As usual the press are linking us with more players than we can possibly need and, as we know, most of it can be discounted. However the negotiating interplay is becoming fascinating.

Ian Holloway is doing exactly what he should be doing – getting the best price for his man. Considering the sort of price Blackpool pay for a player (buttons), an extra two or three million would be invaluable to these very astute spotters of talent. Holloway could probably buy an entire team for that.

Holloway also appears to have the necessary brashness needed to taunt buyers into paying over the odds. O’Neill (excuse me) would already be at six million for Adam, maybe seven, bless his little frem-like heart. Don’t get bent out of shape by this, it’s just business. Fortunately, Houllier appears unconcerned by Holloway’s antics.

Gentlemen, whatever happens in this window, it’s plain to see that the club is doing everything it can to preserve our Premiership status. It is addressing weak areas, the biggest of which is midfield, and is attempting to do so in a fashion that will not place undue financial burdens on our future. Houllier is more active than any other manager in the Premier League and has actually travelled abroad to get his man. I am impressed and so should you be.

We have had difficulty scoring goals and difficulty preventing them. Get the midfield right and we will revert to the default position of last season, which was: a team capable of achieving top six. We proved last season that, at the back, we are good enough; we simply need a midfield that is capable of relieving the pressure by hanging on to the ball and moving it up the field from time to time.

The tone on the blog, the last couple of days, is less acerbic and I welcome that, however I do accept that that might change if we lose to Birmingham City on Sunday. Just remember, it’s a derby and anything can happen and form is no guide.

Victory belongs to the resolute. Birmingham City has, until recently, been routinely humiliated by the Villa and they will want desperately to erase their shame. They will be up for it.

If they beat us, remain calm and do not show your feelings to your enemy. They will revel in our discomfort. If we maintain our dignity, their celebrations will be hollow. Certain things are ordained and therefore constant. They will always be number two. It is their curse.