OWEN Coyle stands by his decision not to recruit “quick fix” signings in the January window to bail the club out of relegation trouble.
Despite being offered cash to spend by Eddie Davies, the Wanderers boss opted to invest in unproven younger players such as Tim Ream, Ryo Miyaichi and Marvin Sordell.
His decision is paying dividends, with three straight wins hauling the Whites out of the bottom three ahead of tomorrow’s home clash with Fulham.
Coyle accepts he will be judged on whether he can keep the club out of trouble over the next eight games – but vowed to continue resisting the temptation to spend big on experienced talent, as his predecessors did with Nicolas Anelka and Johan Elmander, the two most expensive signings in the club's history.
“Of course, if there are players of that calibre, then you’d love to have them,” he said of Anelka and Elmander’s example. “But in the right circumstances.
“There isn’t an endless pit of money and I think any club should be able to run under its own steam.
“It isn’t easy, but sometimes I think you have to be brave, and who’s to say that further down the line if there are good, young players out there who fall into those transfer fees that they won’t be available to you because of the sound footing you’ve given the football club? That’s the way I'd like it to go.”
Part of Coyle’s remit when he arrived at the club just over two years ago was to streamline an ageing squad, and a disproportionate wage bill inherited from Gary Megson.
Ten first-team players are out of contract this summer, and depending on the club’s league situation, it is likely supporters will get a more accurate picture of the grand plan over the coming months.
Chairman Phil Gartside has already stated publicly that – come what may – Coyle will be in charge at the start of next season.
And the manager remains steadfast in his belief that recruiting younger players – who crucially retain value in the transfer market – is the way forward.
“It would be very easy to look for a quick fix and sign ready-made players at 31 or 32 who you are guaranteed to get a good two years or 18 months from,” he said. “But then you are back to square one.
“I have never had that way of doing things. My belief has always been in investing transfer fees on younger players. I rarely, if ever, spend money on a player over 24 years of age.
“If there are Bosmans or loans then of course, we’ll look at that market. We’ve had some good players in that respect. But in terms of investing, it has been on younger players.”
Wanderers have invested heavily at Academy level and hope that the recent addition of Sammy Lee at youth level will also bear fruit.
And with that longer-term view, Coyle, pictured, is also aware a degree of patience will be needed, both at boardroom level and on the terraces.
“The quick fix is that you go and buy players who have played in the Premier League for six, seven, eight years but within that comes huge salary and cost,” he said.
“Have I sacrificed a bit of progress for that? Yes. But it’s in the belief that in the long term, this club will be better placed.
“You accept you’ll be judged on the short term but I’m very fortunate in that I have an owner, Eddie Davies, and a chairman, Phil Gartside, who know I have got a plan to put in place.”