PHIL Parkinson has confirmed Wanderers came close to landing Bradford City full-back Stephen Darby during a tense finale to the January transfer window.

A swap deal – which could have seen striker Jamie Proctor go back to his former club – was cooked up between the two clubs last weekend.

Parkinson had reservations about boosting the strike-force of a direct promotion rival but with Lewis Buxton struggling to completely overcome a back injury, he would have welcomed competition at right-back for Lawrie Wilson.

“The two chairmen had a chat on Sunday,” said the Whites boss. “We’re looking for cover for Lawrie because Lewis isn’t fit yet and we’re a bit concerned when that actually might happen. We have got Derik, who can play that position, but when Bradford asked the question about Jamie, we asked one about Stephen Darby.

“Personally, I didn’t want to let Proccy go to a rival, but it was a deal that could have been done because both players were very happy with it. It didn’t materialise, so we move on.”

Over the Pennines, Stuart McCall had concerns over allowing a player who has made 24 appearances this season to leave.

“There was an inquiry made about Stephen,” he said. “It was a non-goer. We decided we’ve lost experience in this window, (Nathan) Clarke, (James) Hanson, (Matt) Kilgallon and (Filipe) Morais.

“We couldn’t lose another experienced player who is a vital member of our squad.”

Parkinson looked back on a manic deadline day, which had started for him at 4am, finishing well after midnight.

“I don’t remember a day like it,” he told The Bolton News. “You have to remember that it wasn’t until Monday morning, when we got a call from the Football League, that we knew we whether we could sign players or not.

“Everything happened on the last day. We’d touched base with players but with so much up in the air we couldn’t make any cast iron guarantees. The Sammy Ameobi situation at Newcastle was difficult. If they did get their targets there was always a chance we could get him and it became a bit of a game of poker – how long can you wait?

“In the end, we couldn’t have got him anyway. But it certainly made things more complicated.”

After getting the green light from the Football League, Wanderers cleared some space for new signings by loaning Chris Taylor to Oldham and Proctor to Carlisle.

Neither player had forced their way into Parkinson’s first team since their summer arrival and the Whites boss believes the move was of benefit to all involved.

“The team had been picking itself and we had a terrific run, albeit recent games hadn’t been as good,” he explained.

“You can only be out of the team for so long before you become disillusioned. We felt we needed to freshen things up and bring some more competition into the squad.

“We felt Proccy and Chris had almost come to accept they weren’t going to get into the team and they are both good players in their own right. They needed a fresh start.”

Nottingham Forest’s bid for Zach Clough was accepted only a few hours before deadline but Wanderers resisted the temptation to bring in another loan player, opting to offer a short-term deal to Felipe Morais, who had been released by Bradford.

“As the clock was ticking down, to have brought in a seventh loan would have given us even more problems,” said Parkinson, who will have to exclude one of his loanees at MK Dons today.

“Filipe not being classed as a loan player does give us more flexibility.”