Thursday 29 September 2011

Loan signing logic...?

When I got to work this morning and saw that we had made a loan signing, it came as a big surprise.
I thought the squad was 'full' and that this was the group of players who would take us to January and beyond.
If that wasn't the case, then I would liked to have seen a striker come in, one similar in style to Jeff Goulding, who is probably the only player in the squad who doesn't have direct competition for his place.
But the player coming in, Everton teenager Luke Garbutt, is a left-back. Seems a strange one to me.
Nothing against Luke - he sounds a promising young player and it is great to see us getting players from clubs like Everton rather than ringing up Bristol City or going back to players we have had before.
But do we need another left back? Or another left-sided midfield player?
Danny Andrew is a player who polarises opinion among Cheltenham fans.
I am a fan - I think he has improved defensively this season and everyone knows the quality he can bring offensively with crosses and from set-pieces, which provided four goals last season.
We didn't have another left-back last season, so he played practically every game and when he was injured or left out, Josh Low played out of position in his place.
But in the summer, Sido Jombati came in to the squad, and played at left back in a few friendlies and has come on in a few games in place of Danny.
Saying that, when he came on last, at Wimbledon, is was at right back, in place of Keith Lowe.
So therefore, I figured that if Danny was to be rested, or dropped, then Sido would get his chance. Maybe not.
Also, when Sido arrived, there was the thought that Danny would be pushed further upfield, a la Gareth Bale, with Sido playing at left-back.
It is something that has been mooted by fans a lot, and calls for this idea to be tried got louder when Sido did play in the reserves this week, but Mark Yates has always rebutted it in interviews, and I cannot remember it happening in a game.
So maybe young Luke has been brought in to play on the left side of midfield, and put pressure on Kaid Mohamed.
Kaid has been very up and down this season - up in games like Torquay and Crawley, but down in the last two, Wimbledon and Hereford, and I would suggest his place in the side is precarious at present.
He hasn't finished many games, with Junior Smikle coming on in every league game so far, while Bags Graham got a start in the LDV game, and came on in the Morecambe defeat.
Apparently, Bags had an excellent game in the reserves at Bournemouth in midweek, scoring a goal, and he was also good at Forest Green in the reserve game I saw.
He is a similar age to Garbutt, and as our own player, I would like to see him given a chance ahead of a loanee if a change is to be made in that position.
The other option there would be Smikle, who does not offer the same attacking dynamism as Kaid, but would offer more help to Danny defensively, and I must confess I would play him at the Mem on Saturday to try and shore us up a bit more, especially if Chris Zebroski plays wide on the left.
But now Garbutt's arrival muddies the water even more, and if he has come to widen his experience, and if we want to keep Everton happy and get more loans from them, he will be involved somewhere.
Just of case of where, and how... bearing in mind also that the player himself has stated in the interviews I have seen that he is a left-back.
But, as I alluded to above, it is good to see that our loan signings seem to have gone up a notch.
We have suffered in the past with the Peter Hynes' of this world (according to Wikipedia, he plays for Limerick now, and works as a lorry driver) and the great Rob Elvins (now playing centre-half for Worcester City).
Yes, we had Karl Henry and Steve Brooker, who were more successful, but now to have a current England Under-21 goalkeeper, and an Under-19 international on the fringe of a Premiership club's first team is a step in the right direction.
Hopefully, when top clubs see that we give these players experience in our side, and that they get treated well here, more clubs will want to send their top youngsters here, which can only benefit us.

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