Parkin has big part to play

Jon Parkin
Jon Parkin

Fleetwood boss Graham Alexander wants to see Jon Parkin firing on all cylinders after the big striker penned a new one-year deal.

The club have been in talks with the 31-year-old for nearly two months – an agreement finally being reached with the former Preston and Cardiff man on Saturday.

Alexander was delighted to finally get his man.

He said: “We started negotiations with Jon some time ago and it’s been a long process.

“We were keen to get things sorted because he brings a fantastic amount of experience to the club.

“Last season he scored a decent number of goals for the games he’s played.

“Hopefully we can get him playing more next season and keep up that ratio.

“He’s got a big part to play – not just on the playing side but in the dressing room and on the training ground.

“We’ve got a few young strikers at the club and the experience Jon brings can only help those lads.”

Parkin missed a chunk of the last campaign with a recurring hamstring injury and was unavailable for Town’s closing fixtures while his new contract was hammered out.

With the big striker, who has scored 12 goals in 23 appearances for Fleetwood, signed up for another year, the boss is keen to get the most out of his man.

He added: “We have to make sure he’s firing on all cylinders.

“We want to have Jon in the best possible shape but that goes for everyone on the playing staff.

“It’s about making sure we get the complete package – that we not only benefit from his goals, which he’s shown he’s capable of, but from his excellent hold-up play and the support he gives to those playing around him.

“We are looking for consistency in games, no matter who the opponent we are playing.”

But the Fleetwood boss, who is in the midst of a huge summer shake-up at Highbury, is glad to have his man on board.

Alexander said: “We’ve 
explained to Jon what our plans are and what we want to do at the club, and he’s signed up to be part of that.”

With Parkin’s deal completed, the future of just one more out-of-contract player remains uncertain.

Gareth Evans has made a big impact since arriving on a free transfer from Rotherham United in January, reportedly attracting interest from League One clubs Coventry City and Yeovil Town.

But he is yet to sign a new contract at Highbury and further doubt has been cast over the winger’s future following the arrival of former York flyer Matty Blair at Highbury on Monday.

Alexander said it may take longer to decide Evans’ future – the manager’s current priority being to fill the gaps left by last week’s major clearout.

Twelve professionals left 
Highbury, having not had their contracts renewed, 
which left Alexander with the task of recruiting new bodies in key positions.

He said: “We started talks with Jon quite a while ago.

“That process has only just begun with Gareth.

“The priority right now is looking to strengthen where we’ve been left light, particularly in central midfield.

“We’ve got to get that sorted first and then see what the budget is before we look at other areas.”