Latics land former loan star

Date published: 05 June 2014

JOSEPH Mills has become a full Athletic player in the left-back role vacated by Jonathan Grounds.

The attack-minded defender agreed to sign for the club on a two-year deal from Premier League new boys Burnley after being released from the last year of his Turf Moor contract. The contract has a third year option.

Fleetwood, Bradford and Shrewsbury were believed to be among clubs chasing the player.

Manager Lee Johnson will hope the former Southampton academy star, who has also turned out for Reading, can rediscover the form that made him a fan favourite on loan at Boundary Park last year.

With Mills already out of the picture at Burnley when they were in the Championship, he has looked elsewhere for regular first-team football.

Johnson is delighted to have landed his man: “It’s a great signing. He’s young, hungry and has got a lot of potential. We will give him an identity and a bit of love and I feel he can be a really good player for us.”

Athletic are represented at the Football League’s annual general meeting in Portugal from today.

Chief executive Neil Joy is in Faro for the conference, at which member clubs are expected to give a collective thumbs-down to Greg Dyke’s controversial plan for a B-team league.

Football League officials will present a new plan which would introduce 16 B teams from Premier League clubs into a revamped Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

Also on the agenda will be the use of 3G pitches, now allowed in all rounds of the FA Cup.