Double deal: Coyle nets Andrews, Mills to follow
OWEN Coyle should unveil his first summer signing today – and follow it up quickly with another.
Republic of Ireland international Keith Andrews is set to be announced as a Wanderers player, joining on a two-year deal after being released by West Brom last season.
It is understood the 31-year-old midfielder turned down a chance to join Celtic or Championship new boys Huddersfield Town and Charlton Athletic to stay close to his Lancashire base.
And Coyle’s return from holiday has also kick-started Matt Mills’ move from Leicester City, which looked in trouble earlier this week.
Reports in the Scottish press suggested Celtic were ready to gatecrash that deal too after the 25-year-old defender appeared to be struggling to negotiate a settlement with the East Midlands club.
But the matter looks set to be resolved by the end of this week when the player’s representative meets with Wanderers to discuss the terms of his transfer.
It is expected the centre-half will join on a season-long loan before making his move permanent next summer for around £2million.
Andrews’ arrival has been expected for some time and ticks a priority position for Coyle after Nigel Reo-Coker chose to quit the Reebok following the club’s relegation.
The Irish ball-winner should add grit to the Whites midfield and his goalscoring record in the Championship during a loan spell with Ipswich Town last season suggests a player who is more than comfortable at this level.
Andrews hit nine goals in 20 games for the Tractor Boys before being called back to Blackburn Rovers for what proved to be a stormy end to his time at Ewood Park.
Andrews started his career at Wolves and spent six years at Molineux before moving to Hull City for a single season.
He then moved on to MK Dons in 2006 and captained Paul Ince’s side to promotion, winning League Two’s player of the year award.
Andrews followed Ince to Rovers in a £1million deal and made 76 appearances in all competitions before being loaned out to Ipswich.
His form prompted Steve Kean to take him back to Lancashire but he was frustratingly denied a route back into the team, prompting a transfer request and a move to West Brom on transfer deadline day.
Andrews scored on his debut in a memorable 5-1 derby victory against his old club Wolves and had been tipped to sign a two-year deal until Baggies’ boss Roy Hodgson took the England job.
He travelled with Ireland to Euro 2012 without being attached to a club and featured in all three games as Giovanni Trappatoni’s side were eliminated without registering a point. Andrews’ own tournament also ended in frustration when he was sent off for a second yellow card in the final minute of a 2-0 defeat to Italy.