THE new year is here and the transfer window has now opened – and our fans have instantly become excited about the prospect of bringing in a number of signings.
Let’s hope Neil Warnock can get that little bit of extra quality he needs to enable us to go forward.
He has the experience and know-how and I am sure if any players and agents sit down with Neil and speak to him, he will impress them with his passion and ability to sell the club. He’s an impressive person who speaks well and has those qualities which make players want to play for him.
But you have to say that getting the right sort of players in during the January window isn’t easy.
There are so few quality players out there and so many clubs are trying to get those players, that people have to realise it is not just a case of ringing someone up and saying: ‘We want him and we want him’ and that is it.
Already, Alan Tate has re-signed and hopefully, we will get Michael Tonge back as he made a good impact here. He has a bit of quality and Premier League experience and he impressed me during his loan period with us. Lads like him and Tate are good ones to have around.
The new owners will, hopefully, settle in this month and be given a bit of time to get their feet under the table and get things going the way they want to. If we do and get a few players in, I am sure we will be okay.
But for me, the January window is a bit of a fallacy as a lot of it is about players who are out of contract at the end of the season who clubs may let go. Don’t forget, many of these players do not want to commit themselves as, at the end of the season, in three or four months’ time, they become free agents and potentially get all the money.
In the main, you get players who may want to play for a club for a short while before committing themselves.
It can be a difficult time for managers to work in this market; it’s not like the sales in town where you can go and buy anything in the shop! A low percentage of quality players are available and so many managers are after the same thing.
You will not get many genuine transfers where clubs sell players for money. It will mainly be loan signings for the rest of the season as that’s the way players want it.
Looking at our recent run of games, it has been a hard period and we have had a few injuries and a few were affected by a virus ahead of the Bolton Wanderers game. Things have been difficult.
But when you look back over our last nine games, we have a 75 per cent winning record, which represents promotion form – no question about that.
I am the first to admit that our performance at Hull was not up to the standard that we are used to. But when you look over the general period, we have won six games out of nine in the Championship, which, results-wise, is as good as anything in the league and very good form.
In football, you get good days and bad ones. Sometimes, you play well and lose and on others, you play well and win and on others, you have a real off-day, which happened at Hull City for us.
It happens to every club once in a while, but it was particularly disappointing as so many of our fans turned up and made the trip across the M62 to the KC Stadium and it was a Yorkshire derby. Thankfully, we got back on the winning track against Bolton.
Let’s be fair, the team were under pressure going into the game after the back-to-back defeats at Hull and Nottingham Forest. But they came up with a win, which is all that matters. That was the overwhelming priority for me.
While Luciano Becchio converted the penalty well, let’s not forget Ross McCormack won it and that will boost his confidence and he has certainly been a bit of a miss for us this time after starting the season well.
He looked like he was really enjoying his football at the beginning of the season, but then got an injury – which initially looked a soft one – against Cardiff but it took him quite a while to get over it. Hopefully, he can pick things up now and we can go forward now.
Overall, the performances have not been great lately. You always want the team to play well and the fans are so committed here.
Like many, I was disappointed after Hull. But when I sat down after the Bolton game on Tuesday night, I thought: ‘Crikey, we have won six out of nine and that’s good form.’ You have got to look at the overall picture; we have had a busy schedule and the players are only human beings and we have come through things with a good points haul.
This was always going to be a difficult period for the club. There has been a lot happening at the club with the change of ownership and hopefully things can settle down now in the second half of the season.
This league is so close and there are no easy games at all. Every game is a battle and sides are either battling to get into the top six or battling to stay out of the bottom three.
The Championship is the hardest league of all, you talk to people involved with Premier League clubs and they all say the same thing. Let’s be fair, we have come a long way already this season in a short period of time and, hopefully, things are stabilising now with the new owners coming in, which will obviously help. Things should settle down now.
I fully understand the fans’ impatience for success. Because everyone knows we are a big club and knows of our potential.
Not many clubs have that degree of potential.
But people have to understand success in the modern footballing world can take a bit of time, although in football, patience can be a precious commodity.
Overall, looking at things, we are now two points off the play-offs and if someone had said we could be in this position in January with the chance to improve the squad a little, I think most would have taken that.
With a bit of luck, we can improve the squad a little. I do still believe we are on course to make the play-offs.
Neil has brought in a lot of new players since arriving and there has been mass change this season. I think everyone just thinks now we just need to add that bit of extra quality. We have a great bunch of lads who work hard and give their all; there’s no problems on that score. But a bit more quality would help.
We are in eighth place now and two points off the play-offs when not so long ago, we were 16th or 17th.
After a hectic period, we more or less go back now to playing games week to week, for the most part and that will help.
We have plenty to look forward to.