Stars stay, but Pool left short in attack

Have your say

BLACKPOOL beat off bids to keep their prized assets but failed to add to their squad on another frustrating transfer deadline day.

Tom Ince and Alex Baptiste were the subject of last-gasp offers ahead of the 11pm deadline, which were turned down flat by Pool chairman Karl Oyston.

However, the lack of players coming in has left Pool short, especially in attack.

They had hoped to bring Stephen Dobbie back to Bloomfield Road for a third spell, but the Brighton striker has instead linked up again with former Pool boss Ian Holloway at Crystal Palace on loan.

He has been joined at Selhurst Park by Pool’s 39-year-old striker Kevin Phillips, another loan deal for the rest of the season.

The Seasiders spent the day unsuccessfully trying to add to their two January loan signings, Nottingham Forest striker Matt Derbyshire and Manchester City defender Reece Wabara.

On a positive note, they were able to fight off interest from the Premier League for star man Ince.

While Liverpool decided against a deadline day bid, The Gazette understands Reading tabled an offer of around £7.5m for the 21-year-old.

Chairman Oyston remained determined to keep Ince until at least the summer and didn’t even consider the bids. Blackburn and Wolves both made moves for Baptiste, though it is believed the transfer fees offered were less than half what the club would have considered acceptable.

While Pool’s caretaker manager Steve Thompson admits it was a frustrating day, he is delighted to have kept vital players.

Thompson said: “The fact three, four or five of our players were wanted by clubs shows the quality we have. It’s great we could keep them.

“It gives me brilliant options. These players will buy into everything we ask them to do. “The lads are fantastic. They want to do well and we’ve had a good week of training.

“The way Tom has handled himself has been fantastic.

“I now know what we’ve got for Saturday, so we can get on with it.”

From the outside it appeared a quiet day at Bloomfield Road but Thompson revealed it was hectic as the club tried to get players through the door.

He added: “Plenty of phone calls were going in. We weren’t going to bring anyone in for the sake of it, though.

“You are talking about quality players here, which is fantastic.

“But there are a lot of players out there who have gone for big, big money, and we class our players as good as them.

“As much as we want our players to progress, we aren’t going to give them away cheaply. It’s got to be right for this football club.”

While permanent and long-term loan deals are no longer options, clubs can still to sign players on 90-day loans from next week.