Tuesday, 20 January 2009
Don't get caught, get Cort
There are two weeks of the transfer window left and still there has been no speculation linking Hull City with the central defender we so desperately need.
This is not to say Phil Brown isn't trying to acquire one, of course - sometimes the best deals are the ones which escape the antennae of hovering journalists. But the news on this front is alarmingly quiet.
The signings made so far - Kevin Kilbane and Manucho - have been eminently sensible. The gangly yet burly Manucho gives us another option up front which Caleb Folan seems just a little short of supplying, and with the unsteady Marlon King now beginning to mouth his way out of contention, a further target man to give Daniel Cousin some assistance is most worthwhile. Kilbane's excellent debut in the game against Arsenal quickly showcased the shrewdness of his purchase - experience, versatility and a much-needed extra left-footed choice for the midfield while Peter Halmosi's appetite for the biggest division continues to wane.
We've been linked with an attacking midfielder in Luis Boa Morte, and a full back in Steve Finnan, and both have fallen through. We can't fetch Paul McShane back from Sunderland unless we buy him, as Manucho has taken the final loanee slot which McShane had vacated, and the very fact that Sunderland recalled him and immediately stuck him in the team suggests they actually need him to play. There's an upcoming French striker called Danny N'Guessan - currently of Lincoln City, formerly of Glasgow Rangers - who we are being linked with.
This is all very well, but against Arsenal we had just one selectable specialist centre back. Gratifyingly, that was Michael Turner, the best of the bunch, but the others were either injured (Anthony Gardner), suspended (Kamil Zayatte) or simply off the radar for reasons of quality (Wayne Brown). Gardner's recovery keeps being put back an extra week (we haven't seen him since September, and he did arrive from Spurs with this sicknote reputation) while Zayatte, a revelation since his arrival, has lobbed in some unnecessary drama with an alleged claim that he wants more money from the club or he won't agree to a permanent signing, making his necessary return for the FA Cup tie against Millwall this weekend slightly tarnished. Wayne Brown is a total non-starter, and given that this heroic defender from last year's promotion season was overlooked as Zayatte's replacement in favour of Sam Ricketts - a full back who has never played in the centre - means that his namesake manager believes this too.
As it picked at the carcass of Saturday's defeat, the local BBC speculated - briefly - that Leon Cort could be a possible target. Given that he has Premier League experience with Stoke City, is currently not a stone-set choice for the Potters and, most appealingly, is a former Tigers hero who adored playing for us (something the gaffer isn't afraid of, given his decision to bring back both Dean Windass and Craig Fagan), then his recruitment surely represents a smart bit of business. If we don't start chasing a reasonably qualified and competent central defender soon, then we could be relying on Gardner staying fit or Zayatte staying mature for the rest of this campaign, and I wouldn't wish to place a wager on either.
Posted by Boyhood Dreams