Mansfield Town manager Paul Cox today admitted it would be tough to find the right loan player quickly after the club’s change of heart over making a signing.
Cox had some decent names lined up over the January transfer window, but was told late on that he would not be allowed to bring anyone in due to financial restraints.
However, once the window was shut and Cox was ready to soldier on with the current squad, the club did a U-turn and he was told he would be able to bring in a player when the emergency loan window opens this Friday.
Fans will be hoping he can pluck a rabbit out of a hat for Saturday’s visit of promotion-chasing Southend United.
But Cox said: “I think it will be difficult by Friday. The staff have been at a number of games this week but we are now playing catch-up with people.
“We had a number of players in our sights. But the majority of them have now signed for other clubs or gone back into their first teams and we are starting the search again. There were a lot of deals done in the window and, for whatever reason, we couldn’t. So we are planning for a different scenario now.
“The problem we have got is that the better players have gone in the window in permanent deals or on loan, so we have to re-jig our targets. We are still looking for someone who scores goals.
“It was hard building into the transfer window and it will be ever harder now. I won’t make any bones about it – it will be tough. There is not a lot out there at the minute.
“Bringing someone in by Friday will not be the be all and end all. But a new face would be good.
“We are going to have to look at what is out there including the younger ones, the U21s and reserve team players, but we have got to be careful. We must make sure we bring in the right person, if anybody.
“With respect, if we bring someone in on loan who is not ready physically or mentally, it would be tough.”
He added: “There may be one or two go out if we have to free up a bit of money. But I am mindful of the fact that if we don’t bring anyone in, I need to keep the squad as strong as possible as, if we got three or four injuries, we would be down to using the kids.
“It is tough in our predicament. Anyone from 10th down can by pulled into a battle and to blood the kids in that scenario would be harsh on them.”
Cox admitted the club’s change of heart on bringing someone in had taken him by surprise.
He said: “It was a bit of a shock as I had just got my head round the fact I would have to work with what I had got. So our decision-making has gone from one extreme to another. But nothing really surprises me as I have been in football long enough. You just have to get you head down and get on with it.”