ATHERTON Collieries have completed the signing of former Liverpool and Preston midfielder John Welsh on a short-term deal.

The 35-year-old represented his hometown club in the Premier League and Champions League and has more than 400 league games under his belt.

Since leaving Anfield in 2006, Welsh has played for Hull, Tranmere and Preston among others before spending last season with Grimsby in League Two.

Colls boss Michael Clegg is well aware that strong showings at the Skuna Stadium may mean that his new man is soon playing at a higher level, Welsh having arrived after a spell on trial with Chorley in the National League.

“John has had an unbelievable playing career,” Clegg said.

“We are just delighted to have him on board and for the lads to learn from him. He is a leader. His career tells its own story.

“I feel with the injuries this season we have lacked maturity in the squad.

“So when you add John to that, with Josh Thompson and Michael Brewster, coupled with what we already have, it shows the direction we want to go in.

“It’s a real coup for us. I’m sure if John enjoys playing he still has a higher move in him, but we will enjoy it while it lasts.”

Colls are in BetVictor Northern Premier Division action at South Shields on Saturday.