League One and Two: Sunderland starlet turns down Manchester City move for Middlesbrough

Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough. Getty Images.
Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough. Getty Images.

News from League One and League Two (19th February 2019).

Sunderland starlet Morten Spencer has turned down a move to Manchester City in favour of joining North East rivals Middlesbrough.

The Sun reported the Black Cats were set to receive £200,000 in compensation in light of the 14-year-old’s proposed switch to the Etihad Stadium.

However, it is in fact Boro who have won the race, as revealed by Spencer’s mother, Heidi Lunde, when speaking to Norwegian TV channel TV2.

She said: “Manchester City are one of the clubs that has shown interest. In the beginning, Morten would probably also get there, but that would mean that he had to move away from home to live and play there.

“Eventually, we have felt that City is such a large club with quite a few talents that are eventually sent out on loans. Therefore, we have looked at other alternatives.

“(Middlesbrough’s academy) is so close that we can stay where we live now. In the long term, we believe this is the best solution for Morten’s development.”

Meanwhile, Sunderland have been handed a boost in their reported chase to sign Motherwell winger Jake Hastie.

The 19-year-old, also said to be attracting interest from Leeds United, is unlikely to sign a new contract after manager Stephen Robinson, told the Scottish Herald they’re unable not increase their contract offer.

“We haven’t got any more money to offer Jake,” he said. “It is as simple as that and we will offer him what we can.

“I will tell every parent that you have to play football and he has a very good coaching staff who will try and develop him, and this is the best place for him to develop. I will stand in front of any parent now and tell them that.

“A few hundred pounds now will not make a big difference to his life. He could be a very good player if he keeps grounded and improving.”

EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey has issued an open letter after meeting with Blackpool Football Club’s receiver Paul Cooper.

In the statement, Harvey, who confirmed he would be stepping down at the end of the season, claims it is the EFL’s priority to create “stability” at the football club.

He later goes on to say it is not mandatory to apply the 12-point deduction, but adds the circumstances surrounding the appointment of the receiver need to be fully considered before a decision is made.

Portsmouth defender Lee Brown insists he has no regrets over leaving Bristol Rovers for Pompey.

“No, no,” replied Brown, when asked he had any regrets departing Rovers after seven years in the summer. “I needed a fresh challenge and that’s what I got here.

“At the moment it’s paying off. ‘I’m at a fantastic football club, we’re third in League One and have a great opportunity for automatic promotion. At the minute it is going well.

Oxford United are facing a winding-up order from the company who owns the Kassam Stadium – their home ground.

Firoka, owned by former U’s chairman Firoz Kassam, claim the League One side owes them £240,000, with a petition due to be heard at the High Court on 27 February.

The club has told BBC Radio Oxford that funding “has been agreed in principle for the due amount to be paid”. Last year the U’s faced three winding-up motions from HM Revenue and Customs.

Northampton Town manager Keith Curle will ‘not shy away’ from the Cobblers creative problems after they failed to score for the second successive home game on Saturday.

Curle’s side have netted just four goals in their past five matches, one scored by a defender (Aaron Pierre), one by a midfielder (Timi Elsnik) and two by striker Sam Hoskins.

“We need be more clinical, more creative and braver in the final third and make good decisions,” he admitted after Saturday’s goalless draw with Crawley Town.

“With your flair players, when things don’t come off for them, they have a role and responsibility within the team that will earn us a point or earn us a clean sheet, which is the minimum.

“But we need to work more on the creative side of it in the final third. There needs to be an improvement, individually, collectively and recruitment-wise.”