Stuttering Saints look to loan market

Last updated : 14 January 2007 By Chris C
Saints lacklustre stalemate against Burnley was no real surprise for a side shorn of creativity after being stripped of our wide players through injury.

Against a team who came for the point and made their manager 'very happy' when they got it, Saints were always going to struggle to break them down with the unfamiliar combination of Licka and McGoldrick on the wings.

With a well organised and hard working midfield, Saints needed pace and creativity on the wings to open it up and despite the duo's best efforts, Saints lacked our usual zip.

With Skacel, Dyer, Surman and Algerian wizard Belmadi on the treatment table, Saints were missing our first and second choice wide players and it showed. All the more reason that Saints are now looking to the loan market to shore up our promotion push with money tight after our summer expenditure.

One loan move is said to be very close and a second is a distinct possibility. The gaps in Saints' squad are clear. We have struggled at right midfield and for a second striker all season. A central defender wouldn't come amiss, but is a lesser priority after Darren Powell's successful return to action.

Of concern is that the goals have started to dry up from midfield with only Prutton and Pele's first strikes of the season against Leicester registering from midfield since Skacel netted a beauty against Birmingham back in November.

Saints can't keep waiting and hoping for a second coming from Algerian wizard Belmadi and a long term Rasiak injury just doesn't bear thinking about, with Jones and Wright-Phillips remaining inconsistent in front of goal.

How Saints could do with the rumoured arrival on loan of Lee Hendrie - in this pundit's view the best player to visit St Mary's this season and who was largely responsible for Stoke's upturn in form. Goals, aggression, time on the ball he has been running riot in the Championship and is the calibre of signing Saints need to take us to the next level.

As it stands those above us are looking to speculate to accumulate with Derby and Birmingham making strong moves in the transfer market and Preston determined to hang onto prize asset David Nugent.

With a bid now accepted from Hull for David Prutton, if the move comes off Saints will have both space in the squad and one of the reported highest earners off the wage bill and room to invest in some Premiership quality.

For the sake of not only our promotion prospects this season, but our long term financial stability, we simply have to strengthen or risk seeing the points slipping away as we saw yesterday.