Coventry City announced their first two signings of the summer when the transfer window opened as Kwame Thomas and Marvin Sordell made the move to the Ricoh Arena. With most other clubs in League One already bolstering their squads with fresh acquisitions, some fans of the Midlands outfit were beginning to worry about the threadbare group of players. However, Tony Mowbray has continually reiterated that patience is perhaps the best policy when seeking reinforcements and his first signing last term didn’t come about until July 4th when Sam Ricketts signed on the dotted line.
With Jodi Jones upgrading his loan move from Dagenham and Redbridge into a permanent deal shortly after the final day of the 2015/16 campaign, the manager has shown a clear intention to strengthen the forward areas. So, with the goals of Adam Armstrong and Jacob Murphy needing to be found somewhere else following their returns to parent clubs Newcastle United and Norwich City respectively, can Thomas and Sordell come up with the goods?
The 20-year old striker has signed a two-year contract with The Sky Blues following his release from Championship Derby County. After progressing through the academy with The Rams he was rewarded with a scholarship deal and he subsequently represented the club at Under-18 and Under-21 level. In the summer of 2014 Thomas was handed a professional contract after picking up the accolade of Under-21’s Player of the Year during the 2013/14 season. However, after making his senior debut as a substitute versus Leeds United in November 2014, first-team opportunities were limited and he listed for loan.
With the hope that a temporary move away from the club would help his development, the forward joined League One Notts County in January 2015. During his month at Meadow Lane, Thomas made five appearances for The Magpies but he failed to find the net in a disappointing spell. Upon his return to Derby, he once again struggled to make his mark in the senior setup. As a result, he was loaned out again in August as he signed for Blackpool on a half-season deal. He was recalled by his parent club in November 2015, but during his time at Bloomfield Road he made six starts and sixteen substitute appearances, scoring no goals.
One thing that will fill supporters with optimism is the fact he has regularly been involved with the England youth setup. He has pulled on the famous white shirt on plenty of occasions at Under-16, Under-18 and Under-20 level. Of course, former Coventry manager Aidy Boothroyd is currently in charge of the Under-20 squad and he has put his faith in Thomas, the striker scoring two goals in nine outings for The Three Lions.
The physical forward joins Coventry City on an initial one-year deal after his release from relegated Colchester United at the end of last season. He is another player that has experience of playing for England under his belt as he made over ten appearances for the Under-21’s between 2011 and 2013. Furthermore, he was also drafted in to Stuart Pearce’s Great Britain squad for the 2012 London Olympics and he made three appearances for the side during the competition.
Starting out at Fulham as a youngster, Sordell was left hugely disappointed when he wasn’t offered a scholarship at Craven Cottage. Fortunately for him, he was offered a route back into the professional game after Watford were impressed enough during a trial in 2007. As he progressed through the ranks with The Hornets, he made his professional debut in the 2009-10 season before being loaned out to Tranmere Rovers. After firing in 27 goals in over 80 games for Watford, the youngster was rewarded with a £3 million switch to Premier League Bolton Wanderers in January 2012.
During his time at the club he featured 29 times, scoring only a handful of goals. As he failed to impress the Bolton faithful, a season-long loan move to Charlton Athletic saw him earn a move to Burnley after his contract expired at the Reebok Stadium at the end of the 2013-14 season. However, things didn’t work out for the front man and he was released in September 2015 after scoring just one goal at Turf Moor. A drop to League One and Colchester United soon followed but after just one season with The U’s, Sordell was released once more.
Although they aren’t the proven goal scorers that many fans would have been hoping for, these acquisitions could come good. Admittedly, I don’t know too much about Kwame Thomas but he looks like a player with a certain degree of potential. You don’t get picked to represent your country, regardless of the age group, if you haven’t got reasonable levels of talent. Tony Mowbray has stated that he is an “exciting young striker who will add pace and power to our attacking options”so I trust him.
In regards to Marvin Sordell, I think that could prove to be a very smart move. Having watched him play live on a number of occasions, I know that he can be a real handful for defenders. He scored six goals last season in a tremendously poor Colchester side, so with the more talented supporting players behind him that he will have here, he could potentially tuck away plenty of goals. Confidence could be an issue at the moment but Mowbray inspires that, so hopefully he can put an arm around his shoulder and get the best out of him.
One thing I don’t understand is some fans being pessimistic and writing players off before they have even kicked a ball. Unfortunately we have to realise that we are a League One club with an average League One club, we aren’t going to spend millions on proven players. We have to take risks and hope they pay off, like Adam Armstrong last season. He was relatively unknown and people were questioning him when he arrived, and we all know how he performed.
Let’s be positive, there should be plenty more signings to come…