Transfer deadline day is rarely a quiet affair for Harry Redknapp’s telephone, and today will be no different for QPR’s ubiquitous manager.
After Saturday’s hard-fought 1-0 win at Leeds United, the man who has worked furiously on all but one transfer deadline day since its inception in 2002 said he would be looking at “two, three or four new players” to aid QPR’s promotion push.
But to build, Redknapp may need to budge. Joey Barton, at the centre of play and controversy in equal measure at Elland Road, may still be on the move. Assistant manager Kevin Bond was unsure of Barton’s future after the game, but Redknapp was more confident about arrivals.
“We’ve not got a big squad; 18 players have left so we need to improve the squad,” Redknapp told Sky Sports. “There are still areas we can strengthen and we’ll do that in the next few days. We are trying. We’ve got some good targets, not gambles, real good players in my opinion.”
Blackpool’s manager Paul Ince admitted he had had no intention of playing his son Tom but the 21-year-old came off the bench to score the winner against Watford on Saturday. The winger could also be on the move before today’s window slams shut at 11pm, with interest from Everton, Tottenham and Aston Villa. Fears that the player may change his heart are admittedly not as strong when communication is between father and son, but Paul himself conceded last week he had a “gut feeling” that bids would come in for Tom.
He said after Saturday’s 1-0 win: “[England Under-21 coach] Gareth Southgate rang me [on Friday]; Tom has been out for three weeks. He [told] me if Tom wanted to go down and join up with the Under-21s and train then he could.
“But I told him I’d put him on the bench as a threat, never to play him, just for Watford to take their eye off the ball. I had no intention of playing him.”
Another player who is sure to be a target for Premier League clubs, in the next 12 months if not today, is Blackburn Rovers’ Jordan Rhodes. The Scot has scored four goals in his last two games after registering 28 last term, but Rovers’ manager, Gary Bowyer, is adamant that the 23-year-old Scottish international is staying put for now.
This day of all days, however, will always conjure up a few frustrating dilemmas for Championship managers.
“When I first took the job I asked the owners about Jordan Rhodes and they said to me that Jordan wasn’t for sale, so as soon as 11pm comes on Monday, you’ll all have to think of a different question,” Bowyer said after his side’s 4-1 win over Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.
Even this early in the season, Chris Powell admitted his Charlton Athletic side had taken a deep look at themselves before beating Leicester City 2-1. They joined Barnsley, who beat Huddersfield by the same score, in picking up their first league wins of the season at The Valley.
“We’ve had a lot of soul-searching between us all, a lot of hard work on the training pitch and changed our shape, which has worked,” said Powell after former Leicester striker Yann Kermorgant had scored the winner.
“When Yann plays like he does today then not many strikers are better than him. I’m going to tell him there are 23 other teams called Leicester. He has now played against them three times and scored three times. It is pleasing for him as he had a rough time there.”