He's making a list, He's checking it twice,
Gonna find out whose stats on Squawka look nice,
The January Transfer Window is coming....
Since Town's defeat to Fulham in November, Chris Powell has maintained that Town "will be busy" in January. Now, with the window a matter of hours away, we here at the Thrice Champions, will try and look at how Town boss Chris Powell may try and shape his squad over the coming month.
Despite success for Town with the signings of Nahki Wells and Joe Lolley last year, the January window is historically renowned for being more difficult to do business in than the summer window, and with only three Championship clubs suffering FFP restrictions (or are they..?), it seems that there will be around 20 clubs trying to dip their toe in a small pool of available players of quality. Of which, Town are generally towards the bottom of the financial food chain.
After Town’s 2-1 defeat of Brentford, Powell is quoted by the Examiner with:
“We will be busy in January for definite, both in terms of incomings and outgoings.”
“We have to keep the team and the squad fresh.”
Powell has also made several other interesting post-match comments as well, which perhaps indicate where he may be seeking to strengthen next month. Town currently have the 2nd worst Goals Against column in the Championship table, and the Town boss has constantly bemoaned Town’s inability to keep clean sheets. In his post-match interview on Radio Leeds after the win over Bolton, when pressed, Powell admitted that Town will be looking towards a centre half and a striker to replace loanee Grant Holt, who sadly suffered cruciate damage in the Boxing Day draw at Rotherham. In other interviews, he has irked over Town’s lack of concentration and game management – which he sees as key areas to improve. Diego Poyet was brought in temporarily to add control in midfield, but the 19 year old has since returned to West Ham. Could Powell also be looking to add to the midfield?
With all the clamour for new and exciting additions, Town fans must remember that, in true Huddersfield Town fashion, and in line with the club wanting to stick to FFP, players invariably have to move to make room in the squad. Below we will assess how Powell could look to shape the squad in this window and possibly beyond.
A reoccurring theme across Town’s last 4 managers, is that they have all claimed that the squad they have inherited is imbalanced. Clark claimed that the back 4 were too similar, Grayson bemoaned the lack of playmakers, and Robins expressed that there were too many playmakers, and no natural no10. Powell, whilst complimentary about the squad on the whole, and much of that was to boost low morale, has also dropped little hints of a similar nature. Whilst enthusing praise on his midfield 3, Powell has commented about how Wells and Vaughan are similar, and also made reference to the lack of a target man prior to the loan of Grant Holt. Further to that, the systems deployed by Powell lately, have been very asymmetrical as he struggles to find balance across the park.
When you look at, and break down these systems deployed by the Town boss, we do seem to lack the necessary players to make them work effectively:
Powell’s preferred system at Charlton was a somewhat direct 442. Kermorgant was a target man up front, and Johnnie Jackson played as a ‘tucked in’ wide midfielder, with Wiggins on the overlap down the left. Powell has tried this without success on a couple of occasions at Huddersfield. Town though, have struggled without a specialist wide midfielder and Jacob Butterfield’s forays there have proved unsuccessful. Added to that, despite some encouraging recent performances from Jack Robinson, neither he nor Paul Dixon, has previously offered the necessary overlap in support.
Played throughout the bulk of Powell’s 7 game unbeaten run, this has probably been Town’s most successful system since the ex-Charlton manager came to the club. The freedom afforded to Sean Scannell, and balance in the middle of the park, have been particular highlights. Limitations have often flared up though, when Scannell and Bunn have been double marked. To make this system a success, the support from midfield has to be good, and whilst Butterfield can get forward, he has invariably been the only one to attempt to do so. Added to that, the support from full back has to be good to allow the wide men to come infield to be inside forwards, this hasn’t happened either, and Town have struggled to break teams down, who have sat back and packed defence and midfield. The final problem, has been trying to shoe horn Nahki Wells into a position that he’s not comfortable with.
