player David Williams by mutual consent.

The striker sustained a bad injury while on trial at Boundary Park, but Athletic aided his recovery and offered him a deal for the 2008/09 season so he could prove his fitness.

Sheridan has some leeway to strengthen his squad, although he admits it is highly unlikely he will be able to spend any of the transfer fee received for Davies.

Any permanent or loan signings had to put pen to paper by noon today for them to be eligible for tomorrow night’s home match against Bristol Rovers.

Sheridan would not divulge the names, but he has made no secret of his desire to bring back Daniel Jones from Wolves after his earlier successful loan spell.

He has also been linked with Wolves midfielder Stephen Gleeson, who had a spell on loan at Stockport County. The 20-year-old is a full Republic of Ireland international.

Captain Sean Gregan is Athletic’s only injury worry for tomorrow night’s league match after picking up a hip injury on Saturday. Stefan Stam would come in at the heart of defence if Gregan missed out.

Striker Chris O’Grady is back at Boundary Park after completing a one-month loan at Bradford City.

Home game in jeopardy

ATHLETIC’S game against Bristol Rovers tomorrow is in doubt with two inches of snow covering Boundary Park and more forecast.

A pitch inspection will take place early tomorrow morning when a decision will be made before Rovers leave for the long trip north.