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MANAGER: Looking to add a defender

20 February 2014

Graham Kavanagh on his current crop of loanees

United manager Graham Kavanagh spoke to us today about the ongoing attempts to add a central defender to the group and about the impact his current crop of loan signings has had on the squad.

“We are still looking to bring someone in but there’s been a problem with the club in question,” he said. “They’ve got a couple of injuries, and things like that, so we’ve had to delay it. I’m still hoping something will happen next week. 

“He’s a lad who is sought after but I’ve got a good relationship with his manager and I think he is happy for him to come to us.”

“It is a loan deal that we were looking to take through until the end of the season,” he explained. “It hasn’t happened this week, which is disappointing, but I’ve explained before that it’s sometimes difficult to get deals done. 

“You do find that snags can crop up so we just have to march on and hope that we can get it over the line next week. I’ve just had word that they expect to get a player in next week so it should still go ahead. 

“I can confirm he’s a central defender because I think everyone knows the centre of defence is an area we need to strengthen. We’ve got Sean O’Hanlon, Courtney Meppen-Walter and Paul Thirlwell to do that job at the moment and Thir is now injured. That means it’s definitely an area we have to address.”

And on Villa forward Michael Drennan, who returned to his parent club after the Coventry City game, he said: “We were hopeful of getting an extension done with Michael but we then thought we had this defender in place to come in.

“I was conscious of the fact that we’d have had six loan players in the squad, had that deal happened, and that was why we allowed him to go back. It looks like that might have shot us in the foot a little bit but the situation is what it is. We just have to get on with it. 

“Michael has shown everyone that he can handle this level and with just a little bit of luck he would have gone away with two fantastic goals on his tally. The two shots he had which hit the woodwork were out of this world so I’m sure it will happen for him soon.”

On the loan players currently with the squad, he said: “I think they are really starting to understand our style of play and the way we want to approach things. You do sometimes take a bit of a punt when you bring young players in but the crop we have now have been magnificent. 

“Jordan [Pickford] has come in and he has been different class. He’s very confident, he commands his box and he makes saves. It often looks like he controls his area beyond his years and he’s one I think will only get better and better.

“Charni [Ekangamene] has been asked to play two or three different roles and he hasn’t let me down yet. I think he prefers the holding role, where he can see everything in front of him, but he has been effective with each job he’s done. He’s another who is settling and improving all the time.

“Danny [Redmond] has brought something different to what we have here at the club. He sees things very quickly and he forces people to make runs with the passes he threads through. He’s not the biggest or quickest but he’s incredibly brave and he pulls strings when he’s involved in the middle of the park. He catches the eye because of his work rate and he looks like he’s enjoying his football.

“Sam [Byrne] is one that I am particularly excited by. He hasn’t been on anyone’s radar but we decided that we wanted to take a chance on him. He had a big reputation in Ireland and that got him his move to Manchester United. Things have been a little bit stop start for him since then but we’ve got him here and he has thoroughly enjoyed himself. 

“I spoke to him on the team bus after the game on Tuesday night and he was amazed at the number of text messages he got to congratulate him on what he’d done. It was also the first time he’d seen himself on TV scoring a goal and I think the whole experience of being part of a first team environment has given him a completely new outlook on the game. I think I can safely say that he loves it here which is full credit to everybody involved. He is one we would like to look at and work with going beyond this season but we have to remember he’s still a Manchester United player and we can’t second guess anything.

“Hopefully all of the lads will continue to learn and develop and we will all reap the benefit from that.”

United Player subscribers can see a video interview with Graham Kavanagh now. Click HERE to go to the Player platform. Follow the same link for more information on United Player, and to subscribe.

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