With the Sky Blues languishing at the wrong end of the SkyBet League One table, recently appointed manager Russell Slade said he wanted to be a busy man in January. He didn’t waste any time once the transfer window opened and he acquired three new faces on the opening day – some positive news for supporters. Marvin Sordell did depart in a surprise move, but I sense that he didn’t fit in Slade’s plans and I wish him all the best at Burton Albion.
So, with seasoned striker Stuart Beavon coming in the other way from the Brewers as well as Callum Reilly, it could be a good deal for both parties. Our young defence have also struggled thus far and we desperately wanted some experienced reinforcements, hence the arrival of Nathan Clarke. He captained Leyton Orient under Slade in the past and some Bradford City fans feel he has been unlucky to miss out this season so it’s another sensible piece of business in my opinion.
How they will fit in the side remains to be seen, but if we persist with a midfield five, Beavon will be the perfect option to lead the line up top. Now 32 years of age, he has a wealth of experience and for his height he is unbelievably effective in the air. I have watched Burton on numerous occasions after the last few seasons and he has been an instrumental figure in their success. City fans will also remember his influence at the Ricoh Arena last season when the Brewers visited – he is a handful.
Callum Reilly will provide us with another option in midfield and he is a player with great technical ability. Having developed at Birmingham City, he made over 60 appearances for the Blues before transferring to the Pirelli Stadium. Appearances have been limited, however, but he will see this as a chance to resurrect his career. It’s crucial for him now at 23 to be playing regularly and I suspect he will get that opportunity at the Sky Blues. We are lacking a bit of creativity and guile and he will certainly add some of that.
Whilst I am pleased with the acquisition of Beavon and Reilly, I welcome Clarke’s signature the most. He may be 33 years old and lacking a bit of pace, but he is a physical defender who has great experience of playing football in this division. There’s no doubt that he will slip into a central defensive role seamlessly and he will bolster our back line. He will be key from now until the end of the season as we look to steer clear of the bottom four, that’s for sure.
On reflection, I am pleased with the initial signs in this transfer window but we all know as City fans not to get our hopes up too soon. Slade will undoubtedly bring in a few bargains, but I am still worried about potential outgoings. Rumours are flying around regarding the futures of Ben Stevenson and Jordan Willis and I hope we don’t cash in on either, but I can see one of them leaving the club. It then becomes how we replace them that is pivotal.
I will spend the rest of the month glued to my phone looking out for transfer business and with the current loanees returning to their parent clubs, it will be a hectic period. The signs are good though, bringing in hardened, combative professionals is precisely what we need to beat the drop. Whilst I love watching attractive football, earning points takes precedence so I would happily see us ditch our failed attempts of possession football for a more direct, physical style of play.
Anyway, happy new year to you all and hopefully January will turn out to be a positive month for the Sky Blues.