I guess it’s been on the cards for a while, but Hakeeb Adelakun has left the club on a season-long loan deal.
Adelakun started the season well, at least against Exeter, but couldn’t provide the spark away at Portsmouth, and he missed the game at the weekend altogether. That almost certainly signalled the end when Chris Maguire, a player already told he doesn’t fit the Mark Kennedy profile, got on the bench ahead of Adelakun.
In reality, no matter how well Haks started the season, this was almost inevitable. We signed Jordon Garrick, a winger, to add to Charles Vernam, a winger we signed in the summer. Scully plays wide on the right or left as well, and we still have to get other attackers in, such as Danny Mandroiu, Charley Kendall and Ben House; we’re beginning to look heavy up top, and Haks was always playing catch-up. He leaves the side with 31 games to his name, but just 12 Football League starts and three goals.
It’s a shame because the Stacey West are named sponsors of Haks’ home kit, and he’s a lovely, down-to-earth lad whenever you speak to him, but it just didn’t work out last season. He looked good against Bradford, Cambridge and MK Dons, but there were too many games where he just didn’t turn up; Morecambe away was one, and the incident at Carlisle was incredibly frustrating. I know football is all ifs and buts, and whilst he was directly at fault for that Carlisle goal, it really cost us. The path after Carlisle was Harrogate (A), then Sutton (A), who were eventual finalists; imagine how much more cash we might have had if we’d progressed in the tournament.
I’m a bit down about Haks going because I’ve backed him since he arrived, but right now, there’s not a clear pathway to the first team. He’s skilful, there’s no doubt about that, but is he a Mark Kennedy winger? I get the impression, from the Garrick signing among other things, that MK likes his wingers to be fast, direct and able to beat men for speed. That wasn’t Haks, he’s skilful, but he never really got in behind. In that respect, he’s probably very similar to Chris Maguire in that he too is a slower winger.
I’m sure the door isn’t entirely closed on Haks, but it doesn’t feel like a loan move to get experience; it feels like one to open a pathway for a permanent switch. I might be wrong, but that’s how I see it. There’s no doubt he’ll be an asset in League Two; he’s got League One quality in terms of skill, but as soon as he didn’t affect the game at Fratton Park, I thought his days were probably numbered here.
Also, if you’re a supporter now expecting an announcement, I wouldn’t hold your breath. Haks isn’t a player I see us as replacing immediately; Jordon Garrick came in and has almost done that straight off. Remember, Haks didn’t get in the squad this weekend, and that’s with Freddie Draper and Danny Mandriou still to come in. However, as a Haks fan, I wish him all the best at Gillingham under a decent manager such as Neil Harris.