CRAWLEY Town have tonight completed a sensational piece of transfer business by signing striker Leon Clarke from League 1 leaders Charlton Athletic until the end of the season.
The football and legal documentation signed by all parties means that Leon will stay with Reds until the end of the season as there is no recall clause inserted in the deal.
The 25-year-old was about to board Charlton’s team coach and head to Scunthorpe at lunch time today as he was in the Addicks’ match-day squad for tomorrow (Saturday) when he became aware for the first time of Crawley’s interest in taking the talented striker on loan.
Leon told the Crawley Town website “I was told by the Gaffer (Chris Powell) that Crawley wanted to sign me. I took a telephone from Steve Evans and within 20 minutes of talking to him I decided I wanted to join them.
“In turn I talked again at length to Chris Powell who spoke very highly of Crawley, Steve Evans and what the club wanted to achieve - promotion is the objective.
“It’s a move that really excites me. Charlton are a fantastic club and I have no doubt they will win promotion but the chance to play regular football at such a progressive club and in a promotion battle was too good to turn down.”
Leon started the season at Swindon Town but then enjoyed a fantastic loan spell with League 1 Chesterfield, where he scored nine goals in 14 games.
He joined Charlton in January and has so far made seven appearances as they continue their march back to the Championship.
Leon has scored goals throughout a career which started with his local club Wolves and has played his football at the likes of Sheffield Wednesday and Queens Park Rangers so he has a superb football pedigree.
The player is included in the squad for tomorrow’s home game against Port Vale.
A delighted Steve Evans said: “Leon has been on our radar for a while now and we are delighted Charlton have agreed to let him come to us until the end of the season.
“At 6ft 2in he carries a real physical presence and has lightning pace. I watched him several times during his loan spell at Chesterfield and every time he impressed me.
“He knows quite a few of our lads so that will help him settle in and I’m sure our supporters will enjoy seeing him in a Crawley Town shirt.”
In other news, John Akinde and Charlie Wassmer have joined Dagenham & Redbridge on loan until the end of the season.