Butcher: ‘Reputation on the line’ over January signings

Terry Butcher has some thinking to do
Terry Butcher has some thinking to do
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Terry Butcher today admitted he shares the frustration of Hibs fans over the lack of January arrivals but again insisted he won’t make signings simply for the sake of it, declaring: “Our reputation is on the line.”

While only eight days of the transfer window remaining, Butcher has yet to clinch a deal, leaving supporters looking enviously at the likes of Ross County, where the Staggies manager Derek Adams has signed five new players already.

Partick Thistle have also been active, Alan Archibald snapping up Lyle Taylor, Lee Mair and Chris Erskine on fresh loan deals, but Butcher is adamant the lack of activity at Easter Road hasn’t been for the want of trying, with chief scout Steve Marsella again spending this week in England eyeing up possible targets.

Butcher is conscious of the fact that he, Marsella and his assistant Maurice Malpas were renowned for their shrewd transfer moves at Inverness Caledonian Thistle and he said: “I can see the fans saying you’ve got Steve in and you had a good record at Caley.

“But we did not bring in a lot of players in January, all our work was done in the summer.”

Nevertheless Butcher has conceded he’d like to see fresh talent arrive before the month is out although, again, he’s been adamant signings would be more likely to be made in the second half of the window.

And while County and Partick have made their moves, it’s been against a background of both of those clubs battling to haul themselves away from the relegation play-off spot. Butcher’s agenda, though, is different. His aim is to push Hibs into the Scottish Premiership’s top six and, to that end, he’s determined any fresh arrivals have a positive impact.

A tight budget, though, will also determine the extent of any dealings as underlined by the fact former Caley striker Adam Rooney is set to join Aberdeen from Oldham Athletic.

Butcher revealed his former player would have been of interest to him, but said: “We’re not able to pay money for him. I believe he’s looking for a permanent deal and we’re looking more to loans.

“Ross County have brought in loads of players. I do not know what budget they are working to or what they are doing, but they have certainly splashed the cash on that front. We have a different agenda in that we are trying to get into the top six, but it’s still about winning football matches and giving yourself the best possible chance. Also, we need to get people in who are going to influence the team and have an impact, not just coming in to be part of it.

“We don’t have a lot of cash. A lot was spent in the early part of the season and we have to be prudent and careful in what we do. It has to be the right person. It may well be a youngster, it may be someone on loan, maybe this or that. We are still working, but it has to be right. Our reputation is on the line and while we are confident we can do so, it’s easier said than done.

“But I can understand the frustration and disappointment of the fans because it’s something we have wanted to do.”