Blackpool told target is not for sale

Aston Villa's Barry Bannan
Aston Villa's Barry Bannan
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IAN Holloway’s hopes of landing Barry Bannan have taken a knock.

Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish reckons his squad is “too thin”, and says he can’t afford to allow the Scot to leave before next Wednesday’s transfer deadline.

“Ian Holloway asked me about Bannan a couple of months ago maybe, and I said ‘no’,” said McLeish.

“I was assessing the squad, and we’re too thin really to let anybody go.

“The clock is ticking down, and I don’t know if I could bring somebody else in.

“It would be dangerous to lose some experienced players.”

Pool want to sign Bannan on a permanent deal.

Holloway believes the 21-year-old could play in the hole between the strikers and midfield, or could operate on the left side of a front three.

The Seasiders were willing to pay upwards of £1m.

If McLeish insists Bannan isn’t for sale, Holloway will still hope to do a loan deal after the transfer deadline has passed.

But talks will continue this week.