RELEGATION rivals Oxford City have raided Gloucester City and made Darren Mullings an offer he couldn’t refuse.
The industrious midfielder will be making a long trip north to Lincolnshire on Saturday, but his port of call will be with his new teammates at Boston United and not with the Tigers at Gainsborough Trinity.
The 27-year-old joined City from Weston-super-Mare in the summer of 2010, going on to score 28 goals in 137 appearances in a yellow and black shirt.
Oxford put in a seven-day approach for the former Torquay United midfielder last week and Mullings initially rebuffed the offer.
But when Oxford boss Mike Ford upped the stakes in the last few days Mullings’ head was turned.
He was not on a contract with the Tigers owing to a long-standing shoulder problem – one that forced him to miss virtually the whole of the 2012-13 season – so City could not prevent the move.
Disappointed to lose a key component of his side, City boss Tim Harris explained that once Oxford made Mullings a “very, very good” offer to move, he was powerless to stop him.
Harris said: “Oxford put in seven days for Darren and he told me last week that he wasn’t going, but he told me on Thursday morning that he had changed his mind.
“That’s only down to one thing and I will be disappointed to lose him and especially to a rival of ours.
“He’s jumping from one relegation scrap to another and they are rewarding him handsomely for that.
"I understand that he has a young family and he has to look after himself, but it’s still a blow.
“They have made him a very, very good offer financially and that’s not a route that I want to go down. If he wants to leave the club to help his young family then I can live with that.”
Mullings has been followed out of City by Reading goalkeeper Stuart Moore who has been recalled from his youth loan by the Royals.
The Isle-of-White-born stopper made three appearances for the Tigers, but Harris has preferred regular number one Mike Green for his two games in charge.
City will also loan their two other loan recruits: midfielder Jordan Goddard and striker Connor Waldon after Tuesday’s game at Brackley Town.
The pair will complete their maximum 93 day loan periods with the club and will return to parent clubs Bristol Rovers and Swindon Town respectively.
Goddard’s return and a long-running injury problem to record appearance maker Tom Webb could mean a recall for young midfielder Matt Liddiard, who is currently on loan at Cirencester Town.
Webb has been seeing a chiropractor in a bid to cure his back/hamstring problem and he could be fit enough for a place on the bench at Gainsborough.