Santos allowed to go
WATFORD are today hoping to sign Georges Santos on a free transfer from Ipswich Town.The Hornets asked about the Frenchman's availability on Saturday when he was left out of the squad to play them, and the Blues agreed he could join them on a free transfer.
WATFORD are today hoping to sign Georges Santos on a free transfer from Ipswich Town, writes Derek Davis.
The Hornets asked about the Frenchman's availability on Saturday when he was left out of the squad to play them, and the Blues agreed he could join them on a free transfer.
Santos is expected to hold talks with Watford manager Ray Lewington today before making his mind up.
Matt Elliott's arrival and John McGreal's recovery has pushed Santos further down the pecking order of central defenders.
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The 33-year-old has also found himself behind Drissa Diallo and Richard Naylor, who is recovering from a broken toe.
With Fabian Wilnis versatile enough to cover, and Aidan Collins progressing well in the reserves, Town are fairly comfortable in that department.
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The Frenchman initially joined Town on a two-month contract after leaving Grimsby, but was handed a two-year deal when Thomas Gaardsoe went to West Brom.
The affable Santos split his nose in a challenge at Stoke and the wound reopened against Millwall in what may prove to have been his last game for Town.
Royle is satisfied the squad he has is strong enough to push on for promotion and is unlikely to bring in any more loan players before Thursday's deadline.
While Dean Bowditch's emergence is not a huge surprise to Town followers, especially those who regularly watch the reserves, his impact and compatibility with Darren Bent means the need for a new loan striker is less urgent.
Alun Armstrong is also fit and back from his loan spell at Bradford, while Pablo Counago is a week away from a reserve game.
Shefki Kuqi is also a more than adequate and willing striker, with 13 goals for Town and Sheffield Wednesday this season.
Royle said: “It is unlikely that we will get anyone in now but it is not as much of a concern now. We will only bring someone in if it is a biggy, but with strikers we have it would have to be big.
“Getting Matt Elliott was important to us and he has settled in well.
“It is still too early to say if he will stay but we are delighted with him and he is enjoying himself, so we will see.”
The midfield is also looking strong with Scott Mitchell quietly making progress, and Chris Bart-Williams will make sure his back is fully better with a reserve run- out against Watford at Portman Road tomorrow.
Pablo Counago and Martijn Reuser will not play this week but are pencilled in for a reserve game next week as they return from injury.
Richard Naylor is walking better after suffering a broken toe and won the clay pigeon shooting competition organised by the club yesterday as part of their series of team building exercises.
Meanwhile, the scouts filling the directors box at Portman Road on a weekly basis will have to report back to their the bosses the need to be very patient.
A host of Premiership clubs has been keeping track of Bent, Matt Richards and Ian Westlake for some time and the historic hat-trick by Bowditch has heightened interest in him even further.
The England young international's exploits earned him the accolade of 'Young Lion of the Week' by the FA, and followed Bent's three at Walsall.
But whatever happens neither will be sold this season.
Arsenal have already been linked with the 17-year-old, who has only started two league games for Ipswich.
Manchester United tried to snaffle the Essex boy away while he was still a schoolboy by claiming that by flying from Stansted, he fell within their 90-minute catchment area, required under Academy rules.
But Bowditch was happy to stay at Portman Road and has never regretted the decision.
Newcastle United tried to sign Darren Bent last year on the cheap but he was content to stay at Portman Road and play on a regular basis.
Now Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur are said to be the latest teams to step up their interest.
Royle said: “We are delighted with both of them but all this is a bit early. We are just concentrating on being in the play-offs and both will have a big part to play from now until the end of the season.”
A decision on asking England Under-18 coach Martin Hunter about the possibility of pulling Bowditch of their friendly against Belgium next week will not be made until after Saturday's trip to Wimbledon.