Bristol news Coughlan makes late attempt to take Gas captain Ollie Clarke to Mansfield MetiNews.Com
MetiNews.Com - The Bristol Rovers captain's contract expires at midnight
Breaking News ! Mansfield Town have made a late attempt to sign Bristol Rovers captain Ollie Clarke, Bristol Live understands. The out-of-contract midfielder was close to agreeing terms with Rovers on a one-year extension, but his former boss Graham Coughlan has made a last-ditch attempt for his signature. Coughlan has previous, trying – and failing – to sign Gas defender Rollin Menayese on deadline day in January, but his move for Clarke could be more successful with the Stags favourites to sign the 28-year-old. Dubliner Coughlan handed Clarke the Rovers armband following the departure of Tom Lockyer last summer. Read More Related Articles Bristol Rovers legend Chris Lines sets up potential Mem return after League Two play-off final win Of the squad who were part of the Coughlan era, Clarke is the closest to the now Stags manager and contacted him directly when he left Rovers. Should Clarke swap the Mem for Field Mill, he would be forfeiting a testimonial earned for 10 years of service with the Gas. Rovers and their skipper have been negotiating since the turn of the year, with the coronavirus outbreak complicating matters, but with days remaining on his contract – which expires on at midnight – the parties were on the verge of inking a new deal.
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The Stags have been aggressive in the transfer market this summer, one of the reasons Coughlan quit Rovers when they were flying high in League One in December for the League Two strugglers. The Nottinghamshire side won the battle for sought-after Torquay United striker Jamie Reid and have brought in several other free agents with experience higher up the EFL pyramid already this summer. Clarke played 33 games for the Gas in his first season with the armband, and Ben Garner is keen to have him around for next season.
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Garner has frequently insisted he wants local lads in his team, emphasised by the professional contracts given to academy graduates this summer, and he wants the 28-year-old to stay not only for his playing ability but also as evidence of the pathway from academy to first-team. Clarke’s experience, having been in the Gas first team for almost a decade and playing more than 200 games for the club, would also be valuable to the Rovers boss – who released Football League veterans Tony Craig and Liam Sercombe earlier this month. But Garner faces a battle with his predecessor for his captain’s services.
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