With the season done and dusted after the Play-Off Final at Wembley, it's that time of year when the rumour mill really builds up a head of steam and one story that caught my attention was the report that West Brom are determined to prise Chris Hughton away from Birmingham.

Chris has done an unbelievable job at St Andrews this season with limited resources, getting the team into the Play-Offs, and I can certainly understand why the Baggies would be interested. He also did well at Newcastle and I thought he was unlucky to lose his job there.

If there is any truth in the West Brom rumours, I would imagine Chris would have a tricky decision because the two clubs aren't a million miles apart and while it's Premier League football at the Hawthorns next season, Birmingham is a club with massive potential and he's only 12 months into his contract.

What's for sure is that it's in both club best interests to sort it out one way or the other as soon as possible. You need a manager in place to formulate the pre-season plans, the transfer policy and targets for the new season and while you can parachute new players in on the last day of the transfer window, the manager needs to be there driving things forward throughout the summer.

I also read this week that Newcastle were keeping a close eye on Coventry midfielder Gael Bigirimana. I haven't seen much of the youngster in the flesh but I was on the panel for the npower Championship Apprentice of the Year Award earlier this season, which Bigirimana won, and from what I saw he looked a terrific player.

I also hear the boy has a fantastic attitude but I'm not sure it's the right time for him to be making a move to the Premier League. He's only 18 and at this stage of his development playing games is vital and the inherent risk for any youngster in the Championship who goes up to the Premier League is they won't play often enough.

Playing in the reserves is no substitute for proper first-team football. Bigirimana played more than 20 league games for Coventry this season but I'm not sure how many appearances he'd make for Newcastle.

One bit of business that does seem likely to go through is Southampton's £7m move for Burnley's Jay Rodriguez, which continues the trend of promoted clubs looking to npower Championship sides rather than Premier League teams as they bolster their squads for the new season.

Swansea did it 12 months when they took Danny Graham from Watford. Reading have already landed Garath McCleary on a free transfer from Nottingham Forest and there's been a lot of talk about Norwich making a move for Leeds' Robert Snodgrass.

Of course, familiarity is part of the equation but it's also about finance. The promoted managers know these players because they've seen them up close during the course of the season and will know exactly what they're getting but they also tend to be cheaper than 'established' Premier League players.

Most of the players will be on their summer holidays now but with the introduction of heart monitors to record how hard they work as they follow their individual fitness programmes, there's no hiding place these days.

To be honest, I used to do absolutely nothing for the first two or three weeks of the summer. I did have fitness schedule but I always felt my body needed that initial complete rest after a long, hard season to repair itself. I never really let myself go during the holidays but I did need that complete rest first up.

In my experience though, players don't really switch off mentally. Whether I was at home or on a beach, I was constantly reading the papers or checking the internet because I liked to know what was going on, which clubs had signed which players and all the rest of the news.

The release of the fixture list was the big thing because I wanted to know whether we were home or away on the first and the last day of the season and how things were looking over the Christmas and New Year period. Then I'd look out for the big derby games and start forming a mental picture of how the season might pan out.

As a player, it's how you're conditioned. A break after nine months of constant football is great but after the first couple of weeks, I was already thinking about playing again. I didn't enjoy the first two weeks of pre-season because back in the day it was all running and we never saw a ball but after that, I was itching for the new season to start.