So to continue his team rebuilding Pards has just signed the 23 year old Portuguese defender Paulo Montiero here. An U-21 international, he's played for Braga before somehow ending up at Farul Constanta in Romania, currently 17th in the Rumanian Tier 1. They speak a roman based language there and judging from all the Rumanians around here that have picked up the lingo its clear that the languages are very similar. However, with all the Rumanians currently hot-footing it over to Spain, the country's clearly become a desert and Paulo discovered that the footballs' not much better. Exactly how Pardew found out about the defenders unhappiness we'll probably never know but he's clearly relieved to find himself at a 'big, great club'.
He's known Semedo for the last 7 years and that may provide a key to Pardew actions. Killing two birds with one stone, Paulo will be able to help keep Jose happy while they reminisce about the wonderful Portuguese climate, while Pards can take a look at the centre-half until the end of the season. Whether or not we need yet another defender is a question that a lot of people are asking not least of all our very own Wyn.
So that's a striker, a winger, a defender and a utility player to replace our irish gem. At 1.5 M its no surprise that the striker, Andy Gray, has gone straight into the first team and did well in his first full game against Stoke but at the moment we don't know exactly what role will be played by the other arrivals.
The biggest one of them is obviously the bean-stork, play-anywhere, 6'5" Greg Halford, renowned for his long throws, who was at Colchester where he played 150 times, scoring 25 goals, and earning himself the Young Player of the Year award in 2005 before announcing that he wanted to leave. The helpful Mr Coppell from Reading then appeared and he dished out what was their record signing at 2.25M, just one year ago. Things didn't work out at Reading however, with reports that he 'didn't fit in' but fortunately for everyone Greg is obviously not short of admirers and the enthusiastic Roy Keane couldn't wait.
After just three games for Reading, he became Keane's first buy last summer for an escalating value of 3.5M. Making his debut in the second game of the season against Birmingham, his form was disappointing and after only 9 appearances, only one of which was won by Sunderland, and not helped by two red cards, he's on the move again and the play-anywhere tag appears to fit very nicely.
The other loanee is 25 year old left winger Lee Cook from Fulham. Also a success in Tier Two, this time with QPR he was another voted Young Player of the Year and also Supporters Player of the Year. A total of 132 games for QPR and 10 goals before moving to Lawrie Sanchez's Fulham last summer for 2.5M.
However, an operation late last season proved not to be a success and he's needed further surgery which has meant that he hasn't played a single game in the Premiership. Forgetting the worrying fact that the Fulham website, and Lee himself, speaks of a cruciate knee injury while our own CAFC refers to it as a hip injury, he was, at the time of his move anyway, lovingly described by the Fulham club website as 'one of the most dangerous attackers outside the Premiership'. However, either a change in management or the fact that they're running out of patience with his lack of fitness and has lead to the chance for Pards to step in to try and help.
And if all this sounds to you as if we are becoming a bit of a benevolent organisation helping out lost immigrants and failed and injured souls, I can't say I've surprised. Perhaps we should appeal for ONG status and get on one of those funding projects. But, no, all we can do is cut out the lip and put our faith in Pardew and wait and see exactly how good these people are. Then we can judge.
Meanwhile, we try to sound upbeat about the visit of Palarse on Friday. With the depressing figures of 10 wins, 10 defeats and 10 draws from all games played at home against these buggers, we just have to ignore two recent League Cup defeats in 1993 and again in 2004 and the Play-Off nightmare of 1996 and go back to December 1989 to remember the last time they beat us at home in a League game. In the 5 games since then its been 2 wins and 3 draws, although the 2-2 draw in 2005 was as good as a win, sending Palarse to their rightful place in Tier Two and will take some forgetting.
Just off a 15 game unbeaten run which contained 9 victories, they now haven't win in two games, a 1-0 defeat at Leicester and a 1-1 draw with Southampton and with 13 goal hotshot Clinton Morrison being replaced after an hour against the Saints by the ever-green Freedman and also, encouragingly, failing once again to score, we can only hope that Pards is able to put last weekends performance behind us.