English League 2

Clarke proves his worth

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Mon, 20 May 2013 17:11:00

Huddersfield defender Liam Ridehalgh has signed a new one-year contract at the John Smith's Stadium.

The 22-year-old left-back spent last season on loan at Chesterfield and Rotherham but Town boss Mark Robins wants him to challenge for a first-team spot next term.

"The next year is potentially very important for Liam's development and I'm looking forward to getting a close look at him during pre-season, as during my time he has been gaining experience through his most recent loan spell at Rotherham," Robins told the club's official website.

"We have very good competition for places at left-back thanks to the likes of Calum Woods, Paul Dixon and new recruit Jake Carroll and Liam's challenge is to come back to the club and put his marker down."

The midfielder will now focus his attention on finding a new club after helping Saints claim the final European place with a 2-0 win over Motherwell on Sunday.

Davidson said: "The only thing I know is that I won't be at St Johnstone next season.

"I've thoroughly enjoyed my time here, I've loved every minute but it's time to move on and I'm delighted they've got Europe to enjoy next year.

"I've not got anything 100 per cent sorted. I've been trying not to get too involved in it while the season has been going on.

"It's a long summer now and there is plenty of time to get a new club. It will probably be sooner rather than later but at the moment I'm not too sure where I'll be going.

"It's the perfect way to leave. It means so much to the people here.

"I'm delighted to help give them a present and give them something to look forward to over the summer."

Saints have continental football to savour for a second year running, after facing Turkish outfit Eskisehirspor last time.

Davidson added: "Even last year when we got into Europe, I was shocked by how much it meant to so many people.

"It wasn't just the players and people connected with the club, it was the whole of Perth that got involved and it was a massive thing.

"To do it this year again, with the size of the budget we've got, I think is an unbelievable achievement.

"As a group, we deserve massive credit and you can't take that away from us."

Inverness had been in the driving seat for third place - and a Europa League berth - heading into the final day of the season, but defeat to Highland rivals Ross County, combined with Saints' win over Motherwell, saw Steve Lomas' men come out on top.

Goals from Liam Craig and Nigel Hasselbaink sealed the three points for St Johnstone.

Davidson said: "It was good in a way because we knew we had to win. All we could do was fully concentrate on winning the game.

"It would have been sad if Ross County had done us a favour and we didn't do our job.

"If we had won, and Inverness had won, then they would have deserved it. But we've managed to pip them at the line and we have been excellent as a whole squad so I think it's deserved."

The 28-year-old will officially become a Well player on June 1.

Stuart McCall moved to sign the former Celtic man after his impressive performances helped County to fifth place in the SPL.

Lawson, who had loan spells with St Johnstone and St Mirren before joining County in 2007, told MFC TV: "It's great to have my future sorted out. There is a lot of uncertainty around Scottish football so it's really pleasing to have things sorted early doors.

"I enjoyed my time at Ross County. I have been pleased with my performances and thankfully the manager spotted that and came in to sign me.

"He is probably the main reason why I joined. I met him and he was keen to bring me here which was great and obviously the boys have enjoyed a fantastic season and I am keen to try and continue that next year."

Motherwell also confirmed their full squad situation today with new deals offered to the likes of James McFadden and Fraser Kerr, who was on loan from Birmingham.

Definitely leaving the club are Birmingham-bound Darren Randolph and Nicky Law, both of whom rejected offers, while Steven Saunders, Omar Daley, Steven Hetherington, Josh Watt and Nicky Devlin were released.

McCall is awaiting answers from McFadden, Kerr, Tom Hateley, Chris Humphrey and Michael Higdon, with defender Simon Ramsden signed up last week.

Kallum Higginbotham will return to Huddersfield following his loan spell while under-20s players Adam Asghar and Dominic Green have been freed.

The midfielder spent two months on loan from Arsenal at the Weston Homes Community Stadium between September and November, scoring twice in 13 appearances before his stay was curtailed by a broken foot.

And U's boss Joe Dunne has wasted little time swooping for Eastmond after he was released by the Gunners at the end of the season.

The 22-year-old will officially become a Colchester player on July 1 when his contract at the Emirates Stadium expires.

The likes of Sunderland, Aston Villa, Southampton, Premier League new boys Hull City and Scottish champions Celtic are all thought to be monitoring Austin's situation at Turf Moor.

Austin is entering the final year of his contract and the club may be forced to cash-in on their prize asset this summer to bring in funds.

The 23-year-old, who missed the last five games of the season after having appendix surgery, scored 28 goals in 40 games this season.

Burnley now fear Austin may have played his last game for the club with his list of suitors expected to test their resolve to hang onto the hot-shot this summer.

Austin has scored an impressive 82 goals in 155 appearances at Swindon Town and Burnley, and the Championship side will find it hard to turn down a significant offer for the free-scoring forward.

Mannus quit Shamrock Rovers to move across the Irish Sea and sign with St Johnstone in July, 2011.

The 31-year-old from Northern Ireland has been a stand-out performer for Saints this season, making 44 appearances for Lomas' men and clocking up nine clean sheets to help the side register the third best defensive record in the SPL.

St Johnstone conceded just 44 league goals, with only the SPL champions Celtic and eighth-placed Aberdeen boasting better figures.

Their solidity at the back was crucial to the club's late bid for Europa League qualification..

Saints snatched third place in the SPL and with it qualification for European competition with their 2-0 win over Motherwell in Sunday's final round of league fixtures.

That result, coupled with Inverness' 1-0 defeat to Ross County, means St Johnstone will be back on the continent for the second season running.

The 21-year-old came through the youth ranks at Rovers, but two serious injuries have restricted him to just seven senior appearances.

However, after a run in the team near the end of the 2012/13 campaign manager John Ward has handed him a new deal.

"He's proved to John and his team that he has something to offer," chairman Nick Higgs told the club's official website.

"We are delighted that Ollie has signed a contract extension with us."

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