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Larne favourites to sign Josh Robinson as Crusaders members voice reservations

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Linfield defender Josh Robinson

Linfield defender Josh Robinson

�INPHO/Stephen Hamilton

Linfield defender Josh Robinson

Larne have moved into pole position to sign Linfield centre-half Josh Robinson when his contract at Windsor Park expires in the summer.

The 26-year-old has been linked with a controversial return to Crusaders after three years with the Blues, but Inver Park is a more likely destination for the Dundonald man.

Larne sent a courtesy letter to Linfield announcing their intention to talk to the defender, who can also play as a shielding midfielder, while the Crues have conflicting opinions about Robinson, who signed for Linfield in 2017 after penning a pre-contract agreement at Seaview.

Robinson won back-to-back titles in north Belfast before securing a move to York City in 2016, but returned a year later to sign for Linfield in a move that left a very bad feeling around the Shore Road.

Crusaders held an EGM recently to discuss a range of issues, including the mooted move for Robinson, and the club's members voiced grave reservations about re-signing the player, whose grandfather Billy Millen and uncle George Dunlop enjoyed tremendous success with Linfield.

"Obviously, there was some bad feeling about the way Josh treated the club when he signed for Linfield", said a Seaview insider.

"When it was discussed at the EGM, it became apparent that there was some opposition from our members to Josh returning to the club.

"We are a members-owned club and those views must be taken on board, but if the club was to consider a move, it would not be until the end of the season.

"What would be the point of offering him a pre-contract bearing in mind what happened three years ago?"

An ace up Larne's sleeve is the close friendship between Robinson and Andrew Mitchell, who left Linfield to sign for Larne in the January transfer window.

The pair, who were both at Rangers as youth players, played together at both Seaview and Windsor Park and could very well be reunited at Inver.

However, sources at both Larne and the Crues have indicated they have several irons in the fire as they look ahead to next season.

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