Yorkshire football clubs are playing waiting game

Nikica Jelavic strikes for the Tigers.

Nikica Jelavic strikes for the Tigers.

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WHEN it comes to marquee signings this summer, there has not been too much stardust sprinkled around the Yorkshire footballing landscape.

Granted, supporters of Doncaster Rovers are not complaining with many still basking in the glow of signing Swindon Town marksman Andy Williams, and the appetite of Leeds United fans has also been sated a little by this week’s capture of a crowd favourite Sol Bamba.

But scour across the rest of the Broad Acres and much of the activity has been piecemeal and with the end of June nigh, it is correct in assuming that it has not been a flaming-hot month in regards to transfer business.

Comparatively speaking, it was rather more frenetic this time last year. Up to the end of June, 2014, around 30 close-season signings had been announced and/or completed.

A colossal 11 deals, including nine last June alone, had been announced by Rotherham United with the likes of Jordan Bowery, Kirk Broadfoot, Paul Green and Frazer Richardson arriving in a whirlwind start to the close season for the Millers.

This time around, it has been a bit more circumspect at the AESSEAL New York Stadium, with just three new recruits arriving in defenders Aidan White, Joe Mattock and Lewis Buxton, released at the end of last season by Yorkshire neighbours Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday .

The number of deals across Yorkshire clubs is roughly half of the 2014 figure at the same juncture last year, with plenty of pressing business transactions still to take place across a swathe of the White Rose.

A fair few, including Hull City, Bradford City and Sheffield United have yet to get out of the starting blocks.

For the former, this current close-season is the polar opposite to 12 months ago when June, 2014 saw the Tigers fork out a cool £15m as part of an overall summer spending package of over £40m to land Jake Livermore and Robert Snodgrass.

Both signings proved fateful for different reasons and after splashing the cash a year ago, the watchword is now frugality as the club comes to terms with the financial cost of relegation.

The overwhelming close-season priority for Hull is getting a number of big-earners off their books, several of whom are likely to have made it plainly clear that the Championship holds about as much allure as a stinking hangover involving large quantities of whisky and wine.

The likes of Nikica Jelavic, Abel Hernandez and Dame N’Doye were not thinking about visits to the stadium:mk when they scanned the Hull brochure before signing – preferring sunnier climbs in every sense.

Hull’s story will largely be who they manage to retain out of the leading players that they actually want to keep.

Just like the last time they got relegated from the top-flight in 2010, inward deals are probably not likely until July is comfortably underway – possibly even early August.

With players now coming off contract, the likelihood is that transfer activity across Yorkshire will pick up as players return to pre-season while others without contracts will start to get a little twitchy along with their representatives as the clock starts ticking to the start of the season.

For Bradford City, it is a sense of playing catch-up with transfer activity on hold during the first part of the close season due to Gianni Paladini holding talks to take over and granted an exclusivity period – which ended with the club in the same hands.

Patience has been the order of the day for Phil Parkinson, busy in the first part of the close season in 2014 when the club announced deals to sign the likes of Billy Clarke, Alan Sheehan, Gary Liddle and Billy Knott.

One club well versed on takeover sagas impacting on close-season recruit over the past few years have been Doncaster.

Twelve months ago, One Direction singer Louis Tomlinson’s deal to take over along with former chairman John Ryan fell by the wayside as did Irish-led consortium Sequentia Capital’s abortive attempts a year earlier.

Both ensured that Paul Dickov had to scramble around for players somewhat at the back end of the summer, but with some stability returning to Rovers, it looks like being a rather more conventional summer.

For that, Rovers supporters will probably be grateful.

Sheffield Wednesday have been slow-starters for the past two summers, with takeover uncertainty 12 months ago seeing deals take a fair amount of time to get over the line. Thursday’s signing of Dutch defender Darryl Lachman was, however, a welcome development.

But it is inescapable to avoid the impression that a fair amount of work remains in the in-tray.

Across the city, Blades manager Nigel Adkins’s mantra, often observed by new managers in town, is to assess the squad at his disposal before making significant moves in the market.

His predecessor was certainly active in the first half of pre-season last year with Jamal Campbell-Ryce, Marc McNulty, Chris Basham, Andy Butler, James Wallace and Ben Davies recruited by Nigel Clough.

You sense some choice additions will arrive at the Lane, with the name of Billy Sharp – and a nostalgic return home – refusing to go away.

Huddersfield Town’s responsible model of recruitment and spending within FFP rules is well established with Dean Whitehead becoming the club’s first-close season addition this week.

Town will not be spending a fortune and neither will Leeds, whose head coach Uwe Rosler spoke this week of ‘not having the biggest budget’ in the Championship.

It is the same story across most of the Yorkshire clubs, with the emphasis being on targeted shrewd recruitment rather than lavish ‘shop window’ signings – with most prepared to be patient and wait for what they want.

Potential Leeds United target, Norwich City midfielder Jonny Howson. PIC: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

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