Fleetwood Town close in on midfielder Glenn Whelan

Glenn Whelan hopes to play for Republic of Ireland at the Euros this summer
Glenn Whelan hopes to play for Republic of Ireland at the Euros this summer

Fleetwood Town are set to complete the signing of midfielder Glenn Whelan as a free agent.

READ MORE: Barton's bid to build momentum at Fleetwood
The move will be subject to international clearance – Whelan left Hearts this month – casting doubt over his involvement against Bristol Rovers tomorrow.

The Republic of Ireland international will hope that this move is enough to keep him involved in the national team and allow him to feature at Euro 2020, should his country qualify.

The

former Stoke City, Sheffield Wednesday and Aston Villa player brings a wealth of experience to Highbury, having featured in more than 300 Premier League games.

The 36-year-old’s arrival would also allow loanee Callum Connolly to drop back into defence if required, with Town still having only two recognised senior central defenders.

Town head coach Joey Barton was coy, however, when talking about new signings ahead of Saturday’s game.

He said yesterday:“We’re close to one but I don’t like talking about them until they’re done. Even in my short experience of management, nothing is done until it’s done.”

Fleetwood are expected to bring more players in on top of Whelan’s imminent arrival.

Barton has been open about wanting to add players but aside from Whelan, who is expected to sign for the rest of the season, any other incomings are likely to be loans.

Barton explained: “We’ve still got three loans to potentially use. That tends not to kick off until five or 10 minutes to go on deadline day! It just goes bananas.

“We envisage using at least two of them. With us having three games next week, it depends how we come out of them.

“If you come out of them with the squad still in a good spot, you might not need to take the third loan; if not, then we have the option there.

“We’re having a chat with the chairman (Andy Pilley), who’s back from South Africa. No-one wants the club to do well as much as him.

“We feel we need reinforcements in a couple of places.

“It tends to help if the manager and the chairman agree on where you need to strengthen.”

Fleetwood defender Macauley Southam-Hales has joined National League club Hartlepool on loan for the rest of the season.

The 23-year-old has made four appearances since joining Fleetwood from Barry Town United 12 months ago.