Could be an important window for us.
We'll have to have a good shot at getting rid of the dead lumber still left at the club.
Richards contract will be up in the summer, that will save us £3+million a season, although Grealish's new bumper pay packet will take care of a big proportion of that.
My suggestion would be to get rid of, if possible, those towards the end of their careers and bring in younger replacements, just in case we pick up a transfer embargo as well as a fine for failing to meet FFP rules.
I think the January window will have to be one for permanent deals and not one of loans.
Diego Reyes is without a club at the moment, having left Porto at the beginning of July. I know he had an injured hamstring towards the end of the season but, it would be worth having him in for a medical check.
At 25/6 years of age, he's played over 350 club games and 55 international games for Mexico, mostly all at centreback. He has played a handful of games as a DM.
Out of contract, we could get him for free.
At leftback, I'm pretty sure we'd stand a good chance of getting Ajax's Daley Sinkgraven on loan. Ajax have just picked up Daley Blind from Man U. This will mean Sinkgraven losing his first choice spot as leftback. We might even get him on a loan to buy deal.
With Mr. Smith's preference for players who can pass a ball smoothly, I'd expect him to like Bree and DeLaet as a pairing over Hutton and Elmohamady.
There are a few centrebacks and leftbacks around, who are good passers of the ball.
Jedinak and Whelan are going to need to be replaced.
I do like George Thorne of Derby, he has a very wide range of passing ability, from a five yarder to 70/80 yards. He can play three central midfield roles, from the deep lying puppet master, through a more traditional central midfield role, to playing as an attacking midfield creator.
Nick Powell of Wigan could make a good partnership with Scott Hogan I think.
Reckon Hutton's passing is better than he's usually given credit for. He does a decent job for us. This may be his last year for us, it's an area where we need to build for the future, but I don't see a hurry to replace him.
Been reading the b.mail's take on possible signings, which include a number of young loanees in the Bruce mould of things. Think they're wide of the mark. Reckon Smith will limit signings to those areas where we're critically short, like CB. He might go for a LB but think it would depend on finding the right player who would be a definite improvement. Otherwise, I think he'll concentrate on sorting out what we've got. Hope so.
A lot of people misjudge whether a cross is good or bad by if a goal or goal chance is created.
A good cross is one that is put into a position where it can be attacked.
Many good crosses are unrecognised as such because of the failure of a forward to read it and attack it.
There are of course different ways to cross a ball that require different placements to create the best chances.
Corners and or freekicks from out wide for example, normally have most success from being aimed at the corners of the six and eighteen yard boxes, the points where the D meets the eighteen yard line and the penalty spot.
Crosses best described as taken 'on the run', are normally most successful when driven across seven or eight yards from the goal-line. The area of uncertainty for goalkeepers. Also the cross towards the far corner of the six-yard box. Otherwise balls pulled back from close to the bye-line towards the penalty spot, or the points where the 'D' meets the eighteen yard line.
Whether any of these crosses are good, 'successful', depends on if the ball delivered is attacked.