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John Hills a Target


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Versatile Hills a Latics target

by MICHAEL YARWOOD

 

ATHLETIC are weighing up a move for versatile former Blackpool star John Hills.

 

The 30-year-old is set to become a free agent, and a member of the Boundary Park coaching staff has already sounded him out about joining for next season.

 

An unfortunate run of injuries has troubled Hills in the last few months, a factor in his release by Blackpool after they avoided relegation from the Championship.

 

He only played eight games last term but is a man who could cover two positions for Athletic on their troublesome left-hand side.

 

It’s no secret that manager John Sheridan has made left-sided players a top priority as he looks to mould a squad capable of winning promotion.

 

And Hills fits the bill – he has played as both a midfielder and full-back during his five-club career and also boasts the experience which would suit Sheridan.

 

The Chronicle understands he is in contact with Athletic and may be offered a deal if he can prove his fitness levels are up to standard.

 

The Lancastrian has made just under 100 league appearances in the last five seasons, all of which were spent at Championship level.

 

Hills began his career with hometown club Blackpool before Everton manager Joe Royle snapped him up as a much-vaunted teenager in 1995.

 

He briefly broke into Everton’s Premiership squad but was loaned out to Swansea on two separate occasions.

 

He returned to Blackpool in 1998 and helped the Seasiders earn promotion to what is now League One, winning the play-offs in a team which also included Richie Wellens, Mike Milligan, Paul Simpson and Brett Ormerod.

 

Next came a switch to Gillingham, followed by two seasons at Sheffield Wednesday and a return to Blackpool – his third spell at Bloomfield Road – in July of last year.

 

Athletic are trying to conclude their transfer dealings as early as possible, although tying down players can be difficult as many free agents want to keep their options open.

 

Ironically, the Boundary Park club recently turned down Blackpool’s bid for left winger Chris Taylor.

 

 

ATHLETIC have been drawn away to local rivals Rochdale in the first round of next season’s Carling Cup.

 

The Spotland clash will take place in the first week of the campaign, with Tuesday, August 12 set as a provisional date.

 

Rochdale narrowly missed out on promotion to Athletic’s division when they lost to Stockport in the recent League Two play-off final at Wembley.

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He only had problems last season, before that he has been a regular 40 game a season man.

A regular just under 23 games a season man by my reckoning, although possibly selection could have been an issue. Could still be a good signing if Superphysio gives him the all clear, I wouldn't have thought his wage demands would be ridiculous.

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could be a decent team

 

gk crossley

lb hills

cb gregan

cb hazell

rb eardley

lw lee

rw taylor

cm allott

cm stephens/experienced man

st hughes

st davies

 

sub

fleming

lomax

lidds

o grady

smalley

 

i would be very happy an optimistic with that

 

Stevens will not be in the first XI this year.

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Didnt Tommy say somewhere last week that the way he has been playing when they watched him last season he wont have any problems walking into the starting line up at the start of the season? I know i read it somewhere so it was either the chron, the official site, or Tommy came round my house and told me. I vote for option number two.

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A regular just under 23 games a season man by my reckoning, although possibly selection could have been an issue. Could still be a good signing if Superphysio gives him the all clear, I wouldn't have thought his wage demands would be ridiculous.

 

Work out that ratio for Stam, and everyone thinks he is worth a contract every year???

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Work out that ratio for Stam, and everyone thinks he is worth a contract every year???

Not everyone, I for one have always been able to see past his lovely locks and Dutchness. That said, Hills has started a lot more games over the past 5 years than Crossley had, statistics rarely tell the whole story (and indeed I'd get sacked if mine did).

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