Is this the new Hucks?
Chris Lakey Could this be the man Glenn Roeder is lining up to replace City legend Darren Huckerby?He's Republic of Ireland international Wes Hoolahan - a player the City boss is a confirmed admirer of and one who is increasingly being linked with a move to Carrow Road this summer.
Could this be the man Glenn Roeder is lining up to replace City legend Darren Huckerby?
He's Republic of Ireland international Wes Hoolahan - a player the City boss is a confirmed admirer of and one who is increasingly being linked with a move to Carrow Road this summer.
Hoolahan, 25, appears to be paving the way for a move away from Blackpool and Roeder is certain to be interested - along with a whole host of other Championship clubs.
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While Roeder acknowledges the need for physically big players, he may make an exception for Hoolahan, who stands just 5ft 7ins tall and weighs in at a little over 10 stone.
The City boss has already said he has a surprise or two in store for supporters still disappointed at Huckerby's departure and what Hoolahan lacks in size he makes up for with the twinkle toes that could turn him into the new hero that Roeder says he is looking for.
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“If they are 6ft 4 they are 6ft 4, if they are 5ft 8 they are 5ft 8,” he said. “I am very conscious the game is power and pace. But I am not against signing a physically small player if he is incredibly talented, someone who can unlock the doors and create chances. I wouldn't be averse to that at all, but it's much harder for smaller players.”
Roeder couldn't hide his admiration for Hoolahan after he engineered a surprise Blackpool victory at Carrow Road in March.
“If someone said who is the best player who has been at Carrow Road this year performance wise, I would probably say one of the smallest players, ironically, (Wes) Hoolahan,” said Roeder. “I thought he was absolutely fantastic for Blackpool, marvellous player.”
In Roeder's favour is the fact that Hoolahan appears to be keen to leave Blackpool - and that he has a buy-out clause in his contract, believed to be around £250,000.
The downside is that Roeder will have to join a queue of Championship clubs on the look-out for a bargain - with Blackpool boss Simon Grayson bracing himself for a battle to keep hold of his prize asset
“People will speculate about certain players,” he said. “But they're our players until we tell people different. There's going to be a lot of people talking about players but until someone comes or leaves they can speculate as much as they want.”
Grayson may face a two-pronged attack on his resources, with defender Kaspars Gorkss likely to attract interest, and admits it might be difficult to keep them.
“If I say I expect them to be here for pre-season and they're not then people will say we have not done our jobs. All I will say is I would like them to be here,” he said.
“But football does not work like that. I'm confident that they will both be here but certain players move on and better players and bigger players move on to different clubs.”
Hoolahan is due to link up with Ireland this week to take part in a training camp in Portugal under new Irish boss Giovanni Trapattoni.