Owls: Cook deal collapses

No go: QPR winger Lee Cook turns down move to Owls
No go: QPR winger Lee Cook turns down move to Owls

SHEFFIELD Wednesday last night failed in a beat-the-deadline bid to take QPR winger Lee Cook on loan with a view to a full transfer.

The two clubs had agreed on the deal but the player said no a few hours before the 11pm deadline.

It is believed that Cook decided he did not want to rush into it and has not given up hope of getting into the Loftus Road first-team reckoning.

Chairman Milan Mandaric told The Star that the Owls are disappointed, but the market for emergency loans opens in a week’s time and they are not giving up on Cook or two or three other possible targets.

Mandaric explained last night: “Everything was done between the clubs and the deal was ready to be closed.”

Talks were set up between Cook and Alan Irvine, as the final step in the process, but the player, who is just back from injury, then told the Owls manager that he preferred to remain at QPR for the time being.

Mandaric added: “We negotiated very hard but then the player pulled out.

“We’re disappointed, all of us, myself, Paul Aldridge (vice-chairman) and Alan, but we’re not giving up.

“There will be opportunities for us in the near future under the loan system.

“We’re not giving up on that one [the Cook issue] and there are another two or three players that we shall be looking at in the next few days, on a loan basis.”

Mandaric had hoped to bring in six players during the January window and he went close, signing five: Reda Johnson, Michael Morrison, Mark Reynolds, Gary Madine and Isaiah Osbourne.

Osbourne, on loan from Villa for the rest of the season, is in contention for a debut at Peterborough tonight.

Yesterday’s deadline was for full transfers and half-season loans but Football League clubs can still arrange emergency loans from next week and Wednesday will hope for a change of mind from Cook.

Speculation continues about Irvine’s future but Mandaric has continued to give support.

It is understood that even if the Owls lose tonight, the Owls boss will not suffer the same fate as his predecessor, Brian Laws.

Laws was sacked on the day after a 3-0 defeat at Leicester, Mandaric’s former club, in December, 2009.

Tonight’s game pits Irvine against a manager who, at that time, was a possible candidate for the Hillsborough job: Darren Ferguson.