Jim Goodwin concedes that Dundee United’s search for a centre-back has been a frustrating one following talks with “numerous” players.
With the Tangerines’ squad almost at full strength – only Declan Gallagher and Sadat Anaku are missing – Goodwin doesn’t foresee a hectic deadline day at Tannadice.
However, he would like to sign a right-footed defender to provide depth and balance to his back-line options following Ollie Denham’s return to Cardiff City.
While calm about the situation if United were to fail in their pursuit, Goodwin is ready for the chase to go down to the wire.
“We are still searching for one,” said Goodwin. “We’d like a centre-half in. That’s the only area where we are a little light, with Ollie Denham going back to Cardiff.
“We have Ross (Graham) and Kevin Holt available, and Declan Gallagher is a couple of weeks away. But that’s the only area that – if the right target was to become available – we would look to strengthen.”
He added: “It hasn’t been easy; I’ll be honest. We’ve spoken to numerous players over the last month or two and it has been a challenge. I know from speaking to other managers that they are all in the same boat.
“They are all looking for similar players and there isn’t a great deal out there. But we’ll keep working at it and, if something moves in the next 48 hours, we are able to do something.”
Exit door ajar?
Goodwin has also hinted that there could be outgoings at Tannadice.
While reluctant to pinpoint individuals, there are clearly some players who have been limited to bit-part roles and – with several entering the final months of their deals – may want more action.
Kieran Freeman has only featured seven times this term, with his last outing coming on November 4.
Mark Birighitti can be recalled from his short-term loan with Kilmarnock if a permanent offer is tabled from elsewhere.
Mathew Cudjoe has grown increasingly frustrated in recent months but is determined to fight for his place.
There are also promising youngsters who could be loaned out, albeit those could be done after the window for permanent transfers closes.
“We’ve not had enquiries about any of the lads,” continued Goodwin. “But there is a day or two left in the window and we’ll see what happens.
“There are obviously guys who would like to play more football and can see how difficult it would be to get in our starting 11, given the quality of player available to us.
“So, there is scope for one or two within the squad to go out and we’ve had a couple of conversations with certain individuals.”