WHEN Phil Parkinson took on a risky-looking job at Wanderers in the summer he reserved judgement on where the club should be aiming in League One until after the transfer window ended.

Now, having retained gems like Jay Spearing, Josh Vela and Zach Clough and after helping himself to 12 new players it is about time we all admitted it, the Whites are genuine promotion contenders.

A haul of 13 points from a possible 15 is reason enough for optimism at the Macron yet the worry going into Wednesday’s deadline day was that long-term injuries to Mark Davies and Darren Pratley would choke the life out of a small squad, eventually.

There was definitely an air of urgency in Parkinson’s voice as he spoke on Tuesday night, demanding that the club make the last 24 hours of the window count. And, by heck, that is exactly what they did.

A day of cat and mouse, gossip and intrigue, topped off with five signings announced in quick succession. Staged-managed, perhaps, but nonetheless as satisfying a day as Wanderers fans have enjoyed in many years.

Even the puzzling departure of Kaiyne Woolery to Wigan Athletic was lost in the furore as James Henry, Sammy Ameobi, Ben Alnwick, Keshi Anderson and Tom Thorpe were rattled off one by one to the astonishment of a largely online audience.

To think back in July when the window opened the Whites were managerless, the scars of the previous season so fresh. A frustrated fan-base was in no mood to hand out second chances to a team that had failed and there was legitimate merit in thinking that avoiding relegation, stopping the rot, would be enough this season.

Parkinson’s arrival calmed the nerves but the events of the last 48 hours have dared us to dream.

Wanderers lacked pace – particularly in light of Woolery’s move to the DW Stadium; step forward Keshi Anderson, a prodigious young striker from Crystal Palace, or Sammy Ameobi, the Newcastle United winger that both Dougie Freedman and Neil Lennon had failed to sign in the Championship.

With no Davies or Pratley, Wanderers lacked dynamism in midfield; enter James Henry, the Wolves midfielder who has already shown the Macron his penchant for the spectacular.

Tuesday’s drab 2-0 defeat against Everton’s Under-23s highlighted the lack of defensive depth but Tom Thorpe’s arrival on loan from Rotherham gives a crucial bit of versatility.

And finally Ben Amos’s move to Cardiff City left Parkinson with a goalkeeping headache and only one senior stopper. Ben Alnwick’s move to Wanderers may not have gone down well at Peterborough but, again, looks a very sound piece of business.

The Whites had already re-signed David Wheater and added Lewis Buxton, Mark Beevers, Chris Taylor, Jamie Proctor, Andy Taylor and Mark Howard in the last couple of months, giving a much-needed injection of experience and solidity to the squad which dropped out of the Championship.

Moreover, the players signed have a first-team readiness. This team is ready for success right now.

Wanderers remain a club in transfer embargo despite the uplifting and welcome change of mood. Chairman Ken Anderson received deserved praise from supporters for his handling of the process but he, Paul Aldridge, John Pelling and Dean Holdsworth still have many loose ends to tie before the club can be considered completely healed.

The business done over the course of the window has answered many critics who felt the Whites had jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire when they agreed to the takeover in February. But there is still work to be done and supporters who endured the last 12 months are unlikely to be anything other than vigilant and inquisitive about the way their club is run in the future.

This weekend Phil Brown’s Southend United come to the Macron having had a very different transfer window.

Brown has found himself answering criticism for the club’s lack of signings, particularly up front, and so could probably do without coming up against his old club at a time when the atmosphere is so buoyant.

For Parkinson, the chance to knit things together over successive weekend games at home against Southend and MK Dons is manna from heaven.

His next challenge is to assemble his many gathered pieces into a unit just as effective as the one he built over the first five games. If he succeeds, this season might get even better.