BARNSLEY: Reds in talks with Cranie

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BARNSLEY boss Keith Hill is hopeful of signing former Coventry City defender Martin Cranie before the start of the new season, but trialists Ibrahima Sonko and Scott Hogan have not been offered deals with the Championship club.

“Martin’s got outstanding ability, it would be great if we could do a deal,” revealed Hill, speaking exclusively to The Star.

“It’s a shame players with such quality haven’t got clubs at this stage in the season, but that could be our gain.”

Free agent Cranie has been training with fellow Championship club Leeds United, but the 25-year-old trained with the Reds for the first time on Tuesday and Hill admitted talks are now ongoing with the player about a potential permanent switch to Oakwell.

“He [Martin] was with Leeds in pre-season and I think he thought he’d get a deal, but he’s come in to see us and we’ve been impressed with him.

“He’s got good experience of playing in the Championship and is a good reader of the game.”

Cranie started his career with Southampton and has also played for Bournemouth, Yeovil Town, QPR and Charlton Athletic, but the former England Under-21 international turned down a new offer with relegated Coventry because he wants to continue playing in the Championship.

And yesterday Hill swooped to sign former Manchester City goalkeeper David Gonzalez on non-contract terms as cover for injured keeper Luke Steele and suspended shot-stopper Ben Alnwick.

Hill had agreed a short-term loan deal to sign Stoke City keeper Carlo Nash, but Football League red tape prevented the deal from going through.

“[Stoke boss] Tony Pulis was doing us a favour and we could have had Carlo for three games while Ben is suspended, but red tape has stopped us,” added Hill.

“It’s frustrating because Ben has been rightly punished for his red card, but the club doesn’t deserve to be punished because we’re trying to find cover.”

Reds director Don Rowing revealed: “Unfortunately the regulations state that you can only recall a player because of extenuating circumstances and that was never likely to happen, so therefore we couldn’t sign Carlo.”

The Reds told Millwall yesterday that club captain and defender Jimmy McNulty was not for sale after the Lions made an enquiry about buying the player.