Tuesday, 2 February 2021

Options Refined

The late addition of Jaiyesimi surely tilted the balance in favour of it having been a positive deadline day for us and window in general. If he hadn’t come in, given the apparent failure to land Kirk we would I think have been staring at a glaring lack of options on the right, given the earlier departure of Smyth and the exit of both Williams and Maddison, and a related over-reliance on Millar.

Think we have to tip our hats to those involved for being very fleet of foot over the past few days. They can’t have anticipated a new manager in at Cardiff targeting Williams, or Swindon sending Smith back to Arsenal; Maddison throwing his toys out of the pram was perhaps more predictable, but getting someone else to pick up the tab for him is a bonus. Even then presumably they began yesterday expecting to do a deal for Kirk and then having to change horses.

Looking at window overall, out of the door have gone Doughty, Smyth, Bogle, Williams, Maddison, and Wiredu. Doughty we have been forced to live without in any event and good luck to him (although seems he explained the choice of Stoke by saying that when he thought of Stoke he always thought of the Premiership; personally I always think of travelling there and back to watch a dire 0-0 draw played out in a gale); Wiredu also of course has best wishes for the future, until one day he comes up against us. Smyth going as I mentioned before I find a little disappointing (it may have been QPR’s decision but it was pretty clear Bowyer wasn’t begging them to let us keep him), but if it enabled us to rejig the loans numbers fair enough. Bogle moving on was perfectly understandable given those he was now below in the pecking order.

I suspect everyone a week ago would have been surprised to be told that both Williams and Maddison would leave. Neither has this season shown enough to demand that they are selected, both has been accused by Bowyer of pulling out of challenges. Williams will always be remembered for his contribution in the Play-Off final, one regret being that we never heard at The Valley a rendition of the Nicky Bailey song for him (‘... I want a ginger beard too’). Maddison everyone knew was a problem boy and at least in that respect he lived up to his reputation. You wanted him to come good as obviously he has ability, but Bowyer and his team weren’t able to get from him what they wanted and having him off the books, rather than sulking from the sidelines (or just disappearing), is clearly a bonus.

Set the departures against those who have joined - Schwartz, Millar, Stockley, Smith, Jaiyesimi – and I think all would agree we are net winners. To what extent depends for sure on how Schwartz and Stockley shape up (ie how many goals they score), we already very much like Millar and Jaiyesimi looks like a fit for what we needed.

Quite frankly with Millar and Jaiyesimi down the flanks, supported by Maatsen and (eventually) Gunter, and Schwartz, Stockley, Aneke and Washington in the front two slots, we look like we should be creating plenty of chances. It ought to be entertaining at least. In midfield you’d imagine that Watson and Pratley, plus Forster-Caskey and Shinnie, are in pole positions, with Gilbey, Morgan and now Smith providing alternatives.

So let’s go. No more player changes to consider, just the two central defenders to be back from injury and then everyone is currently available. 21 games left, 63 points still to play for, nobody setting the division on fire, promotion still the objective.

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