Sunderland v Hull City: Tigers’ transfer plans not under threat, says Mike Phelan

Hull City manager Mike Phelan (Picture: Richard Sellers/PA Wire).
Hull City manager Mike Phelan (Picture: Richard Sellers/PA Wire).
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HULL City manager Mike Phelan has revealed that discussions have taken place with the club’s hierarchy regarding the January transfer window recruitment and says he has been assured that takeover uncertainty will not impact upon his plans.

Ongoing stories about a potential change of ownership at the club have formed a constant backdrop for Phelan since taking over, initially on a caretaker basis from Steve Bruce in July.

The situation impinged upon Phelan’s summer window business, with only a spate of frenetic beat-the-deadline activity enabling Hull finally to get in recruits to make them a competitive force in 2016-17.

Phelan, who will include three youngsters in his 18-man squad for this afternoon’s ‘six-pointer’ at Sunderland, is anxious to avoid a repeat, with talks with the board having already been held.

The squad situation has been further exacerbated by several fresh injuries, with the Tigers’ need to add to their striking options particularly heightened by the news that Will Keane has been ruled out for a year with a cruciate knee problem.

On his planning for January with the Tigers, who this week revealed that takeover talks could be suspended if a deal is not reached by the end of the year, Phelan said: “We have had discussions about going forward (with transfers) and how we will do it.

“We have to try and find the right players and if there is availability for the right players.

“We should not have a knee-jerk reaction, but we can’t just go into the market hoping and praying it will work. We have to have some sort of appreciation about who we are bringing in.

“We are trying to do that and then the day will come when we present it to the owners. We will see what the outcome is going to be.

“It depends on what I bring to the owner as to how much money is available to spend, but I am sure we’ve still got a few pennies in the bank. We have also got loans (players) which we can take care of.

“We are planning. We are not just sitting back and letting things roll on. It is getting nearer and nearer now, with a lot of the teams looking at the same players.

“The uncertainty of the summer impacted on us getting to the final day of the window and we did six signings. That is not ideal.

“The planning has to be a little bit better than that. That is what we have tried to address.

We got six in, albeit losing one already (Keane), but we need more. It is a continuation where we are trying to build and restructure.

“We are moving forward. Everyone looks at results, but we have to look at it bigger than that.”

Hull, seeking their third successive league win at the Stadium of Light, can move eight points clear of basement club Sunderland with victory today, but could be just two points off the bottom of the table if the hosts triumph and Swansea win at Everton.

This afternoon’s huge game is also spiced by the fact that home manager David Moyes famously ended Phelan’s 14-year association with Manchester United when he took over at Old Trafford in May 2013 to bring in his own backroom staff.

But ex-United assistant Phelan insists that there is no lingering ill feeling on his part with his only concern being matters on the pitch, not on proving a point.

He said: “I cannot look back, and if I do, I can only look back with enjoyment and fulfilment. Everyone knows that things change and when they do, you move on.

“I had a good spell and then came out of the game for a little while because I needed to refresh myself.

“It was non-stop, 24/7. The demands at that football club were high, but they were great.

“I have no issues at all with anybody. Why would I?

“I have been in the game long enough to have made relationships with people and others you treat as football people.

“There is no issue with me, David or anyone else at Manchester United.”

It is also a key weekend in the top flight for Middlesbrough, who welcome in-form Chelsea in front of a sell-out game at the Riverside in front of the Sky cameras tomorrow afternoon (4pm).

Fifteen-placed Boro, enjoying a mini-upturn following an unbeaten three-match sequence – which has included impressive draws at Arsenal and Manchester City – are just a point ahead of Hull heading into this weekend’s programme.