FLEETWOOD Town fended off competition from a host of rival clubs to complete the signing of striker Jon Parkin, following his release from Championship side Cardiff City.
Scunthorpe, where the 30-year-old had a spell on loan last season, wanted him, as did Coventry to bolster their bid to bounce back from League One at the first attempt.
But, not for the first time in their transfer dealings, Fleetwood stole a march on their rivals to lure Parkin to Highbury for their first season as a Football League club.
Manager Micky Mellon said: “We worked really hard to get Jon because a lot of other clubs were after him, and he was spoiled for choice when it came to deciding where he wanted to move.
“Everyone knows that our front line of strikers has been decimated with players leaving, and we knew that Jon was exactly the kind of player we wanted to help fill that gap. He is the type of big target man, 6ft 4in, that we haven’t had at the club before.
“But that doesn’t mean that we will change the way we play – we will continue to try to play football.
“He will be the type of physical presence in the final third that we haven’t had. He is not just a big presence but he is a good footballer as well.
“It is a massive statement that the club has made, and like all the other players we have signed he wants to be a part of a team that is successful and moving upwards.”
Parkin echoed that, saying at yesterday’s press conference: “I think it’s remarkable how far this club has come in seven years. The manager told me his plans and that pretty much made my mind up.
“When I had a look round the stadium with the gaffer I was really impressed.
“I want to play, score as many goals as I can and help the younger lads for whom the Football League is a new experience.”
Parkin is eminently qualified to help out on that score as he closes in on 400 League appearances. He requires five more for a century of League goals and Town are his 12th club in a career which began with hometown side Barnsley in 1998.
And he revealed he is glad to be back in the north after signing for Cardiff in January last year.
Parkin added: “I live in Barnsley and love it there. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to travel from home to most of my clubs. I had to relocate when I went to Cardiff but I’m back now.”
He is delighted that York City, one of his former clubs, have been promoted with Town and next season’s matches against them are two he is looking forward to most.
“York took a chance on me and I did quite well for them. I’m chuffed they got back up because they are a good little club.
“It would have been nice for Macclesfield (another former club) to have stayed in League Two too but it was not to be. I really enjoyed it there and furthered my career.
“I made a big step up to the Championship with Hull, who were second-bottom when I went there, but we managed to stay up.
“I won promotion with Stoke but then first-team chances there were very limited and Alan Irvine signed me for Preston. They were a really good, well run club and we got to the play-offs one season. I was disappointed when Alan got the sack.
“Dave Jones brought me to Cardiff. They were second in the league with a really good chance of promotion but it did not work out.
“Dave got the sack and the new manager (Malky Mackay) did not fancy me.”
In his 18 months at Cardiff, Parkin was loaned out three times, to Doncaster, Huddersfield and Scunthorpe.”
During the second of those loan spells he teamed up with Damien Johnson, who signed for Fleetwood last week.
Parkin said: “Apart from Damien, I’m not familiar with most of the squad but I’ve come here to play football.
“I’ve probably played 50 games as a centre-half, so could do job back there too if needed.”
It is understood that Fleetwood have a couple of other strikers in their sights and Mellon added: “We are trying to bring in quality rather than quantity.
“If we get our other two signings which we are close to securing, people will be excited.”