Bradford City manager Mark Hughes admitted that he thought the League Two side had missed out in their late pursuit for Norwich City defender Jon Tomkinson, reports the Telegraph & Argus.
The Bantams were left waiting until Wednesday to announce the season-long loan signing of the Championship centre-back, five days after the transfer window had officially shut.
Hughes revealed he was not overly optimistic that the EFL would sanction the move, as clubs rushed to get deals over the line before Friday’s 11 pm deadline.
There was disappointment elsewhere in the fourth tier as Wrexham apologised to Harrogate Town striker Luke Armstrong, with the Welsh club determining there was no reasonable chance of success if they appealed their failed move for the forward.
Tomkinson’s arrival at Valley Parade will likely lead to a departure from the club, as transfer restrictions do not apply to non-league sides, with Timi Odusina reportedly attracting interest from the National League.
The 23-year-old has made just seven first-team appearances since his move from Hartlepool United in 2022.
Meanwhile American-born Tomkinson will be aiming to build on his loan spell in the second half of last season, as he helped Stevenage achieve promotion from this level.
What’s been said?
“I wasn’t optimistic at all,” the 59-year-old Bantams boss said.
“All the paperwork has to go in and if you’ve done that in time there’s a far greater chance of getting it done. But then we had to wait.
“We did everything we possibly could at our end and it was just a case of the league checking through it all and making sure it was all in before the deadline then they could sanction it.
“It looked like it wasn’t going to happen. But everything has been resolved and, in fairness, we’ve had great help from Norwich.
“They’ve obviously wanted Jon to have the opportunity to come to us and were really good in terms of making it happen from their end.”
On the impact the young defender can make in West Yorkshire, Hughes added: “He’s a good, young player who has also had some games at League Two level.
“He’s a good size, quick and is obviously well thought of at his parent club so we thought we’d try and do it.
“If we can bring in good players and allow them to prosper, then we get help as well. We’re pleased that he’s here.
“We’ll take our time with him and integrate him into the group. Then he should be ready to go.
“It was just whether or not we felt we needed the cover.
“Ash (Taylor) isn’t back yet but we don’t think it’s going to be long. He trained on Tuesday so we’re reasonably covered in that area.
“It was just a good opportunity to get a player that we’d like to work with.”
The longer this saga went on, the more likely it appeared that the deal would not go through, but Mark Hughes will be delighted to add some extra cover in that position.
I’m sure the situation developing at Wrexham did not help settle nerves as he was forced to patiently wait for the EFL’s decision.
It doesn’t appear as though Tomkinson will be rushed into first-team proceedings at Bradford, however, he is clearly highly thought of by his parent club, with the 21-year-old contracted until the summer of 2025.