JONJO Shelvey is likely to be loaned back to Blackpool – but only when Steven Gerrard has proved his fitness.
Shelvey hit six goals in ten games before Christmas and the Seasiders have been in contact with Liverpool about another loan stay.
They had hoped to finalise a deal this week but Gerrard’s hamstring injury, sustained while playing for England last week, has put the move on hold.
Seasiders secretary Matt Williams said: “We have been told that Liverpool won’t let Jonjo out until Gerrard is completely fit.
“Jonjo wants to come to Blackpool and we want him here, and we will keep stalking Liverpool until we get him!
“The physio at Anfield is a friend of mine and I will be sending him plenty of texts over the next week or so to check on Gerrard’s fitness.
“We are also in close contact with Liverpool’s director of football Damien Comolli and we hope we will be able to get Jonjo back at some stage.”
With a tough month of fixtures ahead – including tomorrow’s trip to Derby – Ian Holloway would like an extra body in his squad.
He said: “If I was going to get anyone in at the moment, I would try and get Jonjo Shelvey because we have already had him and I know what the lad is capable of. I really like him.
“He made a big impression when he was here and he wouldn’t have gone back had there not been an injury at Liverpool (to Brazilian midfielder Lucas).
“We’ll keep monitoring it and hope that we might be able to get something done.”
Holloway is backing his players to bounce back from the blow of conceding a late equaliser at home to Hull on Friday.
The manager added; “I’d have preferred the extra two points to get the lads really buzzing ahead of what is going to be a tough week, with the games against Derby and Peterborough.
“The lads were a little bit down after the Hull game. They know how soft their equaliser was.
“But we’ve got character in abundance in our dressing room and the bottom line is that against Hull we played really well. I was happy with all of it apart from that late goal conceded.
“We played really well, at a high tempo, and caused our opponents all sorts of problems, so we’ll take the confidence gained from that into the week ahead.”
Matt Phillips and Craig Cathcart will have fitness tests on their hamstring injuries ahead of the trip to Pride Park. Gary Taylor-Fletcher remains sidelined with bone-brusing in his knee.