The Rumour Mill
If rumours are to be believed, then January could be a very big month for the Seasiders transfer wise.
The word is that Valery Belekon is delighted with the start we have made (even Karl Oyston is said to have cracked a smile!) and is eager to ensure that we remain at the top end of the table, pursuing his dream for Premiership football. As such, Ian Holloway could have a substantial budget (at least compared to previous seasons) to play with come 2010.
Goalkeeper wise, many fans felt that Paul Rachubka had improved since Ollie's arrival... but it would appear that the manager thinks otherwise, with Matt Gilks being selected for the last three games (keeping three clean sheets in the process). Word has reached us that the goalkeeping situation at Bloomfield Road is one that Ollie wants to improve, and he has been following closely the exploits of one as yet unnamed foreign goalkeeper.
In defence, Holloway is on record as saying that the proposed transfer fee and wages for Marcel Seip are probably too high for the Seasiders to make his switch a permanent one. The Dutch defender has impressed during his loan spell, but Holloway is unlikely to spend the bulk of his budget on a position that we're reasonably well off in. Instead, he has been looking at other targets.
A member of our forum mentioned that he is tracking a very tall Swedish defender (Ollie is known for liking physical centre backs), reknowned for his heading ability. Whether there's any truth in that remains to be seen, but one player that Holloway certainly has had his eye on is Crystal Palace's Clint Hill.
Ollie said in the summer how he wanted a left footed centre back to fit into his system, and Hill certainly fits the bill. Although a regular for Palace, they face financial problems and Ollie may fancy his chances of tempting the player back north.
In midfield, Barnet's Albert Adomah is a name that continues to do the rounds. The Seasiders tried to sign him in the summer, but it was deemed that the League Two club wanted too much for a player whose contract expires in the summer. However, with Adomah having spent time on the sidelines following a broken jaw (and thus not having the opportunity to impress visiting scouts) and his contract expiry date edging nearer and nearer, Barnet may be more prepared to do business come the New Year.
Despite Ollie's protestations that we don't need a striker, his recent movements suggest otherwise.
During the international break, he was spotted watching AFC Wimbledon's Danny Kedwell. The striker has been scoring for fun this season, and Holloway's love of lower league and non-league gems is well documented. Indeed, he is down on record as saying that he wants to sign players from the lower leagues and buff them up. There is certainly a lot of talent in the lower divisions, some of which is available a lot cheaper than players from higher up the ladder, so it makes perfect sense to explore options like Kedwell (and indeed foreign players, especially now we have a licence to sign them).
One name that was tentatively linked with us last summer and may be again come the New Year is that of Kevin Phillips. The veteran Birmingham striker has found opportunities in Alex McLeish's side limited this season, and with the Scot having a big budget to play with come January, he may be prepared to part with Phillips.
Phillips' goalscoring exploits in this division are reknowned, and Ian Holloway might be very interested in a player who might make all the difference come May, adding vital experience to the Seasiders' attack.
Another name that keeps popping up is that of Debrecen's Gergely Rudolph. The forward has been in a rich vein of form both domestically and in this season's Champions League, and is a player that Ollie has been tracking for a while (allegedly)!
Two other strikers are also in the mix, however. Like most clubs, we have had a look at Huddersfield's Jordan Rhodes. However, the Yorkshire club are not under any pressure to sell the in-form hitman who was signed for a song from Ipswich in the summer. Perhaps a more realistic possibility is that of Simeon Jackson from Gillingham. Rumours about the talented frontman, subject of a Scout Report on Vital not too long ago, keep appearing... we can only hope that there is some substance to the rumours, as in my eyes, Jackson would fit into our system perfectly!
You'd also imagine that Ollie will continue to try and secure loan signings from Premiership clubs where possible; perhaps we'll try for Manchester United's Darron Gibson again?
With all this talk of arrivals, there is also talk of departures, or should I say departure.
Ben Burgess is a player who divides the fans, and, if rumours are to be believed, the striker could find himself offski in the New Year, perhaps as part of any deal to bring Simeon Jackson to the club.
January promises to be a very interesting month...