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Monday 18 December 2017

New Irish signings fit the bill for Oldham

Conor Wilkinson, Republic of Ireland
Conor Wilkinson, Republic of Ireland

LEAGUE One side Oldham Athletic hope that an all-Irish strike force can push them towards promotion to the Championship.

Oldham managed to sneak two signings under the radar before the transfer window closed on Monday, landing current Ireland U21 cap Conor Wilkinson (pictured) on loan from Bolton and also bringing in ex-U21 international Rhys Murphy from Dagenham.

Wilkinson, who made his Irish U21 debut last May and has won three caps, knows Oldham already as he had a spell on loan there earlier this season and now Bolton boss Neil Lennon has agreed to send him out on loan again.

But the Latics also have high hopes for former Arsenal trainee Murphy. "I'm really pleased to bring Rhys to the club and he is an exciting prospect for us. I'm looking forward to working with him and he will fit into our style of play seamlessly," says Oldham boss Lee Johnson.

Now 24, Murphy was first capped at youth level by Ireland, then opted to play for England's youths but he then declared for Ireland again, qualifying through his Dublin-born grandfather and won four U21 caps (2011-12) while he was on the books at Arsenal.

"When I played for Ireland, when I was 15, I knew it was a good opportunity. I had Irish background but obviously being born in England I gave that a go but I thoroughly enjoyed playing for Ireland and everybody made me feel welcome so it wasn't a tough decision," he said of his international switch.

He hooked up with Dagenham in 2013 and scored an impressive 13 goals in 35 games last season.

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