While the new Bolton Wanderers manager, Gary Megson, cannot bring in any new players until January, he yesterday moved to ensure that one who is already on his books is going nowhere by blocking Gary Speed's proposed loan move to Sheffield United.
"Gary will not be going out on loan," said Megson. "I see him as an integral part of what we need to try and do. Since I have been here, Gary has been fantastic. He is a terrific lad and a positive influence, in the dressing room, on the training ground and on the pitch, exactly what I expected.
"He has had a fantastic career. We want it to finish on a high and so does Gary."
Speed's experience alone could be a major factor in what is developing into a long season for Bolton, who were not helped by the news yesterday that Nicolas Anelka will miss tomorrow's match at West Ham. Joey O'Brien, the Republic of Ireland international defender, is also a major doubt because of a hamstring injury. Kevin Davies and Andy O'Brien are struggling too, so Megson is not having the easiest reintroduction to Premier League life. However, he is anxious not to let the situation get him down.
"We do have one or two problems but so has everyone else," he said. "I am not someone who wants to be flagging it up all the time and quote the number of injuries we have. We would like Nicolas Anelka to be fit on Sunday but he isn't. The fact he is not available gives someone else the chance to show what he can do."