Lionel’s transfer fee could set new Bulls’ record

First published in Sport

WE certainly had a dilemma last Thursday with the inquiry from Watford about Lionel Ainsworth.

To be fair to them, they had shown some interest and I had talked to them prior to Thursday but it really got underway when they were keen to do a deal.

In the end, I had to sit down and look at the equation following their guarded threats about Toumani Diagouraga and Theo Robinson returning to Watford in January.

It came down to Toumani, Theo and money on one side against Lionel on the other.

It was still a difficult decision but ultimately I felt that we had no real option but to accept the circumstances and do the deal with Watford.

If Lionel goes well, and if Watford go well, then it will be the biggest incoming transfer fee in the club's history.

The monies will not all come in immediately but the big advantage of the deal is that we have secured the services of Toumani and Theo for the remainder of the season.

I thought that was a big issue for us. Both have done extremely well and their continuation here is a big boost.

If it had been a straightforward deal involving Lionel, the answer would have been an emphatic no.

We do not need to sell at the present time. The club, despite disappointing attendances, is in good shape financially and the only thing that we want to do is gain promotion.

We have now tested ourselves against most of the clubs who are fancied to do well this season and come out of it with a lot of credit.

It is still comparatively early in the season but I believe that we have sufficient quality in the squad - and the opportunity to strengthen in the transfer window in January.

That was one of the disappointments of Lionel going so late, just before the transfer deadline last Thursday. We were unable to bring in a straight replacement for him before Football League regulations prevented emergency loans.

We now have to wait until the January transfer window to find a replacement and strengthen the squad.

We have also had the problem of a few injuries recently. Dean Beckwith, Karl Broadhurst, Luke Webb, Clint Easton and Richard Rose have missed, or look likely to miss, games.

It is, therefore, a test of the strength of the squad and, in particular, of the young players. Sam Gwynne, on Saturday, was the latest of the youngsters to have been given an opportunity and I thought he did very well.

But quietly, within the camp, we feel we have a good chance of achieving something.

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