JOHN Fleck has arrived – but Ian Holloway is suffering more frustration than joy in the transfer market.
Crawley Town hotshot Tyrone Barnett – 11 goals in League Two this season – and Margate goal machine Kwesi Appiah have both turned down moves to the seaside, failing to agree personal terms.
However, a deal for Barnett could be back on after the player met with Ian Holloway on Friday.
And with Pool making little headway in the chase for Fleetwood’s Jamie Vardy and Barnsley pricing Ricardo Vaz Te out of the market, Holloway has hit his fair share of dead ends this January.
But at least he has made one breakthrough before tomorrow’s home Championship clash with Crystal Palace, snapping up 20-year-old Fleck on loan from Rangers until the end of the season.
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Holloway said: “We’ve sorted out one or two bits and pieces regarding his contract and I met him for the first time on Thursday, when he trained with us.
“He is a lovely lad, bubbly and full of enthusiasm. He is also very talented and hopefully we can work together to try to improve his prospects.
“He has all sorts of potential and he has a left foot, so you have to draw similarities to Charlie Adam (whose loan move to Blackpool from Rangers kick-started a stalling career).
“For me there is only one Charlie, and there might only be one John Fleck. And if he ends up anything as good as his relative (former Rangers and Norwich striker) Robert, I’ll be more than happy to have something to do with him.”
Fleck goes straight into the squad for tomorrow’s Palace game, when Holloway welcomes back skipper Barry Ferguson after a three-game suspension.
Keeper Matt Gilks is also available but faces a nervous wait to see if he can oust in-form stand-in Mark Howard.
Chances are he will, especially as Howard still hasn’t signed a new contract and becomes a free agent after the weekend.
Holloway said: “The ball is in Mark’s court and I am hoping he whacks it back into ours and joins us again. But I don’t know anything about where we’re up to with that. I leave it to the chairman.”
That’s what Holloway does with transfers in general. He recommends players, then Karl Oyston deals with fees and personal terms.
Holloway hates the whole month. “The other day I was trying to fix the heating in one of my children’s houses and I couldn’t even get started because I had agents ringing me with players from outer Azerbaijan or from Planet Zarf,” said the boss.