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