by Patrick O’Connor

IT’S the classic Catch 22 situation for a football manager:  The transfer window still has a week to run before it slams shut, putting an end to permanent moves until January.

You know your star striker is being coveted by bigger clubs and you don’t want to lose him.

He knocked in 30 goals last season and at the age of 23, still has time on his side to become an even better player. So you want him to do well, but perhaps not too well until after August 31.

That was the dilemma facing Ronnie Moore, manager of League Two side Rotherham United on Saturday.

His team lost out in the Wembley play-off final at the end of last season but despite a summer of speculation have so far managed to keep hold of ace marksman Adam Le Fondre.

But that task was made even harder on Saturday after Le Fondre netted four times in a thrilling 6-4 win over Cheltenham.

The one bonus is that his transfer valuation will have shot up even further after that display. As the clock ticks down to the end of the transfer window, Moore will be pondering whether he ought to cash in on Le Fondre and if so, for how much?

Le Fondre is one of several lower division strikers who have attracted attention from bigger clubs who seemed to be more willing to take a gamble on someone untried at a higher level.

Bournemouth hot-shot Brett Pitman looks set to join Championship outfit Bristol City after failing to agree terms with Premier League new boys Blackpool and during the close season Leeds snapped up Swindon’s Billy Paynter.

With the 2010-11 season still in its infancy there are signs that there is plenty of life outside the much heralded Premier League.

That has been never more apparent than in the Championship. Recent weeks have seen David James, who was England’s main goalkeeper in the World Cup, move from Portsmouth to Bristol City; Manchester  City’s Welsh international Craig Bellamy has concluded a season-long loan deal with Cardiff City and on Saturday Crystal Palace paraded former Dutch international midfielder Edgar Davids before their fans.  The 37 year old former AC Milan, Juventus, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Tottenham and Ajax star has signed on a pay-as-you-play deal and if he can regain his fitness and form this could be a major coup for the London club.

The fact that such big name players have been persuaded to turn out in the Championship is a great advert.

Meanwhile in the Premier League Chelsea won 6-0 for the second week running, this time walloping poor Wigan and there was also a 6-0 triumph for Arsenal at home to Blackpool whose boss Ian Holloway told press: “It was an honour to come here and I was relieved it was not 10,12, 13, 14.”

So much for a competitive league.

Most footballers get injured making a tackle, being kicked in some unmentionable part or pulling a muscle chasing after a short-skirted WAG.  Not Manchester City’s Jerome Boateng. The £12.5 million signing from Hamburg must wait a month to make his City debut after aggravating a knee injury in a collision with an aeroplane drinks trolley.

Cheers!