Writer: Mike Field
Date:Tuesday September 2 2008
Martin O'Neill has confirmed that as late night attempts to bolster attack failed, youngster Nathan Delfouneso will become a fixture in the squad to one degree or another.
I can hear the mix of cheers and boos already.
Speaking generally about the transfer window on the official site, O'Neill is pleased with the signings he has made this window and believes he now has a 'talented group or players' at his disposal as we head further into the latest Premiership campaign.
'We didn't renew Thomas Sorensen's contract, Scott Carson returned to Liverpool and I felt we needed a goalkeeper of great experience.
'We got that in Brad Friedel but not only is he experienced, he is also a top class player.
'We have also taken on young Brad Guzan, who I think will develop into a quality 'keeper.
'We played all of last season with no recognised right-back so it was obviously an area we had to look at.
'On the left, we had no cover for Freddy and then Freddy picked up a serious injury against Odense so that forced us to bolster there.
'For all of Martin Laursen's fantastic performances and his superb attitude, he might not play every game so we needed players to fill in there too.
'Saying that, let me make it clear, it's not just about players filling in. It's about players coming in, taking their opportunity and staying in the side. It's about building a squad.
'We now have a number of central midfielders too but that's not a problem because everyone in the squad will be used.'
O'Neill obviously wanted to shore up attack, he knew that, he knew we knew that and surprisingly we knew he knew we knew that. Are you still following?
There were a number of long and short term links mentioned over the last few weeks. Kevin Doyle, Emule Heskey, Henrik Larsson, Michael Owen was my favourite if the truth be told. That said under O'Neill again I wouldn't have put money on Heskey not getting back to his best either but I digress.
At 12am nothing had happened but O'Neill stresses it wasn't for lack of trying. I know some fans were waiting for that but there isn't a conspiracy everywhere.
'It was quiet on deadline night. In an ideal world, it would have been great to sign another forward with the amount of games we have to play, but it's easier said than done.
'But have an up-and-coming striker in Nathan Delfouneso who will play some games for us and we've got Gabby, John and Marlon.'
To be honest we are still growing, we have a good chance this season already with our additions if they can continue to gel and with other clubs falling away slightly. I know attack is a problem area, we lack that player that can come off the bench regularly and change a game - Harewood is hit and miss - but I'm looking forward to seeing more of Delfouneso. In his brief appearances so far he's looked a quick, talented, skillful livewire. Some of his touches against FH for example indicated the presence of a brain. He also didn't seem to be in awe of the occassions.
The lad doesn't need any added pressure and we need to remember to keep off his back, accept his mistakes and in many ways give him a bit more breathing space than we normally give players.
But if he can find his feet and make the step up competatively, I'm probably not alone in thinking he could be the signing of the season.
Luke had the finishing and eye for goal, Gabby had the pace.....could Delboy have both?
Date:Tuesday September 2 2008
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