War­bur­ton lauds ‘very tal­ented’ Allan but sticks to task in hand

The Herald - Herald Sport - - FRONT PAGE - MATTHEW LIND­SAY CHIEF FOOTBALL WRITER

MARK WAR­BUR­TON last night un­der­lined his ad­mi­ra­tion for Scott Allan, the Hibs midfielder who Rangers this week had two bids re­jected for, and ad­mit­ted he is keen to sign at least two more play­ers be­fore the close of the trans­fer win­dow.

The Ibrox club are pre­par­ing to in­crease the £225,000 of­fered to the Easter Road club, their op­po­nents in the first round of the Petro­fac Train­ing Cup in Leith this af­ter­noon, for the Cham­pi­onship player of the year on Thurs­day.

War­bur­ton de­clined to com­ment on the sit­u­a­tion with the 23-year-old, a boy­hood Rangers sup­porter who is out of con­tract at the end of the 2015/16 cam­paign and has told the cap­i­tal club he wants to leave, out of re­spect to Hibs.

How­ever, the English­man, who made his ninth sign­ing since be­ing ap­pointed last month on Wed­nes­day when he brought in Jason Holt, has ad­mit­ted he is an ad­mirer of the for­mer Dundee United and West Brom man.

The for­mer Brent­ford man­ager has stressed he is still look­ing to strengthen his squad fur­ther to in­crease their chances of win­ning the Lad­brokes Cham­pi­onship this sea­son and se­cur­ing pro­mo­tion to the Scot­tish top flight.

“The club made a bid so there is ob­vi­ously in­ter­est,” said War­bur­ton. “There is al­ways in­ter­est at a club like Rangers in im­prov­ing the qual­ity of the squad. But he’s not my player, he’s a Hibs player. If any­one was talk­ing about one of my play­ers I would be more than irate. So it’s not for me to talk about another club’s player. All I worry about is football here. Football coach­ing and team man­age­ment, that’s my job.

“I spoke to Alan [Stubbs, the Hibs man­ager] this week and he made their stance very clear to me. I re­spect­fully said: ‘He’s not my player, he’s your player, so I won’t be talk­ing about one of your play­ing staff’. I never have done that and I never will do.

“I let the pow­ers that be do the dif­fi­cult stuff. My job is to man­age the team and look af­ter our squad of play­ers. I think it’s re­ally in­ap­pro­pri­ate for any man­ager or coach to talk about another team’s staff. Un­less he’s in­jured and we don’t know about it, we’ll pre­sume he’ll play against us. He’s a good player, a very tal­ented player. There’s no doubt about that. He is a big in­flu­ence for them, whether he plays wide on the left or comes in­side.”

War­bur­ton added: “I think we are still maybe one or two short of where we want to be. The squad is tak­ing good shape quickly and we are try­ing to bed some play­ers in. Hope­fully we get that pa­tience we need, but we are one or two away from the ideal squad.

“You never stop look­ing to add qual­ity to any squad. If you do, then you are fin­ished as a club. You al­ways need to keep look­ing to chal­lenge the play­ers. If you can bet­ter within your bud­get, you keep do­ing it. We’re not that far away. There will pos­si­bly be a cou­ple of loan deals but it’s about what rep­re­sents value for us. Loans we did at Brent­ford even­tu­ally be­came per­ma­nent deals. If that’s some­thing we can do, we will look to de­velop re­la­tion­ships with the selling clubs.”

John Eus­tace, the ex­pe­ri­enced English midfielder, re­mains on trial at Mur­ray Park and War­bur­ton re­vealed he is still in con­tention for a per­ma­nent deal af­ter re­cov­er­ing from a knee in­jury.

“John is train­ing re­ally well,” he said. “He’s mak­ing good progress and is look­ing to come back to squad train­ing in a few days. When he has, it’s another hur­dle over­come and we’ll see how he does in the next short pe­riod.”

MAK­ING HIS POINT

‘Un­less he’s in­jured and we don’t know about it, we’ll pre­sume he’ll play against us’

WAR­BUR­TON: The Rangers man­ager ad­mits the club are ‘maybe one or two play­ers short of where we want to be’ as he pre­pares his side for the Petro­fac Train­ing Cup visit to Easter Road this lunchtime

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