Town recently have attempted to play somewhat of an asymmetric 352/442 hybrid, of which we saw 12 months ago under Mark Robins. The pluses are that it gets Nahki Wells onto the field with support, and Scannell out in his preferred wide right role, whilst maintaining the balanced central 3 of Hogg, Coady and Butterfield. Robinson has done a decent job of pushing forward, but he isn’t a natural wingback and as a result, the side has lacked balance and struggled in defence, in particular when the pace of Joel Lynch is missing.
In conclusion, Powell has the players available to play a number of differing systems, but perhaps not the players to play any of these systems as effectively as he would wish. Defence, out wide, and the lack of a target man look like the key areas of concern, and the ones that Town will probably look to address in this window. Below I will run down each position and look at how likely it could be that that position will be strengthened in the short, medium and long term.
Alex Smithies has had a good, if a little bit of an inconsistent season up to press, and Chris Powell has gone on record a couple of times this season with his praise of both Smithies and Joe Murphy. After the game at Bolton last month, Powell said “I thought Alex Smithies’ handling was very good and he made an outstanding save in the first-half. I’ve always put on record that I have two good ‘keepers and it’s good that we had a competent ‘keeper to come in today with Joe (Murphy) injured. “
Transfers, any chance?
With Smithies, Joe Murphy and Lloyd Allinson all contracted until summer 2016, coupled with Powell’s comments, it’s unlikely that Town will seek to sign a new keeper, or look to offload any of their stoppers on a permanent basis. Nor, is it likely that on the back of inconsistent form, there will be too much interest in Town’s numbers 1 or 13. Further down the pecking order though, with the u21 league only providing sporadic competition, Town may look to get competitive football for the younger keepers Allinson, Ed Wilczynski and Sam Guthrie, with the latter two in particular, likely to spend large periods of inactivity if they stay stationed in HD1.
One potential incoming wildcard (albeit a long shot), is Exeter keeper Christy Pym (no that’s not an alcoholic summer drink!). Apparently Pym impressed Town scouts when watching Swansea bound Matt Grimes earlier in 2014, and Town have been keeping tabs on the young stopper since. It’s unlikely that Town will make a play in this window though, or maybe that Exeter will entertain one on the back of selling one key player already.
Incoming Forecast: weak to zero
Potential ins: Christy Pym – Exeter.
Outgoing forecast: Good
Allinson – loan
Guthrie – loan
Wilczynski – loan
Since returning to the Championship, Town have had the 3rd worst defensive record in 12/13, the 9th worst in 13/14 and the 2nd worst so far this season. So when Town signed the experienced Mark Hudson at the end of the summer window, there was genuine hope that Town’s long standing defensive problems would be resolved. Hudson, installed as captain by Chris Powell has shown excellent leadership skills, and early doors helped bring out some excellent performances of Joel Lynch, but he himself has probably failed to live up to the initial hype, and has been responsible for a couple of costly individual errors. It would be unfair to just single out Hudson though, as each defender has shown inconsistent form throughout the season. Chris Powell has persistently mentioned his frustrations at Town’s inability to keep clean sheets, and in recent interviews has highlighted defence as a key area of concern.
It’s fair to say that the talented Tommy Smith, has had an up and down season so far. Smith has shown improvement going forward, and has created 4 goals so far this season, but at the back, he has looked fragile on occasion. Smith though to his credit, has kept the more experienced Lee Peltier out of the side, who, in his few appearances, has struggled to recapture the form that we saw when he was buccaneering up and down the Town flank between 2009 and 2011.
Transfers, any chance?
Peltier, signed by ex-boss Mark Robins, has already had the captaincy revoked by Powell, and despite offering cover in several positions, may be surplus to requirements, should the Town boss want to strengthen his options at right back. However, with Peltier having 2.5 years remaining on a good contract, that’s much easier said than done! Some clubs may be interested in taking the former Liverpool man on loan should he be available, and if he was to leave during the window, Town may look to challenge Smith with a loan of their own. Good Premier League youngsters such as Tyias Browning and Hector Bellerin may be available in this scenario.
Could youth plug the gap?
