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Football: Loan raider Lee notches one-in-three strike rate.

Promotion-chasing Wolverhampton Wanderers last night beat the transfer deadline to bring in Liverpool goalkeeper Jorgen Nielsen - but failed with two other major loan raids on the Premiership.

Nielsen's Anfield team-mate Oyvind Leonhardsen, and fellow international winger Stan Laziridis, of West Ham, were seriously targeted in a frenetic day of telephone activity.

But, while manager Colin Lee was ultimately frustrated by both deals, he stressed the importance of getting his hands on 27-year-old Dane Nielsen, Liverpool's fourth-choice keeper, for the rest of the campaign following his successful trial in February.

Lee said: "The main thing was getting Nielsen. We had no proper cover for Mike Stowell and that was an absolute must."

Wolves have at least strengthened their squad, as they chase a play-off place, with the replacement keeper they have been after all season as well as adding Wednesday's free-transfer signing, Crystal Palace's former Tottenham winger Andy Turner, and 20-year-old midfielder Darren Middleton, the former Aston Villa youngster. The latter, on trial at Molineux for two months, signed a contract until the end of May.

While disappointed at not landing the big-name loan signing of Laziridis or Leonhardsen, Lee said: "The players we've got have done brilliantly of late and, although we'd like to have bolstered the squad, we didn't want to disrupt anything either.

"I thought I'd cracked it when Harry Redknapp gave me permission to talk to Laziridis. He'd have done us a treat. But he didn't want to drop out of the Premiership."

Not even enlisting the help of a fellow Australian in Wolves' right-back Kevin Muscat could swing any deal for the 26-year-old from Perth.

As for Norwegian wide man Leonhardsen, Lee was similarly stymied. "At one stage, Liverpool were going to let me have him, but he didn't want to. Then, when he changed his mind and said he'd come, Liverpool said 'No'."

Lee said a more encouraging fitness verdict on Steve Bull enabled him to spend his day trying to improve his wide options rather than sign a stand-in striker, his only attempt this week having centred on Middlesbrough teenager Andy Campbell, who opted for Sheffield United.

Bull has shown no sign of any reaction to his successful 90 minutes in the reserves on Monday night, and the 306-goal legend needs only match fitness to hasten his comeback.

"He's not ready really," Lee said. "He still needs four or five games but, in a crisis, at least we know he's there for us. Certainly, my thinking on Bully has got a lot brighter over the past week or so."
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Author:Scott, Ged
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Mar 26, 1999
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