CLARKE AGREES DEAL/CORDEN CLOSE/PROCTOR HOPES
Promising teenage utility player Jamie Clarke has agreed to sign his first professional contract with Mansfield Town.
Clarke has come through the youth ranks to play regularly in the reserve team over the past season and made a competent first team debut at Luton Town on Easter Monday.
He is the first of those players offered contracts to agree this summer and Stuart Watkiss said: "Jamie has agreed a two-year deal and we are very pleased.
"He is definitely one for the future and he showed on his debut at Luton that he has the potential to succeed at first team level.
"He played left back at Luton but right back is by far his best position. So he should provide Bobby Hassell with some good competition for his place."
Stuart Watkiss is close to tieing star winger Wayne Corden down for the next three years, and says he is vital to Town's Division Two prospects.
Corden is seen as a crucial part of their Second Division campaign after an outstanding season to help them to promotion.
"The deal with Wayne is well advanced and I believe he is ready to commit himself to the club over the next week," said Stuart Watkiss.
"Wayne will be vital to us next season. We all know he has the ability to perform at that level as he has proved this season.
"Keeping him would be a major boost to everyone at the club. Hopefully, if he signs it will see the other players offered contracts sign up as well.
"I do believe other teams are interested in Wayne which is no surprise considering the quality of his play this season. But I think he will stay here."
Stuart Watkiss is hopeful of signing Michael Proctor, who remains Town's number one strike target whether Chris Greenacre leaves the club or not.
Anticipating 28-goal Greenacre leaving on a Bosman this summer, Stags tried to land Proctor on transfer deadline day in March while he was on loan at York from Sunderland.
Peter Reid said Stags had not offered enough for the young striker, who has another year to go on his Black Cats contract.
Greenacre is currently considering a lucrative new deal at Field Mill, but Stuart Watkiss said: "We have spoken to Michael's agent in the last week and we remain hopeful of getting him here and going to a tribunal.
"There are quite a few clubs interested, including one from the First Division. But I think he has heard a lot of good things about Mansfield and likes the way we play.
"It's just up to us to compete with those other interested clubs for his signature and if it is feasible to bring him here we will do our best to get him.
"Going to a tribunal doesn't help us as you are never quite sure of what fee you will be asked to pay."
Latest | May 2002