AFTER last-ditch hitches ruined his plans to bring in Ched Evans, Phil Parkinson insists all is not lost in his side’s bid for survival.

Evans’ proposed loan from today’s opponents, Sheffield United, was scuppered by Fleetwood Town, where the striker has impressed on loan in the first half of the season.

And although that meant his only new recruit this month was Everton youngster Callum Connolly, the Wanderers boss remains defiant about their chances of pulling off a second straight escape this season.

“We’ve brought Callum in, and we’re pleased with that,” he said. “We were close to getting Ched Evans in but that fell down at the last minute, through no fault of our own. Sometimes those things happen, we had a couple of bids for players which the chairman turned down, which was good, and we’ve got what we’ve got and we’ve got to be ready for these last 16 games.

“Fleetwood had to agree to the deal and sign a piece of paper to allow it to happen, they weren’t willing to do it, which is a shame but as I say, things happen on the last day, you think you’ve got a player and then you don’t.”

The deal fell through at the last minute as Fleetwood refused permission for Evans to cut short his loan stay and return to the Blades, as they were entitled to do without the required notice period, given the approach was made in the final 24 hours of the transfer window.

Undeterred, Parkinson heads into a difficult run of fixtures in February having been unable to bolster his slim attacking options.

And, while he will examine the free-agency market, he appears less than hopeful of snaring a hidden gem from the out-of-contract players.

“We didn’t want to bring players in for the sake of it,” he added. “We felt we didn’t want to sign someone if they’re not going to have enough of an impact because the squad isn’t small, we’ve got the numbers, so we only wanted players we felt could make a difference. If someone comes up in the free-agent market we’ll have a look at that but I just want to focus on the players we’ve got with us now and get ready for a real go at staying in the division. I’m confident we can stay up with the players we’ve got here, absolutely.”