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House of Payne: Transfer window key to Dons hopes
3:46pm Friday 11th January 2013 in Football
The countdown is on to Jim White getting absurdly excited on Sky Sports News on the closing day of the January transfer window, writes John Payne.
Clubs have been able to do deals for a week now, but there was something slightly ridiculous about Brian Swanson bleating earlier this week that seven Premier League clubs had now done some business during the window.
The transfer window has certainly generated a hype machine, but the reality is somewhat different.
The only deal which may set a few pulses racing in the top flight so far was Daniel Sturridge’s switch from Chelsea to Liverpool and, let’s face it, this is a striker who had hardly set the world alight at Stamford Bridge.
Indeed, it will take something extraordinary over the next few weeks to overturn Sturridge’s post-signing assertion that the mid-table club he has joined are the biggest club in the Premier League as the most ludicrous moment of this year’s transfer window.
This (using the Sky principle that football began in 1992) being a club that has never won the Premier League.
But, for all this, the transfer window can make or break a season and it is in the fight against relegation that the window can really count.
One of the main reasons why people are loathe to write off QPR’s hopes of survival is that, during the 10 years of the mid-season window, Harry Redknapp has consistently been the most effective wheeler-dealer in January.
In his first managerial post, AFC Wimbledon’s Neal Ardley is a newcomer to this type of thing, particularly compared with the vastly-experienced John Ward, who has been in the hot seat at bottom club Bristol Rovers for less than a month.
That hasn’t stopped Ardley from making early signings – Peter Sweeney, from League One Bury, and former Dons favourite Chris Hussey from Coventry City.
Both players add experience at a time when Dons need calm heads to stay above the dreaded dotted line.
And, at a time when relegation rivals Plymouth Argyle have carelessly left themselves “between managers”, the work Ardley does this month could prove pivotal to Dons’ hopes of staying in the Football League.