JONATHAN TEHOUE’S Town debut hinges on a FIFA hearing.
The Galpharm club are going right to the top as they bid to get the green light to unleash the French striker on League I.
Twenty five days have passed since manager Lee Clark agreed terms until the end of the season with the 24-year-old Parisian.
And tomorrow’s derby trip to Stockport County, where Town will be backed by a sell-out travelling contingent of 1,984 fans, will be the fourth match for which he has been unavailable.
The problem over international clearance lies with Tehoue’s last club, Turkish top-flight outfit Konyaspor.
The side from the capital city of Ankara, who signed Tehoue from Istanbul’s Kasimpasa a year ago and agreed a contract through to 2011, are disputing the terms of his departure.
Town believe Tehoue, who last played for Konyaspor on November 23, should be available on a free transfer, and hope FIFA, world football’s governing body, will back them up.
In the meantime, Tehoue, who has also played in France, Cyprus and Belgium, has returned to Paris to prepare for a more permanent move to England.
“The situation is frustrating for myself, Jonathan and our supporters,” said Clark, who signed Tehoue on deadline day after he impressed on trial.
“Jonathan has looked very sharp in training and he’s desperate to begin the next stage of his career.
“Unfortunately, international clearance is proving a problem, but we’re optimistic that the FIFA hearing will sort everything out.
“But we’re in their hands as regards a date for the decision to be made, so we can only wait.”
While disappointed over Tehoue, Clark, whose side are 10th in League I, is delighted to be going to Stockport with plenty of options after Danny Cadamarteri (calf) and County old boy Anthony Pilkington (illness) proved their fitness in training.
Andy Booth, who appeared as a substitute in last Saturday’s 3-1 defeat by Crewe, is also in the frame to face a eighth-placed Stockport side boosted by manager Jim Gannon’s decision to turn down an offer to take over at Brighton.
“What’s happening there is out of our hands – we have to focus on ourselves,” said Clark.