City boss Peter Grant this afternoon refused to rule out making it ten and eleven for the summer as the clock started to tick down towards the end of the transfer window.
That arrives, of course, at the midnight hour on August 31. Plenty of time to get another deal or two done after Rangers utility player Ian Murray this afternoon became the ninth fresh face to walk through the doors of Colney this summer.
“I'd still maybe like two players in,” confirmed Grant, fresh from grabbing Scottish international Murray on a free for a year.
“That's what you're looking for. If I look through the group, if we end up having an injury as has happened to Mark (Fotheringham) and Jimmy (Smith) then you're thinking you're doing alright for numbers – and then, all of a sudden, you get a couple of blows,” said Grant, clearly determined to keep his numbers-up this season – come what may on the injury front.
And not just in numbers – in strength and experience too. You don't win anything with kids. Certainly not in this league.
“What we've got to be able to do this year is to sustain our challenge when we lose players.
“The kids done fantastic last year,” added Grant, forced to blood the likes of Robert Eagle, Kris Renton, Michael Spillane and, of course, Chris Martin when needs so regularly said must.
“But I looked at the bench in some games and it was difficult for them to come on in the Championship where it's unforgiving really – strength-wise, power-wise. The nature of the game is unforgiving.
“So we've got to have players that are prepared to battle – we know we have quality; we know we have match-winners. But to do that, to see the best of that you've got to make sure that first and foremost you do your work first – that the opposition know that you're playing against them. That you make it really, really tough for them.”
Which is why, as that No5 shirt in particular sits there idle, you wonder whether Grant might not be tempted to make another raid north of the border – for another celtic warrior, be that with a small 'c' or capital.
If nothing else, the City boss sees value for money; that what's left of his transfer pennies go further wages-wise than they ever would trying to entice someone out of the Premiership.
“You look at money for reserve team players in England – they're on phenomenal money for not playing any football,” said Grant.
“It just goes with the territory – they get promoted, they're in that division or whatever. Reserve team money is way above what some of the Rangers and Celtic first team players are getting.
As if to prove a point, there was Rangers' chairman David Murray at yesterday's Annual General Meeting opening the lid on the club's wage structure as he reacted bullishly to questions as to why Murray's ex-Hibs pal Scott Brown joined Celtic, not the Gers this summer in that ?4.4 million move.
“We have a wage structure for all the Scots boys,” revealed Murray. “When they break into the team they are on ?1000- ?2000 a week; if they become regulars, they are on ?5000-?6000 a week and if they become assets to the team and sign extended contracts, they get between ?10,000-?12,000 a week.
“We spoke to Scott Brown and he had been offered ?25,000 a week and ?3000 a game. That would have blown open our wage structure.”
Hence, wages-wise, why Grant sees real value for money in continuing his hunt through the SPL. It would be a big surprise, for example, if West Ham United's fifth-choice centre-half Calum Davenport was on less than ?10,000 per week after his various Premiership moves to first Spurs and then West Ham.
“There's still top quality up in Scotland – you don't play for Celtic or Rangers if you're a mug. That's for sure.”
All of which Ryan Jarvis will discover for himself tomorrow as he finds himself thrown into the very deep end of the Scottish Premier League with Kilmarnock's game against Rangers.
Grant is hoping that this latest loan switch can have the Anthony Stokes-effect on City's England Youth international – even if it doesn't lead to a ?2.5 million switch to Sunderland, it could be the making of the young man professionally.
Everyone will get a big, big clue as to what kind of player really lies behind that laid-back exterior.
“I look at Anthony Stokes – he went from Arsenal to Falkirk, banged the goals in and all of a sudden he goes for ?2.5 million,” said Grant, with Jarvis needing to step up to the next plate for all that teenage potential to be fulfilled.
“It's important that Ryan raises it again. I thought he did terrific for the reserves the other evening there; he's been terrific in his pre-season work. And there's no doubt in Ryan's ability – I'm sure he'll go up there and be a success because he can play football.
“I look at the reserve fixtures coming up and – no disrespect – I'm thinking he's way above that. So when are we going to be able to assess him at his best?” said the City boss, clearly not believing that Grays Athletic (a) will bring out the best in Jarvis Snr.
“Kilmarnock have started exceptionally well; they play in front of good crowds; it's a great place to play; playing against the Celtics and the Rangers of this world and you've got the Hibs and Hearts as well – and they're all big games.
“It's a tough, tough league for him, but it's going to be a big step up from where he was last season, that's for sure.”
One final tribute to the work of his back-room staff and Grant was off on the bus to Hull – new-boy Murray in tow.
“Bryan Gunn and Jim Duffy have done a hell of a lot of work for me – it has been tough. And Alan Wood the chief scout.
“But as I say, we want to improve it – we're not here to be second best. We're here to be first.
“And we've only missed two targets out of all the ones that we've went for,” added Grant, with Ryan Shawcross and Billy Sharp in every likelihood the one's that really got away.
“I didn't think that would happen, but I'm very pleased that it has – that I went for 11 players and I've got nine of them. Very pleased.”