There have been a number of criticisms on Social Media, that despite the ‘pathways philosophy’, academy players aren’t being given a chance in the first team. Billing, Crooks and Holmes have been given fleeting opportunities within the past few seasons, but despite championship winning u21 and 18 teams, we’ve yet to really see an academy player nail down a first team place. Time of course, is definitely on the side of those currently impressing in the ‘juniors’, and those around the academy are currently very excited about the potential of Jacob Hanson, who at 17 is currently excelling in the u21’s. Hanson is being touted for a possible first team call this season, and, if the pathways philosophy is fully in place, Town will be unlikely to make any moves in the right back department of which would stunt the pathway and development of Hanson.
Incoming forecast; slim
Young Premier League loan pending any sales.
Outgoing forecast; slim
If Town aren’t careful, this summer the left back position could easily end up like the striking scenario in summer 2013, where Town entered the Summer Transfer window with no contracted strikers. This summer, Jack Robinson is set to go back to QPR, and there are no signs that the club are looking to extend the contracts of Paul Dixon or Jake Carroll. This would leave the club without a recognised left back, all the way down to perhaps the CEO’s son Harry Clibbens in the u16’s. Currently centre back Will Boyle is filling in at left back for the u21’s, and right back Bradley Carroll is filling in at u18 level.
Transfers, any chance?
Town will need to stick or twist in this department sooner rather than later, and it depends on the budget available as to whether Town will strengthen the left back position this month, or leave it until the summer. QPR, having paid 1m, are unlikely to let Jack Robinson out again next year, nor is it in my opinion likely, that the club will look to keep Jake Carroll due to the 23 year olds lack of progress, nor Paul Dixon, who has failed to command a regular start in his 2.5 years at the club. Both players may also be free to find another club from this month.
Town who will more than likely wait until the summer to strengthen this department, have always found good, available left backs difficult to source, and Town in truth haven’t had a truly good one since Jamie Vincent in 2000, and a club at the bottom end of the FFP food chain, will always be left taking a risk on an unknown, loans, or signing experienced pro’s. Town, always one to develop, have allegedly sent scouts to watch upcoming fullbacks Ben Purrington of Plymouth, and Ryan Haynes of Coventry, whilst if wanting to go down the experienced route, Javier Garrido’s contract is finishing at Norwich, as is that of Maynor Figueroa at Hull, with the latter spending time this season on loan at Town’s relegation rivals Wigan – both though, would probably want high wages. Re potential loanees, young Aussie Brad Smith has impressed at both Liverpool and Swindon, and may be available in the summer.
An interesting one to watch might be Marcus Olsson at Blackburn, who under an FFP embargo have yet to offer their left back a new deal for next season, could Town nip in and make an offer? Unlikely, but it’s a nice thought.
Incoming Forecast; Slim
Ben Purrington – Plymouth
Ryan Haynes – Coventry
Javier Garrido – Norwich
Maynor Figueroa – Hull
Marcus Olsson – Blackburn
Brad Smith - Liverpool
Outgoing Forecast; Fair
Previously, I have touched upon Town’s defensive frailties, but if we go into more detail, they show that since Town have returned to The Championship, we have conceded 180 goals in 116 games, which is an average of 1.55 goals per game, or a goal conceded every 58 minutes.
A goal every 58 minutes doesn’t sound too bad, but when compared to a similar sized club in Watford, whose results are of a standard that we could aspire to, we see that over the last 3 seasons, they have conceded 38 goals less, at an average of 1.22 per game, or a goal conceded every 73 minutes. Those extra 15 minutes without conceding are part of the reason (not the only one) as to why Watford are hitting the top 6, and Town the bottom 6.
Individual errors have blighted Town’s back 4, and whilst accepting that this is part and parcel of the makeup of your average Championship defender, this is something that Town need to improve and work upon. A couple of months ago, it looked like the combination of Hudson and Lynch may prove to be a good one, and Town remained unbeaten for 7 games as Hudson helped organise the usually slacker Lynch, and Lynch’s better technical ability and pace, helped mask Hudson’s inefficiency in those departments.
