Mark Fleming: Leicester play the market in pursuit of place at top table

The Football League Column: Leicester sit two points above Hull City, who have also beenrecruiting madly following their £40m takeover

Blackpool showed a year ago how making the right moves in the transfer market can make a huge difference in the second half of the season. Manager Ian Holloway recruited the likes of D J Campbell, Stephen Dobbie and Seamus Coleman on loan during the latter half of last season, and all three had crucial roles to play in the club's remarkable ascent to the Premier League.

The consequence of Holloway's shrewd dealings has been a flurry of activity during the current transfer window in the Championship.

In total, including both loan deals and permanent transfers, 67 new players have been registered by Championship clubs so far this month. Contrast that with the Premier League, where just 22 players have changed clubs during the winter window. And there are still eight days left, which in recent years has been the busiest period of the month.

For clubs with a chance of making the play-offs the temptation to follow the Blackpool template and freshen up the squad is overwhelming.

However, having an owner with the resources to spend some relatively large sums of money is perhaps the most important element. For those men who believe you can buy your way into the Premier League, the first month of the year is the moment to put your money where your mouth is. It is a time of year when the difference between the "haves" and the "have-nots" is more marked than probably any other.

Leicester City's ambitious Thai owners have demonstrated their desire to force their way into the play-off positions with the most eye-catching deal of the window so far, the arrival of Everton and Nigeria striker Ayegbeni Yakubu (above) on loan until the end of the season. The 28-year-old has scored on both appearances for the club, suggesting his goals and performances could have a major bearing on how the table shapes up.

Yakubu said the chance to play under Sven Goran Eriksson was the main draw – but the club's ability to pay the bulk of the striker's £80,000-a-week wages was the most telling factor.

Another new arrival, defender Sol Bamba, who joined from Hibernian for £250,000, scored twice in Leicester's 4-2 win over Millwall that pushed Eriksson's side closer to the top six.

Leicester sit two points above Hull City, who have also been recruiting madly following the £40m takeover a month ago by father and son businessmen Assem and Ehab Allam. Manager Nigel Pearson has brought in strikers Aaron McLean from Peterborough for £1.3m and Matty Fryatt from Leicester for £1.2m. On Saturday they drew with promotion rivals Reading, where the tighter purse strings demand greater frugality, hence manager Brian McDermott's more modest signings of Hereford United's Mathieu Manset, Brett Williams from Eastleigh and Sean Morrison from Swindon for a total of £250,000.

Other clubs have opted for mostly loan signings. The Queen's Park Rangers manager, Neil Warnock, has added an experienced trio of Pascal Chimbonda, Wayne Routledge and Ishmael Miller, without having to pay a penny in transfer fees. Leeds United's manager, Simon Grayson, has also gone for players with Premier League experience, signing Andy O'Brien and George McCartney. Rivals Cardiff City have also been busy, and last week clinched a loan deal with Arsenal for Aaron Ramsey to rejoin his former club while he steps up his recovery from injury.

Cardiff's manager, Dave Jones, has also brought in Dekel Keinan from Blackpool on loan, Arsenal's Jay Emmanuel-Thomas on loan and Jon Parkin for £100,000 from Preston North End.

The recession has certainly driven down prices, and forced more clubs to consider loan deals. But in terms of activity the market in the Championship has rarely been as buoyant.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?