There are strong signs this evening that the mystery player that manager Russell Slade referred to in yesterday's news is former Oldham Athletic winger/striker Paul Warne. Slade indicated that he was on the verge of tying up a deal with a player that had substantial League One experience and the Norwich-born 34 year old certainly fits the bill.
Tonight's BBC Somerset Sound sports bulletin names the player as Warne, albeit without any quotes or confirmation from Slade himself. That said, Warne's name has already been on the rumourmill in the past couple of days and his ability to play as a right-winger fits one of the key positions the Yeovil boss is looking to fill.
Warne, who was born on May 5th 1973, started his career with non-league side Wroxham before being discovered by Wigan Athletic 10 years ago, moving for 25,000 pounds. He spent two seasons there, making 62 appearances and scoring five goals, plus a loan spell with Kettering Town, before he moved onto Rotherham United where he spent six years during which time the Millers climbed up to Championship level football.
A total of 268 appearances and 30 goals later, plus a loan spell at Mansfield Town, Warne moved onto Boundary Park where he has been a near ever present during his two seasons there, starting 49 times in 53 appearances in the season just gone. All in all he has played 109 times for Oldham scoring 21 goals, including three against the Glovers during the 2005-06 season.
Rather bafflingly, Oldham boss John Sheridan has released him from the club, despite Warne managing a near clean sweep of the club's end of season awards. Warne picked up the 'Trust Oldham Player of the Season' award from Oldham's Supporters' Trust as well as the 'Player of the Season', 'OASA Player of the Season' and the 'Awards Dinner Player of the Season', meaning that he only missed out on one of the myriad of awards given to senior players on the night.
The Glovers do face competition from League Two side Bradford City but speaking to their Telegraph and Argus paper Warne told them that Bradford's relegation could count against them:
"I didn't really want to be looking for a new job but these things happen and thankfully I've got a few options. I like to think I could still play in League One for another season, maybe two, although there are other things to consider. At the moment I'm just spending some time with my family and mulling over the possibilities."
New Bradford boss Stuart McCall did admit that Warne was a player he was interested in but wasn't willing to show his hand too much:
"Warne is one of an absolutely numerous list of players as you can imagine that have been offered to us. But he is one of interest."
The BBC also state that Russell Slade has confirmed that Aberdeen defender Dan Smith is one of his targets (see our story from earlier today), but they don't state how advanced talks have gone.
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