Rice keen to keep Odoffin despite transfer speculation

The Accies boss says there's been "interest" in his midfielder.

Rice keen to keep Odoffin despite transfer speculation SNS Group

Hamilton Accies boss Brian Rice wants to keep midfielder Hakeem Odoffin in his squad but admits there is interest from other clubs and it could be hard to hold on to the player.

Rice is preparing for a promotion push in the Championship after relegation from the top flight last season but is having to reshape his squad with some players moving on and new recruits being targeted. Hibs have been linked with a move for Odoffin after losing Jackson Irvine to St Pauli but he’s not a player Rice wants to see move on.

“It’s all just speculation,” the Accies manager said. “There’s been some interest shown towards him.

“The chairman’s aware of that, I’m aware of it and so is the player. But as we speak at this moment in time he’s still a Hamilton player.

“I’m very keen to keep him, he was fantastic for us last season.

“He came here, he wasn’t playing at Livingston, and we got him in the team and found a position for him. He was outstanding.

“Hakeem’s been great for the club but Hamilton has been great for Hakeem as well.”

Rice admitted that if a bigger club makes an approach for any of his players, then Accies are obliged to listen to offers because they’ve made the potential for a step up part of their pitch to players.

“It’s always difficult to keep players at Hamilton because that’s the selling point when you bring them here,” he said. “We give them an opportunity and a pathway.

“If they move on then we’ve done our job and the player’s done his job as well. But it’s always difficult trying to replace them.”

Regardless of Odoffin’s immediate future, Rice is still keen to add a few players to his squad. The club start their season against Edinburgh City in the League Cup on Friday but Rice will keep looking for additions up until the start of the Championship season and through to the transfer deadline if he can improve his options.

The manager said that the likelihood of losing players to spells of isolation or illness meant he was happy to carry a big squad into the new campaign.

“I’m still looking to add three or four to the squad,” he said. “I think with the Covid situation we’ve had three lads out already.

“I think it’s affecting every team and not just us but we need to make sure we have enough bodies.”