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Wright makes plea to shut transfer window

By Graham Luney

Tommy Wright may have just snapped up goalkeeper Stuart Addis on-loan from Linfield, but he remains fiercely opposed to the January transfer window.

The Lisburn Distillery boss made the move after first choice ‘keeper Philip Matthews suffered a broken toe and Addis could feature in tonight’s Co-operative Insurance Cup quarter-final against Newry City at Ballyskeagh.

Clubs are reluctant to let their big names leave half way through the campaign, but it doesn’t stop them making bold moves.

“This is a crazy time when the window opens and I don’t believe we need it in Northern Ireland,” he said.

“I believe the Irish FA should be contacting Uefa and seeking special dispensation from this rule because it is ridiculous to keep us in line with La Liga and the big leagues like the Premier League in England.

“The timing is not right to let players go and there aren’t too many big transfer deals here that will cause problems for other leagues.

“It becomes a mad month because it’s a close-knit league and players can become unsettled very quickly. This subject has been raised with the IFA before and I don’t see the purpose of the window or how it brings huge benefits to clubs here.”

The big freeze has badly disrupted the local football programme in another Co-Operative Cup quarter-final tie rearranged for this evening, Portadown will host Coleraine.

Both quarter-finals have already been postponed three times, but hopes are high that they will finally be completed tonight, with the semi-final draw due to take place tomorrow.

The fourth of the last eight meetings, between Ballymena United and Crusaders, will take place next Tuesday.

In the Carling Premiership, Donegal Celtic will welcome Cliftonville to Suffolk Road.

The ‘summer football’ debate has come to the surface again, but Wright says that’s too simple an answer to a growing problem.

“Any change as dramatic as that needs to be considered and studied very carefully and it’s not as simple as saying ‘let’s do it’,” he said.

“When the League of Ireland did it most of the clubs were full-time and even though people who aren’t involved in the game think they can come up with this easy answer, the reality is different.

“This is a part-time game and players enjoy having their holidays in the summer. I don’t think the change would suit them or clubs.”

TONIGHT’S FIXTURES (all 7.45pm): Co-operative Insurance Cup quarter finals: Lisburn Distillery v Newry City, Portadown v Coleraine. Carling Premiership: Donegal Celtic v Cliftonville.

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