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Looking ahead to January



The January transfer window always seems a bit mental. With it being the last decent chance to bring in new players, we often see managers panic and bring in an entire team of players, the footballing equivalent of throwing a ton of stuff at a wall and hoping some of it will stick. There are also inevitably some unexpected arrivals, and some unexpected departures too. So frankly, predicting what will happen is a mug's game.

But we're going to do it anyway, because, you know. Let's have a look at who each Premiership side might punt, and which areas they need to strengthen in...

Outs? Have the Dons given up on Chris Forrester already? The midfielder has made just a single start for the club after joining for £150,000 in the summer, though he did make his first appearance for more than two months against Dundee in midweek. Derek McInnes will have been gutted that Max Lowe, the loanee who has excelled in recent weeks at left-back, has been recalled by Derby County. However he may well look to end James Wilson's spell at the club early with the Manchester United forward having failed to impress. Oh, and don't forget Greg Tansey who has been out injured but was out of favour anyway.

Ins? A left-back to replace Lowe is a necessity unless the Dons want to play Andrew Considine there for the rest of the year. Central defensive reinforcements may be needed if Michael Devlin can't get over a foot problem. A pacey wide player would add a new dimension. And of course a centre-forward who scores regularly - unless Sam Cosgrove can keep up his recent form.

Outs? The recent injury crisis may mean Brendan Rodgers has to hold on to some players just for the sake of having numbers. But there appears to be no future at the club for Marvin Compper, Cristian Gamboa, Scott Allan or Kundai Benyu. Might they try to cash in on Dedryck Boyata before his contract runs out in the summer?

Ins? Rodgers has intimated he wants to upgrade three or four positions in January. Another option up front is a necessity. Right-back has looked like a weak area all season too.

Outs? This is Jim McIntyre's chance to move on anyone he inherited who he doesn't rate. That group will probably include midfielders Karl Madianga and Elton Ngwatala and forwards Sofien Moussa and Jean-Alassane Mendy. Adil Nabi's contract is up in January and unlikely to be extended, while Andy Boyle's loan also runs out; it's unclear whether he and Ryan Inniss (who could be sent back south early) have done enough to impress the new boss.

Ins? Aside maybe central midfield, the Dark Blues could justifiably seek reinforcements in every position. There is a dire need for new central defenders.

Outs? Summer signings Sam Kelly, Aaron Smith and Kieran Monlouis have barely registered on the radar so far this season so one wonders if they have any future at the club.. It wouldn't be a surprise to Mason Bloomfield's loan terminated early. Jan Mucha is only on a short-term deal but given he is already first choice keeper you'd expect Accies to try and extend his contract.

Ins? Martin Canning has already stated his intention to sign a couple of players. It wouldn't be January if Hamilton didn't sign a Dutchman or Greek who went on to barely play for the first team...

Outs? Danny Amankwaa appears to be completely out of favour after a brief return to the lineup in the Autumn. However, the Jambos will hope to extend the loan contract of Jimmy Dunne, which runs out in January. Expect a number of young players to be loaned out.

Ins? Czech striker David Vanecek will join on after signing a pre-contract in the summer.

Outs? Charis Mavrias' short-term contract will be up. However they will hope to extend Emmerson Hyndman's loan deal.

Ins? Given that Neil Lennon pulled a few rabbits out of the hat this time last year, it wouldn't be a surprise if there were one or two interesting new faces. Gillingham striker Tom Eaves has recently been linked.

Outs? Jack Byrne has already left for Shamrock Rovers. The loans of Bright Enobakhare and Mikael Ndjoli are both up in January but the latter has proven a useful squad player and might be kept on. Ross Millen's short-term deal also runs out.

Ins? Steve Clarke may find it hard to improve on his current best XI and though he has a great track record of convincing decent players to join his project he may feel that any depth concerns can be dealt with by youngsters returning from loan spells.

Outs? Egli Kaja has returned to parent club AFC Wimbledon. Otherwise expect Gary Holt to try and keep the squad he has.

Ins? Could ex-Lion Stefan Scougall come back for a second spell? Otherwise the club will think hard before risking disrupting the current team with newcomers.

Outs? Andy Rose will join Vancouver Whitecaps once the window opens. Forward George Newell's development seems to have stalled and it would be no surprise to see him leave, at least on loan. Connor Sammon's spell at the club has gone as well as most predicted, but it may be that Hearts refuse to take him back early!

Ins? Unless Trevor Carson's return is well before the end of the season they may look for an experienced keeper to compete with Mark Gillespie. The Steelmen would probably also prefer not to need to play Richard Tait out of position at left-back if they could avoid it.

Outs? Umar Sadiq's exit was hardly a surprise. But Ovie Ejaria had started 23 games this season before he returned to Liverpool. Though his performances had dropped off, it leaves Rangers short in that area. Further departures will surely only be the result of unrefusable (is that a word?) offers for the likes of James Tavernier or Alfredo Morelos.

Ins? Steven Gerrard has already made it clear he wants several new faces in this window, though Dominic Solanke and Kieran Dowell seem optimistic targets. Steven Davis has been linked with a return to Ibrox having captained Rangers prior to liquidation.

Outs? Stefan Scougall has been told to find a new club after failing to live up to expectations in his 18 months at the club. Greg Hurst can go too. Tristan Nydam has confirmed he will return to parent club Ipswich, while young midfielders Kyle McClean and Ali McCann will be loaned out.

Ins? Whilst Saints have managed much better than expected after losing Drey Wright for the season, they could do with finding a pacy wide player to take over his role in the side. Tommy Wright might also look for another striker to take the pressure off Tony Watt.

Outs? This will be Oran Kearney's chance to clear house and get rid of a bunch of has-beens and never-weres signed by Alan Stubbs. Matty Willock is already gone, and expect Josh Heaton, Alfie Jones, Cole Kpekawa and Cody Cooke to be moved on if possible. Goalkeeper Dean Lyness and midfielder Adam Hammill are both out of contract next month, though the club will be desperate to keep the latter.

Ins? Expect the Buddies to be very active; frankly, it's hard to think of an area of the park they wouldn't consider strengthening.

Lawrie Spence has ranted and spouted his ill-informed opinions on Narey's Toepoker since September 2007.  He has a life outside this blog.  Honestly.

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