Transfers, any chance?
One glaring omission from the team sheet, and one that has reduced Captain Slapper to tears, has been that of Anthony Gerrard. When Powell first arrived, there were murmurs that he was looking to weed out the ‘bad apples’, which led many to assume that Gerrard was not being picked due to a perceived attitude problem, and Powell’s persistence with Murray Wallace over Gerrard, has also poured fuel onto those flames. Gerrard has had the odd moan on Twitter, nothing major – just a player who wants to play football, and it seems like he may be on his way this month, whether that be on loan, or on a permanent basis with his contract up this summer. Sheffield United have been rumoured suitors.
If Gerrard departs, Town will need to replace him. What tricks Powell, Wilson and co have up their sleeves remains to be seen, but if no suitable permanent transfer is available, then Town may look to persist with Wallace and loan a defender until the summer. Many Town fans, still smarting from Sean Morrison getting away, will argue that Town should look to be signing a quality player, and that Hudson or Lynch should become a bit part. As we saw with Morrison though, quality Championship defenders are hard to find, but let’s take a look at who may be on the cards…
Prior to a good game in the FA Cup against Arsenal, Harry Maguire would have been a decent shout for a potential loan. On the Huddersfield radar since Lee Clark was at the club due to a family tie to Terry McDermott, Maguire is a strong presence who would do well alongside either Lynch or Hudson. With Hull out of the FA Cup and Europe, and fighting to stay in the Premier League, Steve Bruce may opt for experience, which could free up Maguire for a loan. Other potential loanee’s are Chelsea’s Nathan Ake, who is only getting first team football in the League Cup at present. Other young defenders getting minimal game time with possible availability are Lloyd Jones from Liverpool and Tom Thorpe of Man Utd.
Should Town start to feel a little bit affluent in this area, there are other defenders who’re on the fringes of their respective first teams who may also have some availability. Kyle Bartley has found his minutes limited at Swansea, but the 23 year old Lancastrian is quite highly thought of in South Wales. Ben Turner of Cardiff was a key component of their Championship winning side of 2 years ago, but now finds himself struggling to get back in following some big name signings and an injury. Finally Jake Buxton of Derby has recently shown a little frustration at playing a bit part role at Derby, and if he is not seen as part of The Rams long term strategy, then he would be an ideal partner in the short, medium and long term for Joel Lynch.
The above named centre backs are all ambitious long shots, but this is the quality of player that Town fans have been hoping to see in the centre of defence since Sean Morrison departed in the summer of 2012.
Could youth plug the gap?
It’s easy to forget that Murray Wallace is only a bairn in the world of the centre back, and Town do have others performing well in the u21’s. However, the centre of defence is a much disciplined role, and with Town’s Championship survival chances in the balance, throwing in an 18 year old centre back into an already slipshod back 4 may not be the wisest idea. Currently three centre backs are impressing, and they are Joe Wilkinson, Will Boyle and Joe Wright. Wright is a year further down the line than Wilkinson and Boyle, who performed excellently in last season’s u18’s as a defensive duo, and may contest the position first, but in my opinion, all three are a little while off of the first XI for now.
Incoming Forecast; Fair
Kyle Bartley - Swansea
Ben Turner - Cardiff
Jake Buxton – Derby
Harry Maguire – Hull
Nathan Ake – Chelsea
Lloyd Jones – Liverpool
Tom Thorpe – Man Utd
Outgoing Forecast; Good
Chris Powell has made numerous references to the “blend” in midfield between Jonathan Hogg, Conor Coady and Jacob Butterfield, and how pleased and impressed he is in this area. In fact, the majority of movement in this department may be out of the club rather than in. However, there was one comment prior to the Brentford game which raised an eyebrow:
“I think its concentration levels - trying to perform at a good, consistent level for longer periods during games. Of course you accept that your opposition will put you under pressure and have moments in the 90 minutes, but that’s where you have to stay in the game. You have to manage those moments individually and collectively.”
