Cheltenham Town: Marlon Pack ready for Swindon Town Luke Rooney swap
MARLON Pack is ready and willing to move to Swindon Town, with winger Luke Rooney moving in the opposite direction.
Cheltenham Town's outstanding performer last season, 21-year-old Pack is out of contract at the end of the season and he will join Paolo Di Canio's League One promotion chasers on a loan basis before making the permanent switch in the summer.
Personal terms were agreed between the clubs yesterday, but circumstances beyond Cheltenham's control, thought to be linked to Swindon's change of ownership, meant the deal was in jeopardy as the transfer window neared its climax.
Despite the possible delay, the switch is considered highly likely to proceed when the loan window reopens next Friday, but Cheltenham were still hopeful the situation could be resolved last night.
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The deal is thought to be worth £100,000 to Cheltenham, who were also closing in on the permanent signing of a front man from another League Two club ahead of last night's 11pm deadline.
Portsmouth-based Pack will be remembered of one of the most technically adept players to represent the Robins.
The ball player has made 115 starts and 12 substitute appearances, scoring 11 goals for Cheltenham.
He joined on a permanent basis from hometown club Pompey in the summer of 2011 following a successful loan switch the previous season.
He was named in the League Two team of the year for his influential performances last season as the Robins reached the play-off final at Wembley where they lost out to Crewe Alexandra.
One of the highlights of Pack's Cheltenham career as his stunning free-kick at Torquay United in the second leg of the semi-final, which Cheltenham won 2-1 on the night and 4-1 on aggregate.
Boss Mark Yates described the Pack move as "something not everyone would be happy about, but a good deal for the club."
Wide man Rooney was part of the Swindon side that took the League Two title last season.
He has spent time on loan at Burton Albion and Rotherham United this season and Yates will hope he can deliver the service new front man and fellow Swindon man Paul Benson needs to fire the club to promotion.
Rooney, Benson and Reading defender Michael Hector all trained with Cheltenham for the first time yesterday.
Yates' hopes for another front man on a two-and-a-half year deal hinges on whether the player in question's club made a signing of their own in the same position.
With midfielder Jason Taylor and defender Luke McCullough signed at the start of the week, Rooney's arrival and the new striker would have taken Yates' total number of signings during the January window to six, with fit-again Darren Carter also extending his contract until the end of the season.
Cheltenham play Torquay United at home tomorrow (3pm), with all of the new arrivals expected to be involved.
Yates is now expected to trim his squad by loaning players out when the window for temporary moves reopens next Friday.
One player who will not be leaving Cheltenham, for the time being at least, is captain Alan Bennett.
The Irishman was the subject of interest from another League Two club, but he told the Echo: "I want to stay and fight for a place, get back in the team and finish what we started here.
"The interest was flattering, but I have been captain for 70 plus games in a good period for the club and I'm not ready to leave."
Left-back Danny Andrew has already left the club and signed for Gloucester City, while left winger Bagasan Graham is on loan with the Blue Square Bet North Tigers.
On his dealings during the transfer window, Yates said: "I am really delighted with the players I have brought in.
"I have pushed the board and didn't expect the answers I got, but I am happy."
Yates admitted Cheltenham would now be under more pressure to achieve their promotion goal, having invested so heavily in the transfer market.
"There was pressure on us anyway, but we'd rather be in this situation than fighting at the other end of the table, believe me.
"There is more pressure on us now, but we are in a good position and I am happy with where we are.
"To get to where we want to be, the players we have signed will help, without doubt.
"I think the signings show the ambition we have got here and it's continually evolving."