Tuesday, 16 July 2013

No to Ashley... yes to Ashley!

BARELY a matter of days after one Ashley turned his car round on the M6 and screwed his nose up at Cheltenham Town, it seems that another will be completing the journey.
Mr Grimes preferred Bury, but Mr Vincent (if the talk is to be believed) will make it to Ikea at Wednesbury and beyond, and come back to Whaddon.
He will be coming from Port Vale, basically a straight swap for Kaid Mohamed - and there are great similarities between the two.
Pace, unpredictability, frustration, goals. Both are equally likely to do something to turn a game, and both will frustrate and divide opinion in the seats and on the terraces.
The latter will certainly be the case as the Nest forum reaction and the Twitter views of the possibility of his return seem polarised - straight down the middle, either people seeing it as great news or a disaster waiting to happen.
My view? I am 50-50. I feel Ashley will be slightly less frustrating than Mo, but I see Mo as a greater goal threat, and more dangerous in the air.
I don't necessarily see Ashley's work-rate being any better than Mo's - but I would think his experience at a higher level will have helped his decision-making
Their records are similar - last season Vincent scored seven goals and set up five in the league for Vale. Mo scored four and set up five for us - and added two more in the Cup.
Both operate down the left, but are predominately right-footed, but the Ashley Vincent which comes back will be different to the one who left for Colchester back in 2009.
He had arrived from Wolves as a 19-year-old, where John Ward and Keith Downing had helped nurture him in the reserve and youth teams at Molineux.
It was a rollercoaster spell, including some superb goals, play-off final success, a cruciate knee injury, a broken wrist and being thrown back on to the pitch at MK Dons by Martin Allen.
He left us for Colchester, where the current Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert gave him a three-year contract - then left after one game for Norwich. That one game? a 7-1 win. At Norwich.
He was part of the 'Cheltenham enclave' in Essex with Ward, Steven Gillespie, Kayode Odejayi and Brian Wilson, and scored 10 times in 71 League games for the Us - with knee injuries again haunting him along the way.
Next stop was Vale for one season, and now all the indications are that he is coming full circle, back to Whaddon to fill our left-wing berth... or is he the fourth striker?
When he was here before, there always seemed to be a dispute over his best position.
He always wanted to play as a central striker - (see this link from 2008) - yet has played most of his career out wide.
So if the deal is completed, will he be the man to replace Mo, or is he the man to challenge Jamie Cureton, Terry Gornell and Byron Harrison through the middle?
Maybe Ashley's return will cover both - ie he will be the left-winger we are after and the fourth striker, diminishing further the chances of Joe Anyinsah and George Bowerman's trials being a success.
That would save money - and, having seen the chairman stressing his keenness to resolve the Marlon Pack saga, as we are still paying him and have already (I suspect) spent a lot of the compensation money we haven't even received yet, reading between the lines I would say the pot is very nearly empty.
As for Pack, common consensus is that Crawley, Bristol City and Peterborough are the three main suitors, with somewhere between £75,000 and £100,000 the much-needed bounty on the table. Apparently the hold-up with one of those clubs is at their end. Get on with it please.
My feeling is that this deal will be it for permanent signings, and anything else will be loans.
Welcome back Ashley!