Powell’s 2nd move in the loan window was to bring in Diego Poyet to challenge his current trio, and Powell perhaps sees a lack of genuine competition in this area.
Transfers, any chance?
It seems fairly obvious that there will be outgoing movement in this area, if not now, then definitely in the summer. Two young players who may find their days numbered at the club are Jordan Sinnott and Matt Crooks. Crooks who not so long ago was impressing in Town’s u21’s, is currently out on loan at Accrington Stanley. Whether this is for experience or to put him in the shop window, would be to only speculate. Crooks has been tried now at centre back, centre mid, no10 and up front, without really nailing down a position of his own. If Crooks fails to impress at Stanley, then the 21 year old may be free to leave come the summer.
Also about to turn 21 is Jordan Sinnott. Possessing good technical ability, Sinnott is a player that I’ve liked since he was an u16, but there were questions asked when he was converted to a right back from his favoured central midfield role in the u21’s, back in early 2013. Having being surpassed by the likes of Sondre Tronstad, Phillip Billing, Ben Holmes and others, Sinnott was shoe horned into a position that he didn’t look 100% comfortable with, and this was compounded with a poor showing in last season’s cup game at home to Charlton. It seems that Sinnott may be on borrowed time, which would be a shame for someone who looked genuinely talented and close to the first team 2 years ago.
Another player who promised to deliver much, but aside from a good spell at the end of the 12/13 season has struggled for consistency, is Oscar Gobern. At times possessing a lovely touch and range of passing, Gobern’s glass ankles and injury hoodoo, has meant that the man signed from Southampton has rarely had a good run in the starting XI to cement a place. A loan to Chesterfield was cut short by more injuries in November, and with his contract up this summer, Gobern is running out of time in which to prove his worth at this level, with the talented Dane, Phillip Billing pushing on to the first team, Oscar may have to make way.
After bemoaning a lack of no10’s, Mark Robins seemed to have finally found one when Raddy Majewski arrived from Nottingham Forest. Majewski though, seems to have found himself way out of favour with a manager who tends to prefer a more robust kind of player. Majewski hasn’t started a game since August, and rumours are abound that Town will be happy for someone else to take up the remains of the loan agreement, which is due to run until the end of the season. The u21 equivalent of a no10 in Duane Holmes, may also be available in this window but as a loan. Holmes who has had two unsuccessful loans in his short career so far, will need to make it 3rd time lucky if he’s going to make an impression on the first team anytime soon.
Incoming wise, there may be a surprise or two. As mentioned above, Powell was quick to bring Diego Poyet to the club, (who may again come back for the season, if West Ham allow him back out on loan) and may look to add competition and cover to a midfield trio that will probably tire towards the end of the season. Rumours that Town are interested in Nicky Law have been scotched (badum tsh) by The Examiner, but Town scouts have taken in games north of the border, and sources up there suggest Town may be interested in St Mirren midfielder Kenny McLean. The move could make sense, as Town currently have little playmaking backup or competition for Jacob Butterfield, with McLean said to be in the same mould.
Powell may also make a move for a specialist wide midfielder, having previously failed with Jacob Butterfield in the role. Johnnie Jackson has been mooted as a potential signing, but this has since been denied by the Town boss. One player currently interesting the Town boss however, is Jonny Williams from Crystal Palace. The welsh midfielder who can play wide or central, has just finished a loan at Ipswich Town, and after recovering from a groin injury, may be available to take until the summer. Burnley midfielder Ross Wallace has been mentioned in some quarters, but whilst involved with the Burnley side, this may be a long shot. The final possibility is that of Rotherham midfielder Ben Pringle. Town were interested in the midfielder over the summer, and should he be available, would fit into the mould of midfielder that Powell likes out wide.
Could youth plug the gap?
Town are somewhat blessed with an abundance of young midfielders in their u21 and 18 squad, and in my opinion, yes they should be used further up the pecking order to supplement the likes of Hogg, Butterfield and Coady. Phillip Billing has shown glimpses of real quality in the youth set up, and surely an opportunity can’t be too far away for the young Dane? Sondre Tronstad is also another midfielder who is doing well in the u21’s and these two players look like natural competition for Hogg and Coady in particular. The juniors have also churned out a number of wide midfielders over the past few years and the likes of Ben Holmes, Jack Boyle and Regan Booty, could and should be knocking on the door in the not too distant future.
