MICHAEL Rankine has the same untapped potential as Championship striker Akpo Sodje and former Leeds forward Leon Constantine, according to York City manager Martin Foyle.
The City chief made Rushden forward Rankine his sixth summer signing in a £10,000 deal that also saw Craig Farrell move in the opposite direction to Nene Park, as reported on our website thepress.co.uk yesterday.
Rankine, 24, scored only seven goals for Diamonds last season, including a brace in the 9-0 drubbing of Weymouth.
In total, he has netted 32 times in 124 appearances for City’s Blue Square Premier rivals and, after scoring on his Football League debut for Scunthorpe during a 1-0 win at Bury in 2004, failed to hit the target again in 23 outings.
He did, however, bag a brace in Rushden’s 3-1 FA Cup upset over Yeovil three years ago in the same season that he hit a Conference hat-trick against Weymouth.
League Two Bournemouth also played the 6ft 2in, 15 stone front-man four times during a loan spell last October and Foyle does not regard his arrival as a gamble.
While in charge of Port Vale, the City boss handed former Stevenage, Margate and Ebbsfleet striker Sodje a chance after being released by Darlington and went on to sell him to Sheffield Wednesday a year later.
Constantine also earned an exciting move to Elland Road having been recruited from Torquay by Foyle and scoring 24 goals for Vale in the 2006/7 season.
Foyle said: “There are plenty of strikers around with potential at the moment.
“I’ve taken them on before, people like Leon Constantine and Akpo Sodje and Michael’s similar. I don’t call them gambles if they have the desire and attitude to be a number one player in the side. Michael will also work hard, close down and give us a presence in the final third.
“He’s a good size, mobile and will certainly run the channels. We missed that last season but we’ve got someone young, hungry and with a point to prove.
“He’s been to Bournemouth and Scunthorpe and is one of those who’s nearly had a chance and has got a lot to do but he has a great attitude and I know he will be a good asset.”
Farrell, meanwhile, ends three years at City after joining Rushden and leaves with Foyle’s best wishes.
He said: “Justin Edinburgh wanted Faz as part of the deal. I didn’t really want to let him go but, in our position, you have to move people around to get the fresh faces in we need.”
Foyle is still targeting a right-footed midfielder and a left-footed centre-back before the players return for pre-season training in a fortnight.