PAUL THOMPSON: Patience needed but the market will soon hot up

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IS anyone else out there counting down to the new season?

Only six weeks to go before the Championship kicks off.

Hillsborough affairs should become livelier between now and then.

The holidays are about to end, and Owls players and staff get back to work next week.

Not that the club have been idle, of course,

Five new signings so far represent only a small amount of the work that has gone on behind the scenes to bring in new players.

Milan Mandaric put out an upbeat message when he said that things are looking positive, and he expects developments after teams resume training and preparations begin in earnest for the August 18 start of the next campaign.

Managers always like to have all their new signings in place for the whole of pre-season, ideally, but it never seems to happen.

So it would not surprise me if it is a while yet before all the Hillsborough incoming deals are done and dusted.

The transfer window is open until the end of August, of course.

Last season provided an example of a summer-long chase not being resolved until after the season had begun.

Despite intense efforts to bring in strikers, the Owls kicked off with only two: Gary Madine and Clinton Morrison.

Chris O’Grady signed three days after the first match of the season, and was injured so could not play immediately. Ryan Lowe came in just before the closure of the window,

A degree of patience may yet be needed, but Dave Jones did not mess about in chasing targets once promotion has been secured, and five new signings so far is more than many clubs have managed. You can bet Jones won’t just have been resting on his ‘holiday’.

In addition to firm developments, the summer is kept interesting across the country by a mixed of rumour, speculation, wishful thinking, stuff that gets around on the football grapevine, and inside information, and without all of that it would be a dull time indeed.

Players who have decided to leave their present clubs have been under contract until June 30 and therefore have been getting paid, under no immediate pressure confirm moves, though some of course are happy to do so, for example Wednesday new boys Anthony Gardner, Kieran Lee, Chris Kirkland and Joe Mattock, with £200,000 Chris Maguire the only buy so far.

Some of the deals that have been done so far underline the sort of things that Wednesday will be up against, both off the field, in terms of competing in the transfer market, and on it in terms of player calibre.

Premier League parachute money gives relegated clubs £12m a year for four years. No wonder the Championship has begun to be regarded as a second division of the Premier League. And there are well-established Championship clubs with an ambition to join the big boys.

Blackburn could afford to buy Leon Best from Newcastle for £3m - with more paid if they win promotion - and sign midfield player Danny Murphy from Fulham plus ex-Portugal striker Nuno Gomes.

No wonder Mandaric has pointed out that it will not be easy next season, but when is it ever?

The chairman has a positive outlook, and it seems that the summer plan has gradually been coming to fruition.