Striker bids fuel Smith talk...
News today that bids have been accepted by Roy Keane for two of his strikers have further fueled speculation that Alan Smith may be joining the club in a loan deal.
'I didn't want too many players going out on loan again, but we said if one or two concrete offers came in we'd consider them and I'd put it to the players.
'I spoke with Jon and Chris and they have gone for talks,' Keane revealed today.
The clubs bidding have not been revealed, though it is believed that Norwich City are in for Brown. Charlton and Wolves have been linked with Stead, though quite how Mick McCarthy could give his record signing another chance is beyond me. Either way though Keane did admit that Derby County are definitely not the club in for Stead,
'While I don't want to go down the road of saying which clubs are talking to the players, I can tell you that it is not Derby County that are talking to Jon.
'Derby County came in with a bid for Jon last week but it wasn't the price we were looking for and we turned them down.'
As mentioned here yesterday, Keane has been looking to offload Stead and Brown since the arrival of £2m signing Anthony Stokes. Brown and Stead's departure would leave Stokes, Daryl Murphy, Stephen Elliot, David Connolly and maybe Dwight Yorke all competing for a forward place,
'You've got to be fair to players and there's no point in keeping them hanging around if they are not going to get opportunities. Anthony's arrival strengthens us up front and the signing of Carlos Edwards on the right-wing means that we could now put Stephen Elliott in competition with the rest of the strikers.
'And that means that Chris and Jon would only have limited chances.'
But, as has been reported, Keane seems to be looking at the possibility of bringing in Alan Smith from Manchester United on a loan deal till the end of the season, to add further options.
Smith, like Dwight Yorke, can play both upfront and in a deep midfield role. Having said that, many who have seen Yorkie's performances in midfield may argue that Dwight Yorke cannot actually play there, given his indifferent performances in the engine room.
But should Smith arrive it can be certain that he would be coming to play as a striker only, given Keane's wealth of options in midfield.
Should Keane sign a right full back as he wishes to, that would allow Whitehead to challenge again for a place in midfield, leaving Liam Miller, Graham Kavanagh, Grant Leadbitter, the debatable Dwight Yorke, and the returning Arnau and Tommy Miller all to compete with Deano for the two, sometimes three, centre roles. It would seem unlikely therefore, that Keane would look to recruit any further centre midfielders.