MOTHERWELL manager Stuart McCall has admitted that he expects to lose one player during the January transfer window. Speculation is rife that the player will be Jamie Murphy but the 23-year-old forward insists he is not letting the transfer talk affect his game.
Murphy scored two and set up another in Motherwell’s emphatic 4-1 win over Aberdeen at Fir Park on Boxing Day. He also missed a penalty in the match but McCall admitted afterwards that he expected watching scouts to be impressed by his player’s performance.
Reports have suggested that League One promotion contenders Sheffield United have already had a December bid rejected by the Scottish Premier League’s third-placed club for the former Scotland under-21 striker. “We’ve spoken [with Motherwell] and I’m sure we’ll speak again,” said the Blades manager Danny Wilson.
It has also been rumoured that the player, who turned down a transfer to Blackpool last January, could be a target for Rangers should he become a free agent when his contract ends in the summer.
However, Murphy, who has now scored ten times this season, says he knows nothing about any interest in his services and that he would have expected chief executive Leann Dempster to inform him if there was something imminent.
“I just expect it now,” Murphy – whose contract runs out at the end of the season – said of the speculation. “It’s the way it has been for three or four transfer windows now, so I just get on with it. If the club received an offer it wanted to accept, I would only become involved at that stage. I have not spoken to Leann and I am sure I would if something happened.”
Henrik Ojamaa, the man of the match against Aberdeen on Wednesday afternoon, has also been linked with a move away from Fir Park, with reports suggesting Polish side Lech Poznan are keen to sign the player.
The Estonia international has 18 months remaining on his deal at Motherwell and McCall feels he would be wise to hang around for a little longer.
“I know he has been linked with the Polish club but he has 18 months left of his contract with us and I have told him that, if he keeps playing like that, clubs at the highest level in England will be looking at him,” McCall added.
“His performance against Aberdeen was probably his sharpest since arriving at the club. He has only managed one goal this season. However, his performances have been very good.”
While he will hope to keep both Murphy and Ojamaa in his squad once the January transfer window closes, the Motherwell manager does expect one of his big names to exit next month.
“The scouts might have come looking at certain individuals, but will have gone away with five or six names,” said McCall.
“I expect to lose one, but no more than one, during January.”
Aberdeen manager Craig Brown vowed his side would bounce back after what he described as an “unacceptable” result at Fir Park. “I didn’t feel we were outplayed,” he said. “Motherwell are probably the best team outwith Celtic and we don’t like losing to them – and we hadn’t in the last three times we played them.
“All of the credit should go to Motherwell for the way they played. If we don’t take the chances we have, then we won’t win the match.
“I’m not clutching at straws. I have told the players that it was an unacceptable result and the humility in the dressing room is there to be seen.”
The Dons had been impressive in beating St Johnstone 2-0 at the weekend, and midfielder Gavin Rae added: “It’s weird how we can play so well at the weekend and then not play so well here,” said Rae. “It was a game where there could have been lots of goals for both teams. The result is massively disappointing, especially after we started the game so well – we have missed unbelievable chances.”