Kenny McLean – St Mirren
Jonny Williams – Crystal Palace
Nicky Law - Rangers
Johnnie Jackson – Charlton Athletic
Diego Poyet – West Ham
Ross Wallace - Burnley
Ben Pringle - Rotherham
Duane Holmes – loan
The flanks, have probably been Town’s greatest strength so far this season through the excellent form of both Sean Scannell and Harry Bunn. Rewind 6 months, and most Town fans would have probably put Scannell and Bunn on the scrap heap, with Scannell’s turnaround been particularly pleasing. Town are reasonably well stocked out wide with wide men, who’re able to play as wingers, inside forwards and in Adam Hammill’s case wingback, as part of a number of systems, but the trick may be keeping the majority of them happy. Joe Lolley has struggled with injury over the last 12 months, but has looked very promising, he’s unlikely to be allowed out on loan, but is pushing for a first team start. So too, is Adam Hammill who has spent the majority of this season out with a number of niggles and injuries
Transfers, any chance?
Much will depend on any outgoings, and there have been little rumours that Adam Hammill may be on his way in this window. If as suggested in some quarters that Hammill is disruptive to the harmony of the squad, then he may be the main 'out' in this area (EDIT; Hammill has now left for Rotherham on loan). Long term target Gary Mackay-Steven may be available as a replacement, as he now has 6 months left on his contract at Dundee Utd, and you would expect, given the previous form of their chairman, that he will be looking to offload the winger should he not be willing to sign a new deal.
Since the early days of his management, Chris Powell has always liked to play with a target man. For a couple of years it was Yann Kermorgant who was the focal point of Charlton’s attack, and Powell’s style has always been to knock a number of early balls forward to a robust striker who could hold and link play. Indeed, Powell’s first order of business at Huddersfield was to bring in Grant Holt, who despite only scoring twice in 15 games, played a key role in Powell’s selection and setup. With that in mind, it leads to reason that Huddersfield’s number 1 target this transfer window, is likely to be a strong, target man style centre forward.
In truth, the days of the target man are diminishing, with football coaches now mostly leaning towards strikers with speed and technical ability, which means that the search for a forward could be quite arduous, as any big forwards with technical ability usually go for big money to bigger clubs. There are players out there though, and it’s the job of Ross Wilson and staff to identify them.
Transfers, any chance?
Whether you’re a Town fan who’s disappointed about it or not, Grant Holt isn’t coming back to The John Smith’s Stadium anytime soon, and Powell has intimated that business operandi #1, is replacing the 6ft3” Cumbrian.
Incoming or not, there will be outgoings in the forward department either this month, or in the summer. Town appear to have been trying to offload Martin Paterson now for almost 12 months, but his lack of fitness, has so far cut short his loans to Bristol City last season, and Fleetwood this. The Northern Irishman is similar in ways to Nahki Wells, in that he likes to play off of the shoulder, and Wells’ arrival 12 months ago signalled the end for Pato. Similarly, Jon Stead seem to have been available for the same period, and after a couple of unconvincing loans last season, Stead has finally settled and produced some good form at Bradford City. City Manager Phil Parkinson has admitted that he would like to sign Stead, and the deal should be completed shortly (EDIT; Stead has now signed for Bradford City until the end of the season).
Another man who found himself up front this time last year is Danny Ward. Ward has been a frustrating figure for the majority of his now near 4 years at the club, promising much initially, but only delivering sporadically. If there is interest, then Town will listen to it, as Ward, an apparent healthy earner, has only started 4 games this season, and has so far failed to impress, either up front like last season, or out wide. Blackpool were rumoured suitors of Ward, and with ex Town boss Lee Clark now in charge, a reunion could make sense. The only issue from Town’s perspective, would be whether to allow Ward to go to a possible relegation rival, although there are those who would consider Blackpool to have gone already (EDIT; Ward has now signed for Rotherham).
