After releasing and letting a total of 9 first teamers go after the season, there was a huge job in the market to be done. No time for vacation for the manager and recruitment team this year! I decided early that it was needed for a rebuilding job and making place for some of the kids as well as focusing more on quality and not quantity.
- Remi Matthews – Free transfer
- Chris Maguire – Free transfer
- Josh Scowen – Free transfer
- Max Power – Wigan(Free transfer)
- Charlie Wyke – Free transfer
- Conor McLaughlin – Free transfer
- George Dobson – Free transfer
- Callum McFadzean – Free transfer
- Grant Leadbitter – Retired
- Jordan Willis – Millwall £525K
- Arbenit Xhemajli – Luzern £33,5K
- Ross Stewart – Luton £200k
- Aiden O’Brien – £110K
As you can see some
As you can see some quality players left. Dobson and Wyke refused to renew, so I had to let them go. Dobson still hasn’t found a new club, which I found a little odd, considering he’s a decent player.
I’m really sad to see Maguire and Leadbitter go, but they are both old and their best days are behind them. Leadbitter came back as a coach for the U18’s and I’m really glad he did. Part of my philosophy for the academy is to have former players on the staff.
I had to compromise a bit with my plans to bring in enough players. I noticed early that the U23’s hadn’t got the numbers to field a team in the league, so I tried to sign the players they have signed on a free transfer this season to up the numbers. Also brought in a few of the same to the first team, the squad needed experienced players after so many leaving. Chris Brunt is way over the top, but he’s a perfectionist and perfect for mentoring Dan Neil and the young guns for a season.
I have high hopes for Dwight Gayle up top, even if he comes in from Newcastle. He should be a star player on this level!
Kwame Poku is another one the club has high hopes for. He comes in with speed and some trickery on the wing, and at only 20 he has the potential to grow a lot. That’s the type of transfer we need to look for, it’s impossible to compete with the big clubs and big money. Both Josh Sims and Elijah Adebayo turned us down for Championship clubs and we lost out on Ethan Ennis when Newcastle came knocking…
- Adam Lewis – Loan
- Corry Evans – Free transfer
- Kwame Poku – £1,2M
- Alex Pritchard – Free transfer
- Callum Doyle – Loan
- Ethan Galbraith – Loan
- Josh Key – £120K
- Eoin Toal – £250K
- Chris Brunt – Free transfer
- Dwight Gayle – Free transfer
- Markus Assarson – £17K
Part of the philosophy by not bringing in quantity is to look to the U23’s to make up the numbers – Therefore six players were promoted.
Some of them will mostly feature in the Papa Johns cup, while others are real contenders for the first team. The players promoted are Anthony Patterson, Kenton Richardson, Ollie Younger, Josh Hawkes, Dan Neil and Benji Kimpioka.
Started the season with a bang and McGeady hit the ground running with three goals and an assist in the first two matches. Had a bad loss away to Bradford in the league, but we’ve shown really promising form and are top of the league after seven matches.
Took a hell of a beating from Norwich after an early send-off on Galbraith. 3-2 may look like a good result, but we were nowhere near. Lee Burge was the man of the match with 16 saves. Kimpioka second time scoring from the bench and may overtake Grigg’s position as a backup striker.
In the Pizza cup, I’ve decided to play youngsters when possible combined with trying to win it. It’s a small cup, but it can be a good way to create a winning culture. Ellis Taylor became the first academy debutant for the season and top it off with a goal.
I’m so glad this month is finished. Played one good game and that was the first one. The Ipswich results look pretty strong, but three of the goals came in injury time.
We gave away so many points in matches where we created so many chances and outclassed the opposition on xG. When push comes to shove xG is not worth any points…
On a high note, Dwight Gayle scored six goals this month and upped his tally to 9 goals total for the season. I still believe we haven’t seen the best of him.
I’ve also experienced just how vulnerable we are to injuries in the defence, and reinforcements may be needed in January.
Started the month off with a tough loss to Stoke, but they’re a top team at this level. I Envy them Tyrese Campbell, would really like to bring him in if they don’t go up.
The rest of the month was close to perfect except for the conceding to Fleetwood. I’ll take it as a sign of good mentality when turning a loss into a 7 game win streak.
The only negative through the month was Kwame Poku fracturing his arm, our most creative player thus far with 6 goals and 6 assists. It’s good to see academy boys stepping up and deliver when they’re trusted in the starting eleven.
Alex Pritchard have really started to show his old form and won player of the month.
Another decent month in regards to defensive record and points tally. Lost two points to Forest Green and also the top of the league to Portsmouth, ironically enough we are now two points behind them.
In a month primarily with cup games, it’s good to still be in all of them. Should’ve done better against AFC Wimbledon, but we fielded mostly reserves and players that just came back from injury. A special mention to Ellis Taylor who came from the bench to equalize in the 86th minute against AFC Wimbledon, and got a penalty against Liverpool U23s in his first-ever start.
Wow, and just wow. What a fantastic way to finish the year, and what a run we’ve been on for the last three months. Except Bradford we met only top teams. Portsmouth were three points behind us before the game against them, and it was possibly the most important game so far this season. The lads were buzzing, and Pompey still don’t know what hit them!
At the start of the month Roy Keane used his broad knowledge of goalkeeping to reccomend that Patterson took Burge’s place. After four clean sheets and a 7.32 rating after five games I may have to change Keanes role to goalkeeping coach.
Dwight Gayle and Alex Pritchard must be two of the best signings the club has done in years. With these stats they are the first players in the line up, and with 40 goals and assists between them after 29 games it’s impossible not to play them.
For the second season in a row, we’re blessed with a potential golden generation from the youth intake. I’m looking forward to seeing what gems are coming through, and it’s positive that one of the lads is a right back. Last seasons youth intake were all about attackers and wingers, and it would be extra help with defenders this season to achieve the dream of fielding a full XI with academy graduates.
See you next year!