I’ve been asked a few times recently about my concerns going into the January transfer window and I thought I’d bang a few words together this evening to address the situation.
Rather unsurprisingly there are some areas I’m worried about, as I’m sure Danny and Nicky are too. We’re a successful side enjoying a good run of form, one defeat in 11, and that will attract vultures.
There’s some players approaching the end of their contracts, others on loan who may or may not stay and it all has to be considered. Last season it’s widely believed we had a decent transfer window, but losing Rob Dickie came as something of a surprise at the time.
I don’t think our defensive offering will get away lightly this time out either. For me, there’s question marks over three players at present, Kellan Gordon, James Wilson and Scott Wharton. When I say question marks I mean over their future, not over their contribution or involvement.
The obvious one primed for a departure is Scott Wharton. He’s been the Sean Long of this season, the desperately unlucky player who would have been a first team regular had it not been for a shock transfer as the deadline closed in. Neal Eardley ruined Sean Long’s Imps’ career and I suspect Jason Shackell has done the same for Scott.
He’ll likely be recalled by Blackburn, they wanted him here getting regular minutes and he just hasn’t. Jason Shackell will always play, he’s a left-sided centre back, just like Scott, but he’s got so much experience that we’d be foolish not to play him. With Harry Toffolo in excellent form too, there’s not even a sniff of a left back spot for Scott. I would be very surprised if he was with us when the window closed.
Kellan Gordon might be wanted back at Derby due to his lack of minutes, which would be a worry. I like Kellan, he offers something different going forward on the right and I think if he stays there will be regular game time for him now he’s forced his way into the reckoning. He’s further away from the Derby first team that Scott is at Blackburn, so my gut tells me he might stay.
I suspect we might have an issue over James Wilson. When he dropped into League Two I’m sure he did so with a first team place in mind, but he hasn’t had ample opportunity to show what he can do in the middle of defence. Bozzy and Shackell have formed a good partnership and that’s destroyed James Wilson to a degree. The broken ankle at Cambridge didn’t help and I can’t see him being happy with a place on the bench.
Time will tell.
I’m not too worried in the middle of the park, Tom Pett, Lee Frecklington, Michael O’Connor and Ellis are all likely to stay put. The first three are getting regular game time and there’s no chance Ellis is going anywhere either. I’m not too worried out wide either, the Harry Anderson rumours don’t concern me and if someone wants to buy Bruno Andrade they’d be paying the sort of money that would be massively beneficial when reinvested. However, I don’t see him moving on that quickly either.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bernard Mensah go back to Bristol Rovers though, he’s not impressed me in his limited minutes on the field and it’s a loan spot we might be able to fill effectively with another body.
Up front, I have a huge concern. I fear we might have a struggle holding on to Matt Green.
He’s not getting the starts in the current system and with an expiring contract, there’s be no talk of a new deal. If he isn’t looking likely to sign one, then surely the sensible move would be to cash in with a sale in January rather than wait until the end of the season. I know the management team wouldn’t want that, Greeny is important to everything we do and a key player coming off the bench, but simple economics tells us it would be wiser to get something in January rather than nothing in May.
Maybe, if he did move on, there’s a plan B. The wages and any subsequent fee could quickly be reinvested and given Danny’s track record in the market, I’m confident he’d get a decent replacement in, should the worst happen.
My other fear is over Shay McCartan. Shay has been tremendous for us and looks best when he’s in the side with Freck and John Akinde. He’s scored good goals and makes great probing runs, but Bradford need quality and if there’s an option for a recall it might be one they consider. They do have a lot of players on their books though, which might work in our favour.
If Shay were recalled, that might be good news for Matt Green because it lightens the competition for places up front. However, Danny will want to hang on to both in order to sustain the promotion push we believe to be possible.
Whatever does happen, we must keep the faith. The summer recruitment was very good and overall we do improve the playing squad with every window. We’re not likely to be left wanting in key areas as the players contracted to the club are unlikely to leave, so it will be simply about the garnishing of the main meal, not about losing key ingredients themselves.