One little number to worth bearing in mind. And, no, for once it's not No5.
No, on this occasion the number concerned in the number 90.
Why 90? Well, that's the number of days that cover the length of an 'emergency' loan. Three months in theory; 90 days in practice.
At which point, people, run off to your nearest calendar and either work forward from today – and make it 85 days as Johnny X sits on his butt at Colney for the rest of the week without actually playing a game – or else work back from January 1 when any three-month emergency 'loan' can actually be switched into a full-time transfer deal without the need for a Huckerby-like 'gap' – with all the potential pit-falls that brings should everyone else decide that they, too, fancy a slice of that New Year transfer action.
So, let's say, you gun for this Thursday night – 24 hours to get the boy in and settled ahead of Saturday's home clash with Palace.
Well, by old Ferret's reckoning, that would take us through then to Wednesday, December 12 – and an awkward 19 days of being returned to sender before the gaffer could make any deal permanent once the January transfer window re-opened for business.
Now work it back the other way, and give or take the odd New Year's Day off, take 90 away from January 2 and you get to Friday, October 5 – help yourself to an 'emergency' loan on that day and you can safely sail over the transfer window opening line without anyone trying to do a Sheffield United on you and whip Huckerby out of his three-week return to Manchester and on to Bramall Lane.
Only flaw to that little plan is that October 5 is still a good six games, 15 points and a third round Carling Cup tie away – not ideal when you're looking for a full, nine-point haul from the home games against Palace, Sheffield Wednesday and Scunthorpe to nip all those early anxieties in the bud.
And when Shacks is still a bit touch and go for the Palace game.
But those are the sort of discussions that will be floating around Colney right now – when do you make your move. Early and have that potentially awkward three weeks in no-man's land at the end; later and leave yourself vulnerable to a lack of bodies in that six games in 18-day spell.
Either way, you don't look to do too much before Thursday or Friday – make sure that the home game against Sheffield United on Saturday, December 8, is in the loan 'can', so to speak.
Besides, if it's a Prem player your after, who wants to be paying Prem-style wages for longer than they have to?
Whether our boy is Mr Hall is also open to doubt; there is alreday a lengthy queue for his services and, as ever, if it's a three-month gig you're looking at, is the lad going to fancy three months in a hotel room or three months at home in the North-West? Popping along the M62 or down the M6 for his loan living?
And don't forget that Granty has always had his heart set on two more fresh faces; that, in his eyes, his central midfield is in just as much need of shoring up as his central defence is; that minus both Fortheringham and Smith, his side could do with a dash more creation; someone offering something different to the legs that come with Messrs Russell and Brellier.
Much to ponder, people. Much to ponder.
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