West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Mow-bray has joined the growing number of football bosses to question the value of the January transfer window.
Mowbray has already hinted he does not intend a spending spree between now and January 31 because he is reasonably happy with the quality of his current squad, which has taken the club to the top of the Coca-Cola Championship with 20 games to play.
Albion chairman Jeremy Peace has also publicly stated that he would rather see the size of the squad reduced than increased this time around. Now Mowbray has joined managers from the Championship and the Premier League in sayng he preferred the old system, when managers could buy players whenever they were wanted or required.
His Wolverhampton Wanderers rival Mick McCarthy, Reading boss Steve Coppell, Leicester City's Ian Holloway, and Bolton Wanderers manager Gary Megson have all recently questioned the point of two specific seasonal windows for transfers and Mowbray said: "Personally, I didn't see anything wrong with the old system (prior to changes made by Fifa in 2002).
''Presumably, the windows were brought in to stop big clubs monopolising the market and buying up all the players, but I'm not sure that that has happened and it is still the top Premier League clubs spending the money.
''They are still monopolising things. I can understand that the authorities don't want teams to be able to buy up leagues and the transfer window is aimed at stopping clubs with a few pennies from going out and buying a whole new squad, but is it really creating a more even playing field?''
"I feel the best time to put your squad together is in the summer, as most teams fall by the wayside after January and you can see which players are available. You tend to find in January that teams try to add to their squad to try to reach the playoffs or replace injured players.
''I tend to treat each one individually when it comes to January I like to see where we are, what we need and at the moment, I'm reasonably happy with the quality we have in the squad already.''
Mowbray, who is a big fan of loan deals, said: "The chairman has gone on the record recently and said we could maybe lose one or two in terms of numbers, so we will wait and see. Come May, we will find out whether we made the right decisions or not.''
The Albion boss said he had yet to continue contract talks with those of his stars, whose Albion deals run out this summer. Kevin Phillips, Martin Albrechtsen, Dean Kiely and Zoltan Gera are all due to discuss their futures with the manager over the next few months. Mowbray said: "They're all still under contract at the moment and I will be discussing the future with all of them. People can rest assured that they all have a part to play in our bid for promotion."
Meanwhile, Albion striker Kevin Phillips was last night named Powerade Player Of The Moth for December in the Championship for his contribution in firing the Baggies to the top of the table after his return from a serious knee- ligament injury. n Micky Adams has left his role as Colchester United's assistant manager and set his sights on a return to management. The 46-year-old former Coventry City and Leicester City manager moved to Layer Road in the summer, but left on Monday and admitted: "I am a manager and want to be able to seize the opportunity when it comes along to add to the achievements that I have had over the past ten years." n Dagenham fear they may be forced to call off their weekend clash with Morecambe in League Two because of a sickness bug.
The Daggers have been forced to close their training facilities for 48 hours after nine first-team players were struck down and manager John Still admits he will have to monitor the situation ahead of the clash at Christie Park on Saturday.