St Johnstone and Aberdeen in race for Goodwillie

ST Johnstone last night joined the race for Blackburn Rovers striker David Goodwillie.
David Goodwillie returned to Dundee Utd but Stephen Thompson called the loan spell a 'disappointment'. Picture: Ian RutherfordDavid Goodwillie returned to Dundee Utd but Stephen Thompson called the loan spell a 'disappointment'. Picture: Ian Rutherford
David Goodwillie returned to Dundee Utd but Stephen Thompson called the loan spell a 'disappointment'. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Former Perth manager Derek McInnes is also hoping to tie up a loan deal for the Scotland international at Aberdeen through to the end of the season.

Goodwillie still has 18 months left on his Rovers contract, and the 24-year-old has been warned by Ewood Park manager Gary Bowyer that he must get more game time during his next loan, after restricted time on the pitch during his spell at former club Dundee United.

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Saints manager Tommy Wright, who yesterday secured defensive duo Brian Easton and Tam Scobbie on new deals until the summer of 2015, admits the Perth club can’t compete with the financial might of Aberdeen. But he has put together a package designed to lure Goodwillie to McDiarmid and team him up with 16-goal Stevie May.

Wright said: “David is one we’ve enquired about so it will come down to whether we can get a deal that suits us, suits David and also suits Blackburn Rovers. There are other clubs in for him – ones that have more financial clout than us – but, in football terms, there isn’t a better place to come than here.

“We’re doing okay in the league, pushing again for the top six, we’re still in two cups – although David’s cup-tied – and it’s a good place to come in and work. Coming to us is a good opportunity to help anyone’s

career. But everyone is looking for strikers so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens in the next few weeks.”

Goodwillie has not given up hope of forcing himself back into the Blackburn squad, despite his move to Dundee United not working out. Ricky Gillies of the Pro-

Legal Group, who represent the player, claims Goodwillie believes he can make an impact for Blackburn now. He said: “David is heading back to Blackburn today and his main aim is to push himself back into the first team there.

“He is keen to get his career kickstarted and the only place he is looking to play is Blackburn. He gets on well the manager, who rates him.

“He is competing with Jordan Rhodes, an £8 million striker, for a place in the team, but he believes he can go there and score goals. People say his loan spell at Dundee United didn’t work out but United have been flying and it was hard for him to get a run of games.

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“But, over his career, his scoring ratio has been spectacular and he just needs time on the park if he is to get back to that kind of form.”

Goodwillie helped United win the Scottish Cup in 2010 and notched up 40 goals in 136 games before sealing a £2m switch to Rovers a year later. But he failed to settle in Lancashire and returned to Tayside in Aug-ust. United chairman Stephen Thompson, however, described Goodwillie’s return to Tayside as a “disappointment”.

Gillies has not ruled out another loan move but insisted Rovers’ financial demands may make it difficult for Scottish sides to make an offer. “If he does go out on loan, it’s important he goes to the right club,” he said. “We have heard from Aberdeen, St Johnstone and Oldham and they are the clubs showing a keenness. But it is difficult for Scottish clubs because of David’s contract situation.

“Blackburn will want to get him playing one way or the other, though, because he’s not an asset to them if he’s sitting on the bench. He has 18 months on his Rovers deal left but for him it’s not about money. He just wants to prove himself. He’s not in a rush to leave.”