It was either that headline or “We’ve Got Kaid Mohammed (again)”…
So, welcome back to AFCW the man who took the most painful penalty of the Eastlands playoff final. Perhaps literally. I have to say, out of those who left after that day in Manchester, he was probably the one we missed most of all.
Some could argue about Gregory, although DK was ultimately replaced by Midson, but it was a real disappointment that he decided to stay in the south west. Although one has to say, it was a surprise when he turned up at Vale Park…
So, what? Firstly, insert SW19’s usual lack of enthusiasm about getting back old players for a second time. When was the last time we had a former squad member leaving the club, then coming back as good as before?
Marcus Gayle? Though he dropped so many divisions that he was always bound to stick out. Roger Joseph? Hmm. Gregory was meh last season, though given how shit we were throughout that’s no real surprise.
Djilali was as much a waste of a shirt second time around as he was initially. Francomb hasn’t quite been the player who caused many a semi-boner in the underpants this campaign. Sully snr was a little too geriatric. And the less said about Jason Euell the better…
There’s probably other players who came back, but who tellingly I’ve forgotten. And which is why I hope DK never returns to us. Mo does have a good chance of being the exception to the rule, though.
It’s been pretty obvious that our strikeforce has been to scoring goals what Seb Brown is to routine catches, and with Chris Arthur on the treatment table, that sort of player being available makes sense.
He will at least be somebody different, and when your strikers are in a rut it’s worth a go. He’s here until January 4th, which is presumably when Smith is earmarked to go back to the Valley, and it’s obvious that NA feels the time is now right to shake things up a little bit.
Although Smith apparently doesn’t have to be selected in the starting XI as part of his loan period (according to a presumably well-placed source that spoke to your editor on Friday), it’s obvious that he’s seen as the best striker at the club right now.
And yes, you can most certainly MOTWYW.
The management obviously have high hopes for Sheringham, although what this does to Midson now is anyone’s guess. Though one suspects we’ll never really know what has gone on with him.
Mind you, what that also does for Charlie Strutton is anyone’s guess. Presumably we’ve seen just why he was firing them in for Braintree yet is looking every inch the bit-part player again with us. Is Mo back with us not to replace Midson but the guy who once couldn’t find the train to York?
If that is the case, then we might be seeing him sold to a Conf side with a little bit of money in their pocket. Which to be honest wouldn’t be the worst thing for all parties – Strutton does run around a lot, but does look every inch a player playing above his level in the FL.
A two-month loan sounds like Mo isn’t wanted up in Staffordshire, though whether he still wants to be with his missus in Wales after that is anyone’s guess. We will know more if he signs for Newport…
One thing that has gone under the radar is that we haven’t dipped into the loan market too much. Porter is here for the season, and Smith we all know about, but it’s quite pleasing we’ve kept this sort of thing to a minimum and we’ve got in the odd player just to move the whole squad onto the next level.
I genuinely lost count of however many we were bringing in this time last year, but suffice to say it really did end up taking the piss. This time round, whether by accident or by design, we’ve built up a squad in the summer, and have expected them to come through dips in form without yet more major surgery.
There are some elements of our play that still continue to do us damage, but at least you can add one or two players in January/now rather than the 5 or 6 we used to do. The revolving door of players seems a thing of the past, and that can only be good.
OK, there is the possibility that Smith, Midson, Mo and Strutton could all be gone in January, which would leave us with no striking prowess whatsoever (cue “no change there” quip), although you do suspect there’s already been plans made for this.
If Mo does become one of the few returning players that manages to be as good second time round as first, then who knows? I can see Smith remaining here past January, especially if he picks up more goals, so it’s possible we may already be seeing January’s bidding getting done now…
It makes sense to be settled as early as possible. As a couple of you may know, your editor covered Bishop’s Stortford vs Northampton for the nationals yesterday, and the strongest team in the Football League* had no less than four loanees starting for them.
* – propping up the other four divisions. Oh come on, we can make that joke about other sides this season.
They would have had more, but one of them was from Brentford and they wouldn’t let him play. So that’s almost half a starting eleven that isn’t theirs. And while I haven’t bothered checking other L2 squads for loans, I imagine we’ve got relatively few.
Our players are OK enough, and more importantly they’re ours. While we can reasonably assume Midson, Strutton and Seb will be heading towards the exit door sooner or later, we are still pretty much intact as a squad and don’t need yet another massive rebuilding project.
Other teams who rely on temporary transfers may well be fucked, perhaps more so than ever if budgets continue to be cut. It’s not entirely clear if Port Vale are paying much/most of Mo’s wages or we are, but we’re now seeing the benefits of keeping our powder dry and acting when we want to, not need.
Anyway, it’s Pompey on Saturday, and Mo will get a week to reacquaint himself with us. Things are obviously a lot difference since he stumbled up for that penalty at Eastlands, though it will be interesting to hear his thoughts on being at AFCW in 2013.
One other thought from this weekend just gone – is it me or do some of our fans not like Ross Worner? A couple of people seemed to give him as much blame for not turning up on Friday as Seb did for playing butterfingers at exactly the wrong time.
I wouldn’t blame anyone for turning up late after that A3 accident, and given that we’ve changed training times due to traffic issues I don’t think players meeting up on time for KM games is much of a problem.
But Worner doesn’t seem as popular as Seb is, or was, despite being the better keeper. While he does make some mistakes, he’s no worse than a lot of other keepers that ply their trade in our division. And if he was ever up for transfer, he’s much more likely to remain in the Football League.
Maybe he simply needs to come out as a boyhood Dons fans and save a couple of penalties at Wembley…?