Exclusive: Moore to make first summer signing
Published: 20 May 2013 12:000 comments
MORTON manager Allan Moore is set to make Bolton Wanderers midfielder Joe McKee his first new signing of the summer.
McKee, 20, started his senior career with Livingston, for whom he made two substitute appearances, before joining English side Burnley in August 2009.
Burnley boss Owen Coyle paid a fee believed to be in the region of £80,000 to take the-then 16-year-old south to Turf Moor.
He failed to make a first-team appearance for the Clarets but spent four months on loan at St Mirren in season 2011-12, coming off the bench in matches against Hearts and Celtic.
When Coyle moved on to take charge of Bolton he went back to his former club to secure McKee's services for a second time.
However, McKee's contract will not be renewed by current manager Dougie Freedman, and he decided he wanted to come home to Scotland to try and establish himself as a first-team player.
McKee was recommended to Ton boss Moore by Sandy Stewart, Coyle's assistant at both Burnley and Bolton, and agreed to sign with the Cappielow club over the weekend.
Moore revealed: "We've agreed a deal with Joe McKee from Bolton. Joe is a right-sided central midfielder - he's a footballer - and has agreed a one-year deal. He's a boy I got a heads up on from Sandy Stewart and Owen Coyle.
"They paid money to take him from Livingston down to Burnley and then they took him to Bolton when they went there.
"But they left and after being down there since he was 16, I think he'd grown a bit homesick and just wanted to come back up the road and establish himself.
"He can't sign with us until 1 July because his contract with Bolton Wanderers doesn't expire until 30 June, but I met him and his dad on Friday and he's agreed to join us for next season."
Despite lacking in first-team experience, Moore, pictured above, sees the former Scotland Under-19 internationalist as a player who can make an immediate impact.
He added: "I went with Sandy and Owen Coyle's recommendations. I was actually with Oweny at the Celtic game last weekend and we were talking about players.
"He mentioned the boy McKee and he said to me that he's a right good player and should stand out in the First Division.
"He's 20 years of age and that's something we're looking to encourage in our team.
"I was looking at the ages of boys we've got signed at the moment.
"We've got big Mark McLaughlin who's obviously the oldest at 37.
"Then there's David O'Brien at 29, big Derek Gaston at 26, wee Freddy [Bachirou] and Michael Tidser at 23.
"We've also got Archie Campbell at 22, Scott Taggart 21, and Thomas O'Ware at 20.
"I think we had to look at getting the age down from last year a wee bit and that's what we are doing with signings like Joe."