Donovan Ricketts was finalising a move to QPR today after City made it clear he would have to drop his wages to stay.

The Jamaican keeper was in London for talks yesterday and a deal has been agreed for a "minimal" fee.

City have moved quickly to replace Ricketts by snapping up teenage prospect Scott Loach from Watford for the rest of the season. And he will be in goal against Shrewsbury tonight, providing the Rangers deal goes through.

Stuart McCall admitted he was sad to see the back of Ricketts, who played 118 games for City with 32 clean sheets.

"Donovan's had a couple of sticky spells but he's always bounced back and I still think he's a smashing lad," said McCall. "He's done well for this club and people should look back and think of the penalty saves and acrobatic moments rather than the negatives.

"We spoke to his agent the same time as we were discussing Omar Daley's new deal. The simple fact was we weren't going to be able to give Donovan the money next season that he's on.

"The agent thought he could get more elsewhere and spoke to QPR, who were interested in taking him before the deadline. We get a minimal fee, something we wouldn't in the summer when he'd be out of contract, and also get Donovan off the wage bill now.

"The deal was all ready to go and we couldn't stand in his way, though we would have stopped it if we hadn't got somebody else in."

Ricketts, who joined City from Jamaican club Village United in August 2004, follows former Valley Parade team-mate Damion Stewart to Loftus Road.

McCall has been tracking Loach for some time. The 19-year-old is third choice at Vicarage Road behind Richard Lee and Mart Poom but has earned rave reviews during a brief loan spell with Morecambe.

McCall said: "He's got a good pedigree and comes highly recommended to us. I spoke to Aidy Boothroyd, their goalkeeping coach Alec Chamberlain and Martin Hunter with his Bradford links and they all said good things about him.

"We wanted to bring Scott in a couple of months ago to put pressure on Donovan but Watford would only let him out if he was playing games.

"He's one we've been monitoring since and we're delighted that he's come in now.

"He went to Stafford early on and did ever so well and had a few games with Morecambe, where I saw him play against Macclesfield the other week and save a penalty."

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