Chairman says duo are not for sale

BLUES chairman David Sheepshanks last night moved to allay fears that Jon Walters and Danny Haynes are about to be sold.

Derek Davis

BLUES chairman David Sheepshanks last night moved to allay fears that Jon Walters and Danny Haynes are about to be sold.

When Walters failed to be named in the 16 to face Portsmouth in the 1-0 FA Cup loss on Saturday, rumours spread swiftly that he was on his way to Wigan.

But although Wigan are among a number of clubs monitoring the nine-goal Town forward, no bid has been made and he missed the game after suffering a stomach bug, and not flu as originally suggested.

Danny Haynes, who did play, has also been linked with Premier League Everton and West Ham, but again no offer has been made to Town.

Sheepshanks refused to talk about individuals but did confirm that a number of Town players were attracting interest but they did not have to sell.

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He said: “There is always speculation in January and it's not surprising that there are clubs that admire our players who have been doing so well but we have had no offers for our players.

“While you can never say we will never sell any of our players, you don't get promoted by selling your best players.

“We are not looking to sell our best players. On the contrary we are looking to add to improve our squad.”

While Town are resolute about keeping their top players, Sheepshanks admitted Town would be prepared to listen to offers for some of their fringe players.

Gary Roberts fits that bill and a firm inquiry has been made for him although there has been no bid as yet. Leeds United and Swansea have been linked with him.

Dan Harding is another who could be allowed to leave.

Sheepshanks said: “We would entertain offers for players who are not involved with the squad on a regular basis.”

There was a similar conspiracy theory circulating around Plymouth after David Norris missed their cup tie due to sickness.

Town have been linked with a number of players, with Norris the only one confirmed as a target. A second bid for an unnamed player has also been lodged but as of last night Town had not been given a decision.

Luton trio David Bell, Chris Coyne and Matthew Spring, Sunderland's David Connolly and Hibernian's Rob Jones are all players that Town are understood to have asked about but Sheepshanks said they would be patient.

He said: “We have funds available and we are anxious to invest in the right players to improve our squad. We would like to get a deal done but we are not in a desperate hurry. We will wait until next week, or even the one after that if it means securing the right calibre of player for Jim's team.

“We have had a bid in for David Norris and we have now also made a bid in another direction. We also have many other irons in the fire.”

Sheepshanks is one of three original Town directors on the new board, with the other three made up of Marcus Evans's men and the new owner has the final say.

Sheepshanks insisted though that the day-to-day running of the club was being left to the existing management.

He added: “Jim, Derek (Bowden) and I continue to work closely with Marcus. He has a say in where his money is spent but he is looking to us to manage the club.

“The day-to-day decision-making regarding the playing side has not changed.

“All that has changed is that instead of referring matters to the old board, I now refer to Marcus Evans.”

Town fans will get to meet the three directors from the Marcus Evans Group at the club's AGM on January 17.