Burnley have been interested observer’s at the last few home games, and rumours are circling that Town could be about to receive enquiries for either James Vaughan or Nahki Wells. Personally I wouldn’t worry, as Dean Hoyle has always said that he won’t sell a key player in January, and I expect him to be true to his word again this year.
The final striker who may find himself looking towards the exit is u21 striker Daniel Carr. Carr in truth looks no closer to the first team now than what he did when he signed 2 years ago. Whether this is down to the player or club is open to debate, but Carr has found himself pushed out of his central role in the u21’s, and is now being deployed wide, if indeed he gets picked at all. Carr has had two short and average loan spells in the last 12 months, and with his contract and eligibility to be an u21 player up in 6 months, Town may push the release button, or offer him one final chance to prove himself out on loan.
Could youth plug the gap?
Potentially yes. Whilst Liam Coogans and Ronan Coughlan are promising strikers in their own right, they’re not of the physicality and style required to plug the gap left by Holt. Flo Bojaj plays well with his back to goal, but at 5ft9/10 isn’t really the type you can put high balls up to, so the u21 striker may have to wait for a turn. The most likely in the medium to long term is Rekeil Pyke. Youth may count against the bulldozing centre forward, as I’m not sure if he’s even turned 17 yet, but Pyke is currently performing very well within the 18’s and 21’s and I would expect to see Rizzle Kick lookalike make his debut within the next 12 months at some level.
Who will come in?
There have been quite a few names bandied about, and as this appears to be the prime area of concern, we’ll take a look through some of them and judge each on their merits.
ADO Den Haag duo Kramer / Van Duinen
It was revealed in the summer of 2013 that Town have in the past, through Mark Robins and Ross Wilson, spent time watching ADO Den Haag in Holland. In accordance with that, rumours circulated that Town were interested in 6ft4 Mike Van Duinen who can operate down the left and centre of attack. Also in attack is 6ft5” target man Michiel Kramer who has been in excellent form this season with 11 goals. With both players’ contracts out next season, could Town have kept a long term interest in either? The chances of Town dipping into the foreign market are slim, but perhaps Van Duinen could be one to remember over the next 12 months.
Luciano Becchio – Norwich City.
Recovering from a broken ankle, Becchio seems to be interesting his old club Leeds Utd who are on the look-out for Championship experience, if Leeds (despite a transfer embargo) make a move, then that should put pay to a couple of murmurs on Social Media.
Nadir Ciftci – Dundee Utd
Linked in local and national media, Dundee Utd chairman Stephen Thompson did what he does, and slapped a 3m price tag on the 22 year old Turk. That’ll be that, then!
Carlton Cole - West Ham
This link appeared to appear via Twitter, and although Cole isn’t get a lot of game time at West Ham, I can’t see West Ham being quite ready to lose the experienced front man when they’re quite well poised in the league, and Andy Carroll isn’t quite 100% reliable with injury yet. Although if they do, expect bigger and more affluent clubs to throw their hat in the ring.
Eoin Doyle – Chesterfield
Forecast; Slim to Fair.
Doyle’s rise to prominence is almost one of overnight success. Never a hugely prolific scorer earlier in his career, Doyle has found the form of his life at 26, and Chesterfield are quite rightly wanting a sizeable sum of around 1.5m for him, on the back of 22 goals in 27 games this season. Personally I can’t see Town breaking their transfer record twice in 12 months, although Doyle has proved his capability at playing the lone front role, he isn’t what you would call a target man, and Town are more likely to pass on him, and concentrate on getting support to get the goals out of Wells and/or Vaughan.
Jim Hanson – Bradford City
No, no, not the guy who created Kermit the Frog, but the other one that heads up the other bunch of Muppets down the road. For Hanson, a self-confessed Town fan, the move would represent a full circle, after he was released from Town’s academy aged 15. Big, burly, but lacking pace, Hanson is in the right mould that Powell will be looking for, but Town fans will ask if he is of the right quality, and could he cut it at Championship level? Further to that, could Bradford City stomach losing their best player for the 2nd year running to a local rival? To my knowledge, Town ARE interested in Hanson, so this rumour could have the legs to run through January.
