New Leeds United chief Simon Grayson this morning threw a potential large spanner into Norwich's works by being linked to a ?300,000 raid for his former Seasiders playmaker Wes Hoolahan.
Given the fact that, in his own words, the Canaries' squad is already down to the 'barest of bones', Grayson's hopes of an Elland Road reunion with the 26-year-old Dubliner will be the last thing that Canary chief Glenn Roeder will want to hear.
What Canary fans will want to hear is the fact that it is all so much January transfer speculation. This morning and Canary sources were saying just that. 'Nothing in it…' was the general gist frm those that ought to know.
Certainly Hoolahan did as much as anyone to turn Saturday's FA Cup tie at Charlton on its head after his welcome introduction after the break.
And with Darel Russell suspended for this weekend's testing Championship trip to Sheffield United, Hoolahan is all-but guaranteed a start. He could yet, of course, slip into that little hole off Antoine Sibierski and keep Arturo Lupoli on the bench.
Or, indeed, start wide left as David Bell struggles with his latest ankle knock.
Equally, given the fact that he only arrived in Norfolk in the summer and – battery issues, notwithstanding – was earning some rave reviews from Roeder after this weekend's 1-1 draw with the Addicks, it would come as a huge blow were Hoolahan ever to walk out of the door.
The fact that Grayson is a big admirer of the quick-footed midfielder is, at least, not in doubt.
He spent most of last season fending off admirers whilst boss at Bloomfield Road; the summer before that he had spent hours of his time locked in legal disputes with Livingston, the Scottish FA and FIFA as Blackpool fought and fought to prise Grayson's target out of Scottish football.
“Of course he is a player we want to keep,” Grayson would tell the Blackpool Evening Gazette last January, with Wolves then reported to be on his tail.
“We've not spent all last summer trying to keep him and going to court for no reason,” he added, then well aware that Hoolahan was the one player that made his side tick; the one player that lifted the Seasiders above the attacking norm.
As Norwich would discover on each and every occasion that the two teams met.
“He has been a big player for us, he is a different type of player to any other we've got at the club so he is very important to us and we really want to keep him,” added Grayson, offering the kindof logic he might wish to apply again now that he has worked out exactly what the sacked Gary McAllister has left him to play with.
And Leeds need to get their act together this window if they are ever to push for the League One play-offs this season. Certainly at the top both Leicester City and the MK Dons look long gone; stuck in mid-table, Leeds are five points off the top six and in need of some serious momentum this spring.
In the meantime, confusion reigned over whether Sibierski had agreed a full-time switch to Carrow Road; the Manchester Evening News claimed Latics boss Steve Bruce had agreed to let the 34-year-old Frenchman go; sources at Carrow Road insisted that no deal had been done.
It had about as many 'legs' to it as the 'Hoolahan to Elland Road…' claim, apparently.
He is, in any case, already contracted to be in Norfolk on loan until January 18.
The one and only certainty was the fact that City's kids will take centre stage tomorrow night as the club play host to Stoke City Youths in their FA Youth Cup fourth round tie.
Having now gone seven games unbeaten over the festive spell, all concerned are in determined mood – convinced that on the back of another home draw after that third round 1-0 win over Wigan Athletic, that this could be their year.
The Potters will, after all, have to find some way beyond England Youth keeper Declan Rudd. No easy feat – as the Premiership Latics discovered last time out.
Speak to the 17-year-old himself, and he has every faith in the four defenders in front of him; the City teenagers are ready for whatever Stoke can throw at them.
“Our two centre-backs are big, strong and powerful boys – and the two full-backs can play very well and battle,” said Rudd, as he met the Press yesterday ahead of tomorrow night's clash.
“So I think we're strong at the back.”
They are not too poor in centre-midfield either with both skipper Korey Smith and Tom Adeyemi travelling to The Valley this weekend as part of Roeder's travelling party.
“Korey [Smith] and Tom [Adeyemi] work hard and our two wingers create chances for us,” said Rudd. “And the strikers can get us goals, so I think we're strong all over the pitch.
“The lads are buzzing – we just want to play and get through.”