Hoolahan in demand as window closes

Kevin Doyle joins QPR on loan, Keogh links up with Blackpool

Wes Hoolahan endured a difficult last night of the transfer window as West Brom and Newcastle United expressed interest in signing the midfielder but neither seemed willing to come up with the fee that Norwich wanted to let him go.

Shane Long’s former club bid to take the 31 year-old on loan yesterday afternoon and Newcastle are reported to have made an enquiry about later but City were keen to sell rather loan him out and while was talk of a last minute rekindling of the Aston Villa move, the Dubliner’s hopes of getting away receded over the course of the night.

It leaves the Ireland international in an uncomfortable position with the player having made deeply disparaging remarks about the club this week to a TV reporter and it may be that the club now seek to make a temporary peace in order that he is of some use to them between now and the summer at which point a satisfactory exit route can be found.

Earlier in the day Kevin Doyle had tied up a loan move to QPR where the 30 year-old striker will get a welcome chance to make a fresh start under Harry Redknapp who was enthusiastic about the Irish man's arrival.


“I like Kevin,” said the former Tottenham Hotspur boss. “He’s a good pro and a good lad who needs to get his career up and running again. He was a good player at Reading and my sides have played against him many times. This is a great opportunity for him. I like him a lot – he’s a good player and a good person. He’ll be a key addition to the squad.”

Doyle had been in talks with Middlesbrough but the striker is believed to have been keen on a permanent move as opposed to a loan and the negotiations dragged on. The Londoners were then hit by an injury to top scorer Charlie Austin this week and Doyle, who has scored just three goals in 25 appearances, 16 of them starts, for Wolves this year has been the beneficiary.

“It was all agreed pretty quickly,” he said yesterday. “I jumped at the chance to come here to be honest. The club’s in a great position for a tilt at promotion and I can’t wait to be part of it. It was a massive draw to know I’ll be part of a promotion push and obviously the manager played a huge role in my decision to come here as well.

“The squad here have enjoyed a really positive first half of the season and everyone is looking forward to tomorrow (today’s lunchtime game against fellow promotion chasers, Burnley). It’s a big game and I’m just looking forward to hopefully being involved in some capacity.”

Shay Given, meanwhile, has been told that he will have to return to Villa Park at the end of February despite making it abundantly clear that he would have preferred to have stayed at Middlesbrough until the end of the season.

The Championship side are keep to keep him too but if they extend his loan beyond the emergency one he is currently on Villa would have to waive the right to recall him at 24 hours notice in the event that Brad Guzman or Jed Steer were injured. The 37-year-old could, however, leave for a different club on another emergency loan after he returns.

Elsewhere, Andy Keogh was on the move again yesterday, leaving Millwall for a loan spell in Blackpool; young Manchester United striker Sam Byrne has gone to Carlisle United, also until the end of the campaign and veteran striker David Connolly has joined Oxford United from Portsmouth, where he had scored five times this season, again until the summer.

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone is Work Correspondent at The Irish Times