Neil Warnock: Players will need to get real over money as clubs tighten their belts

What I Learnt This Week
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The Independent Football

As you may have noticed, if you've been following Crystal Palace's results recently, we need a goalscorer. Although the transfer window's shut we can get loan signings in and I've been working on bringing someone in for weeks. But like most people these days, managers have to balance the books and even a loan signing means juggling the budget. Nor are we the only club chasing a striker.

The process starts with our chief scout talking to other clubs and agents, and telling me who might be available. Then I try to persuade the player to come, and find a way of paying for him. I've never known it to be as hard as it is at the moment. We went after Birmingham's Gary McSheffrey, who's gone to Nottingham Forest; West Brom's Craig Beattie, who did well here earlier in the season, but has now gone to Sheffield United; and Scott Sinclair of Chelsea, who was with us last season, but has gone to Birmingham. Then I heard that Anthony Stokes was available. He's been on loan at Sheffield United – yes, it's a merry-go-round at times.

I spoke to his club, Sunderland, and his agent, and he was up for coming but we could only afford him by loaning someone out. A couple of players who were supposed to be leaving turned moves down, which meant I was forced to rekindle Charlton's interest in Danny Butterfield, our long-serving defender. I didn't want to let him go, but Nathaniel Clyne is keeping him out of the team and we do have additional cover.

As well as getting Stokes in, Danny's loan meant we could extend Rui Fonte's stay from Arsenal. He has only started one game but we have three away games in six days coming up and I'm sure he'll get his chance.

There will be a lot of movement in the summer as we, like a lot of clubs, have several players out of contract and won't be renewing. I think Championship wage bills will drop significantly in the next couple of years. It's going to be a rude awakening for a lot of players. I've already had one agent come back to me about a player I was after, he's now lowered his asking price. He's still too expensive, though.

2. Horror tacklers should be banned for 10 games

I'm going to try to go to the Emirates for the FA Cup tie tomorrow. We're playing Burnley next week – it's the first leg of our safari – and I love going to Arsenal. I've been told how poorly the Gunners are playing, how they got booed off in the last home game, and some fans think Arsène Wenger must go. So, it must have been a misprint when I read that they have not lost for 16 games. Just remember the old saying, be careful what you wish for. If I were an Arsenal fan I would just hope the small element doesn't drive him to say he's had enough.

I fully agree, by the way, with Arsène's views on bad tackles. When I think of the tackle for which Nick Carle was sent off, I couldn't believe Lucas Neill got away with his one in midweek. The only way to stop these challenges is to use DVD evidence to ban players. Ten games. I'd do the same with divers as well.

I think Coventry v Chelsea will be a good match. I don't think Chelsea will rip anyone to pieces the way they play. When they play their quick passing game they are great to watch, but they've not got the width.

In today's other game, Manchester United won't find it straightforward at Fulham. I fancy them for the league but this could be where their quintuple dream ends – it only takes a bad decision to go against them. No, what am I talking about? Those decisions never go against United.

3. Impetigo and square eyes hit our house

My son William has been at home all week having caught impetigo from his big sister Natalie. I now know what it must have been like during the Black Death, we've all been walking around saying, "stay away, stay away".

But it has shown what a good relationship he has with his other sister, Amy. She came home from school the first day smiling her head off. She said to William, "I have been to see your teacher and I have got you loads of homework for the week." I wish you could have seen his face when she dropped it on the table. I could tell when I was watching him playing on the magnetic dartboard, doing a few dribbles on the carpet, using his DS games console and watching television, how much he was missing his schoolwork. He has given up Nintendo Wii for Lent, as we found his eyes were going a bit square.

4. Pakistan attack raises Olympics safety fears

I was as shocked as everybody else about the news from Pakistan. It is bound to make people think twice about where they go to play cricket. Other sports will also be affected. I'm hoping to take William to the 2012 Olympics, but you immediately wonder how secure that will be.

I guess it comes down to being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Down here it seems that applies to everyday life – I've been in London 16 months and hardly a week goes by when somebody doesn't get knifed, most of it within 10 to 15 minutes of where I'm living. It's opened my eyes a bit, you even need to think twice about doing simple things with the family.

It's not as bad, though, as when I was playing for Aldershot in the 1970s. It was the time of the Guildford bombing. Aldershot was a military town and I lost count of the times we had to leave a cinema because of a bomb scare.

5. Ashley gives Guus a lesson in English football

Guus Hiddink had an early introduction to the ways of the English footballer when Ashley Cole got himself arrested. It's the first time I've heard of a player being arrested following an official club function. Maybe they had a Russian theme with vodka and caviar all round. It's a reminder that players have to be aware of who they are.