Arlesey’s pay day?

Two former Arlesey Town stars are rewarding the club long after their departure from Hitchin Road. Defender Shane Blackett, 24, and 22-year-old winger Craig Mackail-Smith, currently with Conference side Dagenham and Redbridge, look likely to bring a cash

Two former Arlesey Town stars are rewarding the club long after their departure from Hitchin Road.

Defender Shane Blackett, 24, and 22-year-old winger Craig Mackail-Smith, currently with Conference side Dagenham and Redbridge, look likely to bring a cash windfall to the club next month.

The Daggers are in talks with Peterborough United about the sale of the pair and are expected to join the League Two side during the January transfer window.

The projected fee involved is believed to be £250,000.

Former manager Nicky Ironton ensured a sign-on clause was made when the two Blues initially signed for Dagenham and so the Ryman League Division One North club will receive a percentage of the above fee.

Arlesey Town spokesman Lol Pike said: "It will obviously benefit the club financially and it is certainly a good deal.

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"A deal was brokered that if the pair would ever leave Dagenham, Arlesey would also benefit.

"Credit must go to the then manager Nicky Ironton for setting up the deal.

"The club is very keen to see former players progress, just like Dave Kitson has (now at Premiership Reading)."

Daggers boss John Still insisted that a deal "is nowhere near done" and maintained that the two youngsters have yet to confirm they are interested in the move.

But his chairman Dave Andrews conceded that the club cannot afford to turn their back on the money being offered, though he emphasised that any deal would not be struck until January 29 at the earliest.

"It is not all agreed but we've had an offer we could not refuse," admitted Andrews.

"We are still talking and if discussions go well, it wouldn't go through until the end of the transfer window.

"There are still things to thrash out but if it's £200,000 or in that region, it's too much for us to turn down."

Still was not as enthusiastic as his chairman to talk about losing two promising young players he signed two summers ago but accepted that his club's present financial condition demands that players must be sold when a suitable offer materialises.

That offer has arrived from new Peterborough chairman Darragh MacAnthony, who appears determined to secure the services of Mackail-Smith, boasting 10 Conference goals this season, and Blackett, who is rumoured to have attracted the attention of Leyton Orient among other League clubs recently.

Conscious of the financial ramifications of watching Mackail-Smith walk out of Victoria Road for nothing, the fact that his contract expires in the summer would have played a significant part in the decision to cash in on him now.

The two ex-Blues have played their part in Dagenham's rise to second in the Conference.

While he is aware of the need to achieve financial stability, Still will not be too disheartened if Mackail-Smith and Blackett choose to turn their backs on a switch to Peterborough.

"They won't make up their minds until January and they want to concentrate on being here which is commendable," said the manager. "They haven't intimated anything to me. We can't stop people making offers. We have to decide if the offer is good enough.