Writer: J P Fear
Date:Tuesday January 9 2007
Martin O'Neill says the search is on but he might have to bring in more loan signings until the summer.
On the possibility of more loans, with Shaun Wright-Phillips being the latest linked to a loan until the end of the season, O'Neill said:
'I couldn't rule that out and it would be foolish of me to do so. I've got some great plans but those plans could evaporate by January 20 or 21! If we could bring in four or five of the Petrov quality - if that was possible then that's what we'd aim for. Whether we're capable of doing that or whether we could, that would be spending a lot. But we'll see where we are.'
'I've worked this out scientifically. There's two types of thinking: there's long term thinking at the club where we're looking for players to take the club further over three, four or five years. That's the first thing I'm looking to do. Secondly, let's assume we've been unable to get those players in, in January, then we still want to bolster the squad. You do all the preparation work and then try to see where people are. Sometimes people hold out or don't want to sell their best players, so this won't be easy.'
'But all we do know is that even on a short term basis, we need to strengthen the squad between now and the end of the season. If top quality players aren't available until the summer then so be it. The summer is not the first priority but knowing every other club in Europe is also trying to do the same thing, you're fighting a battle all the time. So as the month progresses, that will be an interesting scenario.'
He did add on the official site: 'There are other irons in the fire. We have a number of ongoing things at the moment. Whether or not they come to fruition remains to be seen. I think Aston Villa fans will want to see the people when they've arrived, not hear me talking about them. But we'll work around the clock because we know we can't do anything after the end of this month.'
'I'm not using this as an excuse, it's the way things happen, but we've been a wee bit thin on the ground and we've had quite a few injuries to contend with. At most stages in the season, we've had someone out. So the situation is this: Come February 1 you've no other opportunities to do anything about injuries until the end of the season. I knew that come September 1, way back at the start of the season, that I faced the same situation.'
In other words, watch this space, we might have smiles on our faces, we might end up frustrated and looking forward to the summer!
Date:Tuesday January 9 2007
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