Sam Gallagher – Southampton
Young centre forward Gallagher has just returned from injury, and with Southampton having a number of options up top, may be happy for the promising academy graduate to go out on loan. At 6ft4”, Gallagher has the presence about him, but at 19 years of age, lacks experience. This one has a fair chance, but I can’t see it being at the top of the list.
Danny Graham – Sunderland
Having just returned from a loan spell at Wolves, and being vastly out of favour at Sunderland, it stands to reason that Danny Graham will be available in this window also. A strong leader of the line, Graham could provide a good foil for Wells or Vaughan and a loan move may not be out of the question.
Marvin Sordell - Burnley
Ok the forecast is a play on his name, but Powell is keen on the Burnley man. Powell recently went to check on the Burnley forward when The Clarets played Spurs in the cup. Sordell only got just over 10 mins, and Town's scouting system may take another look prior to a possible move. Sordell is a previous Powell signing at Charlton, and should he be available, I could see him in a blue n white shirt before February arrives.
Glenn Murray – Crystal Palace
Having apparently returned to Palace citing that he wants to force his way back into the side, Palace boss Alan Pardew is set to give the ex-Brighton man a chance to prove himself. With Reading, Brighton and a host of others keenly looking on, I can’t see the Twitter rumours of Murray to Town having much substance.
Nick Powell – Man Utd
Whilst not your traditional target man, Powell has been known to play a central fulcrum role very well at Wigan, and whilst not offering a physical outlet, Powell could possibly offer a technical one who will move into space and hold the ball in clever areas. This is probably not what Town manager Chris Powell would want though, and a few twitter whispers may be wide of the mark, especially as Bolton and others jostle for prime position.
Alex Revell – Rotherham
Revell fits the mould of what Powell is looking for, and Town were first linked by way of mention, from Oggy on Radio Leeds around xmas. The striker appears available, but it looks like Cardiff City have stolen the march, and are expected to announce the signing within days.
Michael Smith – Swindon Town
Linked in the Huddersfield Examiner, Michael Smith makes sense. The tall striker has worked with Chris Powell before at Charlton, and despite not fulfilling his potential at The Valley, has gone to Swindon and excelled. Averaging a goal every 2 games this season, the 6ft4” striker is not as powerful as a Holt, Revell or Graham, but does offer quick feet and a good first touch to compliment his size. Despite some good signs, Swindon would be mad to sell Smith with the position that they are in currently, and unless Town offer ‘silly money’, I can’t see this rumour going anywhere.
Matt Smith – Fulham
Forecast; Fair to Middling
Smith has had a bizarre season, firstly starting at Leeds, the giant ‘forrad’ was signed by Fulham and rarely played. When Kit Symons took over, he seemed to take an immediate dislike to Smith, and after not selecting him, moved him out on loan to Bristol City. Smith has lit up Ashton Gate, scoring 8 goals in his last 4 games just before he is set to move back to the capital. Upon his return, Town and Powell could do a lot worse than enquire about the former Oldham man.
Lars Veldwijk – Nottingham Forest
Forecast; Fair to Middling
Forest boss Stuart Pearce, doesn’t seem overly keen on the 6ft5” Forest forward, and twitter rumours have linked him with a possible loan move to Huddersfield. Physically Veldwijk seems to tick the right boxes, and perhaps a steady run of games is what the Dutchman needs in order to find his feet in English football. This one may have some legs to it.
Chris Wood – Leicester City
Forecast – zero
Town fans have tried to link HTFC to Wood over the past few windows, despite Dean Hoyle previously saying that Wood’s wages were sky high and way out of our range. His wages if anything will have slightly increased since those comments, and with Wood on the fringes of the Leicester side, I think we can forget this one before it even starts.
By The Red Terrier