ARGYLE manager Derek Adams held his hands up after Argyle’s pursuit of Everton midfielder Conor Grant ended in frustration for everyone involved in the deal that never happened.
Conor, 22, had been scheduled to join the Pilgrims on loan until the end of the season before it was discovered, late on in the process, that the young midfielder had already played for two teams this season and, under football regulations, was unable to join a third.
Conor’s loan to League Two Crewe Alexandra was well known. What had bypassed everyone was an earlier solitary appearance for Everton in this season’s Checkatrade Trophy.
“It was an oversight,” said Derek.“The football management team have got to take full responsibility, ourselves and Everton. Everton obviously knew he had played in the Checkatrade Trophy and knew he had been out on loan.
“We didn’t double-check that he had played in the Checkatrade Trophy. We knew the rules, but we didn’t know he had played in the Checkatrade for one game.”
As the rules stand, Derek is not alone in believing that they do not necessarily serve the best interests of the party at the centre of the issue, the players.
He said: “I thought the rules were going to be changed this season because it is difficult for the development of Premier League youngsters.
“Everton want to enter the [Checkatrade Trophy]; they might get knocked out after three games and then the players can’t go out to develop – they can go out to one club, but they can’t go out to two clubs, when they might do well at one club lower down, like Crewe, and then they might try to step up to League One.
“The rule has to change. Will it change? I’m not sure because it might be UEFA that will stop that.
“It’s a shame for the player because we were going to give him that opportunity but he’s fallen foul of the rules.
“Everybody knows the rules. It doesn’t mean to say that we agree with them but they are there to govern the game.”
Meanwhile, Argyle’s desire to bring in talent before Wednesday’s closure of the transfer window is undiminished.
“We are working hard,” said Derek. “We worked hard on the Conor Grant one. Everton and ourselves were talking for a good period of time.
“We have still got a few irons in the fire at other clubs.”