Gills show triggers contract extension

Reporter: Matthew Chambers
Date published: 22 January 2015

JAMES Wilson’s expected appearance at Gillingham will trigger a further season’s stay at Park for the star centre-back.

The 25-year-old Wales international is due to hit the 30-game mark at Priestfield, which means an automatic extension of his contract which takes the former Bristol City man’s deal with Athletic up to the summer of 2016.

A host of clubs, including Championship outfit Middlesbrough, are understood to have kept a close eye on him this season. The extension gives strength to Athletic’s hand should a club make an offer.

The Chepstow-born player’s form in the early part of the campaign helped Athletic keep five clean sheets in six matches.

His form dipped late last year — particularly in the 7-0 drubbing at MK Dons — but Wilson is now looking sharp and confident once again.

There was no sign this morning that new players will be on the team coach tomorrow for the overnight stay ahead of the Gillingham game.

Manager Lee Johnson is understood to be concentrating on bringing in high-calibre players rather than simply adding bodies to his threadbare team.

Striker Devante Jacobs is one of the beneficiaries of the low numbers, having been named on the substitutes’ bench for the first time at Fleetwood. The powerful teenager has been training with the first-team squad for a couple of months and is in line to provide back-up to Amari Morgan-Smith, Dominic Poleon and Danny Philliskirk.

Injured Jonathan Forte is still rated as 70-30 against playing at Priestfield on Saturday.

BARRY Owen is to continue to serve on the board of directors with Athletic, despite stepping down from his role with Trust Oldham.

Owen will no longer be the trust’s representative on the board, but takes up a separate role in joining chairman Simon Corney, Neil Joy, Ian Hill and Anthony Gee on a five-strong panel. A new trust representative on the board has not yet been identified.