Oldham Athletic boss Lee Johnson renews faith in young players with two improved deals for defensive duo

By Matthew Lees

With a high number of Oldham Athletic’s youngsters signing new contracts in the past month, Lee Johnson has given improved terms to two more – Connor Brown and Glenn Belezika.

The defenders’ contracts had expired but Latics decided to exercise the option to renew as a financial reward for impressing at the end of the season.

Manager Lee Johnson is confident in his faith for his young players having already given contracts to eight other products from the club’s youth system and hopes the new deals will improve the pair.

“The improved contract terms reflect how highly we value both players,” he told the club’s website.

“They weren’t earning a fortune and this is part of making them responsible adults and helping them develop both as men and footballers.”

Brown crossed the Pennines to sign for Oldham last summer on a free transfer from Sheffield United, and made 29 appearances despite competition from Manchester City loan Reece Wabara.

Belezika was signed at 16 years old after being spotted while playing street football with former ‘tic Djeny Bembo-Leta and has played four times for Oldham.

Latics will also have the option to extend the centre-back’s contract further at the end of the 2013/14 season.

The news will come as a relief to Johnson who looks likely to lose key defender Jean-Yves M’voto to Doncaster Rovers.

The Yorkshire club, managed by former manager Paul Dickov, tweeted that M’voto has agreed in principle to sign with ex-captain Dean Furman – who was on loan.

Meanwhile, Athletic are hoping to tie up a loan deal for Hull City goalkeeper Mark Oxley to replace Dean Bouzanis and Alex Cisak who have both since departed.

Hull, who recently won promotion to the Premier League, have sanctioned the move for the 23-year-old after signing Scotland international Allan McGregor.

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