NIGEL Clough is not expecting any moves in or out at Derby County before tonight’s 11pm transfer deadline.
There have been rumours flying around the Rams throughout January, many of them involving youngsters John Brayford, linked with a move to Championship high-flyers Cardiff City, and Will Hughes, whose suitors come from higher up the league pyramid.
And just yesterday, full-back Kieron Freeman was linked with a loan move to Ipswich Town.
However, asked if he expected a quiet transfer deadline day, Clough said: “We hope so, in terms of lads going out, because we’d like to try and keep everybody in the squad that we’ve got now.
“You never know, because somebody could come in at the last minute.
“Everyone has been assuming that someone is going to go, that a big offer is going to come in, but that’s all it was – specualtion.
“And until somebody puts something on the table, that’s all it remains.”
Clough also harked back fondly to the old transfer system, when clubs could sign or sell players throughout the year.
He said: “I don’t like windows, I think people should be able to do transfers whenever they want during the season.
“I’m not a big fan of being restricted, and having only 28 or 30 days leads to a bit of panic-buying.
“Clubs always leave it until the last minute as well, which I don’t understand.
“I didn’t see anything wrong with the old system, where you could buy someone throughout the season.
“It certainly helped the lower league clubs, as if they needed to, they could sell somebody in February or March.
“It’s come in from Europe and been forced upon us, but I don’t see anyone within football who actually likes it or agrees with it.
“It just means when it opens for these four weeks, you are rushing to get your business done.
“There’s clubs at the bottom who are trying to get players in to get them out of it, and I don’t see why they can’t do that in December or February as well.”
While the Rams are unlikely to bring anyone in today, they might delve into the loan market for the first time in nearly a year when that window reopens in February, and utilise the ‘try before you buy scheme’ that they used when bringing in Frank Fielding, Jamie Ward and Theo Robinson in recent seasons.
Clough said: “We have the opportunity to do a three-month loan next week.
“Then it would be not just for the three months, but a view to next season as well.
“That’s what we’ve always done, and that’s how we like to use it.
“It’s an ideal situation to look at somebody before you commit to a permanent move in the summer.”
The Rams have not loaned anyone in since Tom Carroll this time last year, and Clough said: “It means we’ve relied on the lads in the squad and on the fringes.
“We’ve said all along that the youngsters will get an opportunity, and there could be more before the end of the season coming out of the academy to make their first team debuts.