We are rapidly approaching the end of January, our one chance to improve the squad before the business end of the season. Whilst Premiership clubs spend large on players, half of whom will flop; even League 1 is a busy marketplace. Bolton Wanderers on the other hand have only seen one change from the squad that we had in December, Sammy Ameobi returning to Newcastle United.
I don't for one second believe this is through lack of trying or ambition however. Wanderers' hands are tied by the everlasting transfer embargo that limits us to one in one out. The club have reportedly been having talks with the football league to find extra space due to Darren Pratley's season ending injury but so far have not heard anything positive.
There are hopes that Ameobi will be returning to the Macron with Newcastle bringing in one time Wanderers trialist, Modou Barrow knocking Ameobi down in the pecking order. If space can be found there is also reports from sources such as the Bolton News that we could sign Adam Le Fondre on loan if we wanted to/could. Even if we just signed Ameobi on loan again, as we have James Henry, our squad will be exactly the same as it was in December and that's no bad thing. That squad is good enough to win the league. However to get Ameobi and Le Fondre? It's hardly a raft of players but there are two names to put the fear in to every League 1 keeper and embiggen the spirit of every Wanderers fan. To get those two and keep the likes of Vela is nothing short of a perfect window. Alas nothing has yet happened and the 31st is rapidly approaching.
Then we look to our rivals. Sheffield United for example have signed 4 players: Goal-scoring winger Jay O'Shea, Manchester United U21 right back Joe Riley (not that one), Burnley left back Daniel Lafferty and MK Dons midfielder Samir Carruthers. This is an impressive spree and offers competition to an already decent squad.
Scunthorpe on the other hand have signed 4 players as well: Former Wanderers striker Craig Davies, defender-cum-midfielder Matt Crooks from Rangers, England youth international Harry Toffolo and Newcastle striker Ivan Toney. This hall brings in more fire power to an attack not lacking in punch and some reinforcements to the back.
When these players bed in for their teams they're going to add a real freshness and boost of quality for the final half of the season. We will not have that if we do not sign anyone. Far from improving such as these teams, we will have gone backwards having lost Ameobi after only being able to secure Henry.
I will not panic yet however. Nearly all our business was done on transfer deadline day last summer and I suspect it may be the case again. I dearly hope we do get the two aforementioned players: Ameobi to bring us back to levels of December and Le Fondre to go further than those levels. I'd sooner have those two than any player on Sheffield or Scunthorpe's lists. Whilst any reinforcements would be welcome, the restrictions on our squad numbers means we have to go for quality and not quantity and these two have it in spades. Failure to improve while our rivals do however could very well cost us promotion.