West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Mowbray has warned supporters not to expect a glut of arrivals after the transfer window opened last night.
Chairman Jeremy Peace has already announced that there would be no money available for transfer fees and that the club was looking to recruit players on loan.
Mowbray has warned there would be no ‘superstars’ arriving at the club and has already signalled his intention with the completion of a loan move for 20-year-old Arsenal striker Jay Simpson. Team-mate Carlos Vela could join him.
Three years ago the arrival of Kieran Richardson and Kevin Campbell on loan sparked ‘the Great Escape’ but Mowbray has warned the emphasis for inspiring a repeat was still on the existing squad. He believes they are strong enough to do it.
“I am only trying to add competition,” Mowbray said. “There are only going to be young players with potential coming in to get some football.
“They are going to be free loans. We are not going to be signing any world-class superstars.
“They are not going to come in and change everyone’s fortunes. They have to come in and be a part of what we do, work very hard to try to get in the side and have an impact when they do get on the pitch, and help the existing playing staff. They have to earn the right to get on the pitch of course.”
After the season-ending injury to striker Ishmael Miller, Mowbray has made the recruitment of a striker his top priority in January but admits he has been delighted with the response of his remaining strikers.
Luke Moore, Roman Bednar and Craig Beattie have all taken on the challenge of filling Miller’s boots, and of proving to Mowbray that they can supply the goals to fire Albion to safety.
Mowbray said: “Over the past couple of weeks the strikers have responded to the news that strikers will be coming in during January and they have done exceptionally well.
“Roman has scored a couple of goals, Luke has got his first goal and worked extremely hard in the two games he has played, while Craig has got his first Premier League goal.
“I am delighted we have had a reaction from the existing playing staff. The competition we are trying to create will hopefully stimulate a positive reaction from everybody and that can only benefit the team.”
Positivity is the key word for Mowbray, who said he was constantly fighting a battle to protect his camp from negativity from external sources.
“I have never been negative about our position,” he said. “I think we are constantly fighting against negativity from the media. By the nature of the media it is doom and gloom. That has never been the case here.
“We still have a lot of hard work to do. We are still bottom of the league and yet there is still plenty of optimism around the place.
“There is an awareness that we have very rarely been out of any game. We have always been competitive in matches.
“Even after the bad days of a 3-0 or 4-0 defeat, the next performance has never been one of depression or a lack of desire, determination or quality.
“In the first half of the season we came out on the wrong end of a lot of tight games.
“Now we have finished the year coming out on top in a couple of tight games. If we can make that a common theme then we will give ourselves a real good chance.”