Thursday, December 01, 2011

The fear

If there's one thing guaranteed to bring the Silver Fox out in a cold sweat, it seems, it's the prospect of the looming transfer window, now just a month away. While it's eagerly awaited by some managers, presenting an opportunity to plug gaps, ship out the unwanted and generally freshen up a stale squad, our gaffer's perspective is somewhat different. This season's unexpected success has brought a new challenge: keeping hold of our best performers for the second half of the season when the big boys are in the market to strengthen and have the financial clout to do so.

Key candidates almost certain to be targeted include Mr T, Dreamboat, Demba Ba and Sideshow Bob, all outstanding thus far this season. If us supporters were looking for reassurances that any advances will be resisted, we weren't given any: "Nothing is certain here. We could lose one of our great players, who knows? Some of the financial decisions are taken out of my hands. I want to strengthen in one or two areas but we'll have to be on our guard against one of our best players going when the window opens. You can never think you're OK." He's clearly learned lessons from the chastening experience of the Rocky affair, so should I suppose be commended for his realism and honesty - but at the same time what we really want to hear are guarantees that Jabba won't allow our rivals to decimate the squad in pursuit of a quick buck. Over to you, Jabba...

Of course, a more immediate challenge is the visit of Chelsea on Saturday. In that respect, too, the Silver Fox has been talking about fear - though in that instance he thinks it's his opposite number Andre Villas-Boas and his Blues side who'll be the ones quaking in their boots. Not so sure about that, but our visitors are certainly underperforming and under pressure, and we're in sufficiently good form and spirit to make life very difficult indeed for them.

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