Bree at Portman Road as Town Close in on Loan Signing
Thursday, 31st Jan 2019 14:54
TWTD understands Aston Villa’s James Bree is at Portman Road as the Blues close in on signing the 21-year-old on loan.
News that Town were targeting the former Barnsley man broke earlier this afternoon with manager Paul Lambert remaining tight-lipped at his press conference when quizzed about the Wakefield-born defender.
Bree has made only eight Championship appearances for Villa this season having joined them from the Tykes in January 2017. He is contracted until the summer of 2021.
Blues boss Paul Lambert has previously said a right-back was one of his January targets with Norwich’s Ivo Pinto linked earlier today, although that report appears more speculative with Bree set to become Town’s seventh signing during the window and sixth loanee.
Bree’s recruitment is likely to see on-loan Everton defender Matthew Pennington leave the Blues to join Derby on loan for the second half of the season with a view to the move being turned into a permanent switch in the summer.
Speaking at his lunchtime press conference, manager Lambert reiterated that he didn't like having more than five loan players at the club with only five permitted in a matchday squad.
“To me it shows up the loan system for what it is," he said. "It’s incredible, you have maybe six loans or seven loans but you can only have five in a matchday squad.
“That’s why I said before that the loan system isn’t healthy. Maybe one or two is totally fine, but not this because you’re always having to manage that scenario.
“For a manager it’s not a great scenario to be in. But by the same token you have to get guys that you think can try and help as well but you’ve also got the disappointment of leaving one or two out and then clubs can ask why they’re not playing.
“It creates something that you could do without and that’s why I’ve said the club’s got to get back to getting its own players, whether it’s young players coming through, great, even better if that happens. Or we have to go and try and buy. One or two loans is fine but this scenario is no good.”
Asked whether he would consider signing a sixth loanee today, having remained tight-lipped when quizzed about his interest in Bree, he added: “If I thought it was right and things started to move then you’d have to look at it, but again there’s loads of scenarios with loans, salary-wise those sorts of thing.
“Six players, seven players, in a matchday squad you can only pick five. The clubs get involved saying, ‘Why’s he not playing, why’s this one not playing’.
"You’ve got all those sort of things, that’s why the loan system for me [doesn’t work]. One or two maximum, not more. But that’s the way the club is at the minute, but we’ll hopefully rectify that.”
If he does end up with six, how would he prefer to deal with that, send one of the loanees back, as looks set to be the case with Pennington, or manage the situation for the remaining months of the season?
“It’s a bit of both really," he reflected. "But again, it's a difficult one to manage, what you think is right and what you think is wrong, for a number of reasons.
“The minuses outweigh the pluses when you have too many loans, I think that’s the way to view it."
Photo: Action Images
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