Birmingham City manager Alex McLeish has joined the criticism of the system that restricts player movement to a one-month transfer window.

McLeish is currently striving to bolster his threadbare squad in a bid to guide the club to Premier League safety and has expressed his irritation at the fact he must do all of his business in January.

Steve Coppell and Mick McCarthy, his counterparts at Reading and Wolverhampton Wanderers, have already spoken out against the structure in the last few weeks and McLeish's chairman, David Gold is a long-standing detractor and has called for the seven-year initiative to be scrapped.

McLeish has already lost two senior players, Neil Kilkenny and Rowan Vine who have gone elsewhere in search of regular first team football and has told Martin Taylor and Neil Danns they are also unwanted.

But he has not yet brought in any replacements and has just three weeks in which to do so. Although he has made offers for players, notably Everton's James McFadden and Hibernian's David Murphy, both have been rejected and he is conscious of the fact he is running out of time.

"I think the January window is horrendous and bad for football because it is pushing prices up. People can hold guns to your head in terms of prices nowadays." McLeish said.

The former Scotland manager estimates that valuations increase by up to 50 per cent during the transfer window and that skews the market heavily in favour of the seller.  But desperation to remain the top flight and retain the huge amounts of money on that brings, drives clubs into rash decisions.

"It is a restriction on free trade," he continued. "I believe it is bad for football. It should go back to like it was before, until the end of March.

"I know people will argue against it, and there will be pros and cons, but I certainly feel when teams are scrambling to avoid relegation and the price to stay up is astronomical.

"One or two teams push the boat out - and there is no guarantee whoever you bring in that you can keep your head above water.

"Some day, some team is going to get stung spending £20-£30 million in the January window - unless it is Man United."

With that in mind McLeish believes it is time to return to the old system. "I do believe a lot of people have learned their lessons and chairman and owners of clubs have great experience of what has happened over the last ten to 15 years in the Premier League."