Rochdale: trio of Football League sides interested in Dale player

Preston North End, Wigan Athletic and Sheffield United are all interested in signing Joe Bunney from Rochdale, according to HITC Sport.

Joe Bunney, initially a forward, has remarkably been transformed into a left-back this season and blossomed in the new role. Despite the defensive duties, the 23-year-old has still maintained his attacking threat going forward and has provided nine assists and a goal.

Reports suggested that Championship duo Preston North End and Wigan Athletic have been scouting the Rochdale man while Sheffield United are also interested in the full-back.

The Manchester-born youngster started his career at Northern Premier League Division One North (tier eight) club Lancaster City whilst attending college studying sports science. Aged 19 Bunney left Lancaster in hopes of a bigger move, only to find himself playing for four clubs in the same year and ending up in the same tier as he started in. A brief spell at Kendal Town after Lancaster was followed by a big move to Conference Premier team Stockport County, but the youngster only managed to play one game for the Greater Manchester club. The forward then dropped back down to tier eight of English football as he played for Norwich Victoria, and this spell was successful. 19 goals in 26 games showed the goal scoring ability from his time at Lancaster was still alive. Rochdale signed him in 2013.

At the Dale, 13 goals in 73 games was all the then-forward scored. However, the new defensive role for Bunney has been a huge success and is now drawing admirers from higher up the Football League as his Rochdale team sit in fifth place in League One.

Warren Joyce may want to put his own stamp on his Wigan team as he enters his first transfer window and perhaps Bunney could be his first signing. Maybe the 6 foot 2 defender could fit into the Blades’ back three with his height, or the full-back may be suited to a similar role to Daniel Lafferty, combining his new defensive skills with his natural attacking threat. Simon Grayson may want to add to the four defenders he brought in during the summer.

Bunney is out of contract next summer.

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