City boss Glenn Roeder this morning confirmed that one or two cards were firmly marked as he looked back in anger on Monday night's shocking 5-1 home derby defeat by Ipswich Town.
In theory it was a game that should have allowed half-a-dozen faces to stake their claim for a role over a busy festive spell – kicking off with the trip to fellow strugglers Scunthorpe United tomorrow.
In practice, however, and both the performance and the result merely confirmed what Roeder had more than half suspected at Home Park seven weeks ago – that as much as he might be looking to attracting some bright, new shiny faces through the front door once the January transfer window opens, so he will be equally bundling a few more out of the back door. Provided he could find any takers.
“The reserve game Monday night?” said Roeder, reported to have reached for his hair-dryer in the midst of City's seventh straight reserve defeat to the neighbours.
“I tell you what that told me – there were six starters there who played in the game at Plymouth where we got smashed 3-0. And it could have been 6-0. And that tells you everything. And now I definitely know why we got beat.”
Welcome, chaps, to the Last Chance Saloon was Roeder's message. “Some of those players have got a lot to do to have a future at this football club. Our best player was a kid – he was terrific.”
Teenage midfielder Damon Lathrope apart, the Home Park Six would, therefore, include Messrs Murray, Lappin, Strihavka, Martin, Spillane and Brown. Julien Brellier is, potentially, another. Whether he had picked up another niggle to keep him out of that Ipswich game or not, the Frenchman hasn't featured since the trip to Plymouth. If he was injury-free, then he can't even make it to the ressies' bench – where, of course, ?700,000 David Strihavka sits.
“Damo (Lathrope) was very good; he was the one bit of positiveness I could find out of the whole game,” added Roeder.
“Depressing to say the least. Someone told me that was the seventh time that the reserves have lost to Ipswich. Well, that will change.”
All of which will find a revolving door installed at Colney next month with the City manager revealing that he had the green light from the board to bring in players either on loan or on a full-time basis. He did, however, warn that it is the nature of the January transfer window beast to be a difficult market to crack. Decent players are few and far between.
“We are starting to put a list together of players that we would either like on loan or try and bring in on a permanent deal,” he said, with Matty Pattison one of the latter.
“But I know from last year at Newcastle that this January window is a very difficult window to do business in. The fact is that last year I didn't have any money to spend at all at Newcastle. But there was a chance of getting a couple of loan players and I got one in the end a lad from Standard Liege, a central defender.
“But it was difficult to loan or buy players in the January transfer window for obvious reasons. Teams that were going for promotion didn't want to lose their squad players; I can understand that.
“Teams that were trying to stay up didn't want to sell their better players. So it is a difficult window to trade in, but nevertheless I'm looking to try and do some business – whether loans or permanent deals. I have the ability to do both – which I don't think most Championship managers will have.”
And then, of course, there's those disappearing out of the back door with both Brellier and Murray conveniently finding their way into the Scottish media this week as they look to signal their availability to anyone north of the border.
“There are a few in the squad now that if anyone wanted to take them or wanted to offer anything, I would definitely consider letting them go. I know enough about them now – I've got a good idea of the ones that I want to stay here and the ones that I'll be happy to see depart to another club.”
Whether a certain Martin 'Tiny' Taylor would be walking back through the door again on New Year's Day is in the lap of the gods. Roeder is not about to up his offer and match QPR's ?1.25 million valuation on the player – a “worthless bit of paper” reiterated the City chief given the 28-year-old has long made it clear he's not going to Loftus Road.
“That might be completely stone dead now – or it might rear its head again at the end of the window,” said the City chief, with the figure of Ms Brady looming large over proceedings.
“We've offered enough,” said Roeder, quizzed as to whether he would up his current bid. “It's all about valuations and the money has to be spread round. And I know our offer was an extremely good offer and it just so happens that QPR offered a bit more but it was a worthless offer – because he won't go there.”
As for tomorrow's trip to meet The Iron, Roeder had no new injury worries; Michael Spillane starts a three-match ban following his straight red in Monday night's misery. “We've had a couple of players misses a couple of days this week with the odd niggle, but they'll all be out there today.”