WANDERERS are unable to accept an offer from Shola Ameobi to play for free for the rest of the season, The Bolton News understands.

A transfer embargo was put on the club in late December which prevents any contracts being registered with the Football League.

The harsh sanctions were taken because Wanderers were unable to give financial forecasts to satisfy Financial Fair Play regulations – but unlike those at Nottingham Forest and Fulham, they apply to all incoming transfers.

Ameobi’s contract expired after he scored in Saturday’s 3-1 win over MK Dons and Neil Lennon had hoped to speak with the former Newcastle United striker about a new deal.

The only way a deal would be possible is by making a special request to the Football League – but that would only be likely if Wanderers suffered a major injury crisis which left them unable to select a match-day squad of 17 players with senior appearances.

Wanderers may be able to apply to have the transfer ban lifted once they satisfy the outstanding £2.2million tax bill owed to HMRC, with a High Court hearing scheduled on February 22.