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Transfer deal imminent

Filed: Monday, 8th September 2003
By: Graeme Howlett

West Ham look set to strengthen their squad before Saturday's visit of Reading - irrespective of whether a new manager is brought in or not.

Caretaker boss Trevor Brooking revealed earlier today that the Hammers are poised to complete a move for one of two Newcastle full-backs - either Robbie Elliott or Wayne Quinn, both currently out of favour on Tyneside.

And he also revealed that the Hammers narrowly missed out on signing Celtic's Stephen Crainey as a result of the closure of the Scottish transfer window.

"The likes of Robbie Elliot and Wayne Quinn I think we need because of Rufus Brevett's injury. I am sure we will try and get one of those in before Saturday.

"Crainey is out of it now because the shop window affects Scottish clubs - but Celtic weren't really prepared to let him go."

The two full-backs are behind French defender Olivier Bernard in the pecking order at St.James Park - ironic that, considering that Bernard himself could well have been plying his trade at the Boleyn had his rather bizarre transfer to West Ham not fallen through at the last minute at the beginning of the 2002/03 season.

As for the appointment of a new manager - and the inevitable demand for players that he would bring - Brooking added:

!We are short of at least three players in the squad and it is not ideal to bring people in at the moment until you are sure what the managerial situation is going to be - because they might obviously have someone in mind.

"So you don't want to lock up too many extra people unless you are sure they are going to be the right ones."

With the Hammers currently preparing to launch a second bid to secure the services of current Reading boss Alan Pardew current incumbent Brooking looks certain to remain in charge for this weekend's visit of the Royals.

Thus far those Hammers away on international duty have come through unscathed - although with all countries preparing for another fixture this week that situation could still change.

Here's Brooking:

"There will be a roll call on Thursday. It is a bit of a shame because Reading aren't affected by that and have been training pretty regularly with their consistent squad, working on us - whereas we won't have everyone together until Friday morning."

Robbie Elliott

Joined Bolton from Newcastle in a 2.5m deal in 1997 before moving back to the North East on a free transfer in 2001. Has made just 44 appearances since (all competitions) scoring 1 goal in the process.

Wayne Quinn

A former England under-21, Quinn joined Newcastle in an 800,000 switch from Sheffield United in 2001 since when he has made just 19 appearances. Spent the earlier part of 2003 back on loan with his former club where he made 10 appearances in all competitions.

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