West Bromwich Albion have placed January transfer deals on hold until they land a new head coach, caretaker boss Keith Downing revealed today.
Graham Dorrans is the subject of fresh interest from Nottingham Forest while Shane Long’s future remains in doubt as his contract talks rumble on.
But Downing believes no deals in or out of The Hawthorns will be sanctioned until the Baggies secure Steve Clarke’s permanent replacement.
“I wouldn’t have thought anything would happen,” said Downing.
“It’s important that the new man comes in and has a look at his players, sees what he thinks himself and then makes judgements from there.”
Long’s contract expires in the summer, although the club have an option to keep him for another year.
He almost joined Hull in September, but Downing insisted he is not for sale this month.
“Shane is contracted to us,” he said. “He’s an Albion player.
“I was part of the selection that brought him in and we’ve got a high regard for him here.
“Obviously the events of the summer brought it all up, but the bottom line is that he’s an Albion player. We believe in him and he’s part of the plans.”
Albion are continuing interviews with prospective replacements for Clarke but Reading boss Nigel Adkins, whose odds plummeted with bookmakers yesterday, is not thought to be in the running.
Downing was set to take charge of his fifth game today with Crystal Palace due at The Hawthorns in the FA Cup third round.
Billy Jones was ruled out by concussion and a cut eye while Victor Anichebe is struggling with a groin problem.
Downing held brief talks with chairman Jeremy Peace on Thursday.
He said: “When the new head coach comes in, myself and Dean will have an input and explain about the squad and where we think we need strengthening.
“I think the chairman is aware of the speed it needs to be done and of the importance of the month.
“They’ve got four or five people judging who is the best one, they haven’t got it wrong in recent times and we have to trust them to get it right.
“I suppose once the game is out of the way things get back to some sort of normality and then there will be attention on the January transfer window.”