Bradford City’s transfer window ends with plenty of question marks about the business completed

By Jason McKeown

“We have a budget that will allow us to (have a) go in January.” Derek Adams, November 2021

What makes a successful mid-season transfer window? As the dust settles on Bradford City’s January 2022 activity, it’s a question to ponder when assessing the club’s prospects for the remainder of the season.

Derek Adams – who has clearly taken charge of transfer proceedings this time around – has rung the changes. Seven new additions, with three departures. A refresh of a squad that has struggled to live up to lofty expectations over the first half of the season. “It’s my decision to do it this way, no one else’s,” the City manager confirmed last week. Over the coming weeks, we’ll discover if the comings and goings lead to a change in City’s trajectory.

In the meantime, there is no getting away from just how underwhelmed many Bradford City supporters feel. With the club going into the month of January some way off contention for promotion – but not completely out of it – there were high expectations of significant activity. Without any close knowledge of the financial costs involved, to see mainly loan signings coming in and the club captain sold for a fee suggests a relatively low financial commitment to bolstering the squad.

This is added to by the departure of Ollie Crankshaw to Stockport County earlier this season, with Adams stating back in October, “I’ve obviously got money in the budget now to spend and can do that…If I didn’t allow Ollie to go to Stockport, we would have lost out on a transfer fee and a wage that could be quite useful further down the line.”

Perhaps that has set unrealistic expectations of just how much money was available to Adams. Crankshaw was probably not on huge wages, and the level of the transfer fee – registered as undisclosed – was hardly going to be earth-shattering.

And before that, right at the end of the summer transfer window, City had brought in Theo Robinson on a deal that CEO Ryan Sparks said at the time had “stretched our budget slightly”. In other words, whatever the playing budget for this season, Robinson’s arrival had taken City just above it.

A year ago, we had a frantic transfer window that saw nine players arrive at Valley Parade and six depart. It was certainly a more significant level of business than this time out. But that was largely because Stuart McCall – manager of the Bantams during the summer of 2020 – had elected to hold back one-fifth of his overall budget. Such frugality contributed to him losing his job when the injuries piled up and he was left badly short of options, but it did leave the club with the financial capability to spend more money last January.

The difference this time is that Adams spent what he had in the summer, with some funds later freed up by Crankshaw’s exit. Rightly or wrongly, it has limited the level of change that could be made this January. Perhaps if a promising player like Elliot Watt had been sold – or high earners like Gareth Evans and Richard O’Donnell moved on sooner – it might have been different.

I’m not saying this to defend the club, who once again can be accused of mishandling expectations and giving the supporters an impression that more money was going to be spent this window than has proved the case. Adams himself played a part in this, stating in November that he had a budget “to have a go” this January. But when you look at what we know about the financials in the wake of the Robinson and Crankshaw movements, what we’ve seen over January probably does reflect the financial realities.

It’s probably naive on my part, but I’m supporter – so here goes. As fans, we are left in so much darkness and it would be nice for us to have the chance to better understand the financial playing budgets that Bradford City are deploying and how it measures up. Adams earlier this season said City have a very good budget but not the biggest in the league. How much is our playing budget – and how does it compare to others?

(For comparison, in the last spell in League Two – 2007-13 – we were regularly told our playing budget by the owners. For example, in 2007/08 we had a budget of £1.3 million, 2008/09 it was £1.9 million etc.)

Most Bradford City fans are intelligent people who are realistic. Yes, we know we have a very wealthy owner who – if he really wanted to – could write blanks cheques for the club and sink his fortune into reviving Bradford City. But Stefan Rupp never agreed to invest into the club in the first place with that sort of expectation. Had that been the case, he would not have said yes to buying the club. So without an owner regularly pumping in money, what can the club afford to do under this model, and is it competitive? Are we setting budgets that should result in top seven finishes, or are we left hoping that Adams can perform miracles like he did at Morecambe?

Knowing a bit more where we are financially, and the budgets we’re working under, would be helpful to supporters to better appreciate the situation. Yes, there are elements of our support who seem incapable of acting like grown ups. But trust in the more silent majority. Give us more reasons to buy into what we’re trying to achieve by sharing as much as you can.

Aside from the financial considerations, what matters now is whether the new arrivals can improve City’s results and take them higher up the table. Time will tell of course, but it’s difficult to look at each incoming player’s record and believe there is a sufficiently large enough injection of quality and pedigree to significantly shift the dial.

Jamie Walker is the standout arrival for sure, and his early performances have shown promise that he can be the sort of creative number 10 that Adams has always tried to include in his teams over the years. At times so far, other team-mates have struggled to get on the same wavelength and read Walker’s flicks and cute passes. Hopefully as they get more accustomed to him this will improve.

We’ve yet to see Dion Pereira, who’s background suggests great potential that is so far going unfulfilled. Pereira’s time in the US playing Major League Soccer for Atlanta United is curious. Sure, he didn’t ultimately make it over there – but Atlanta have been regularly challenging at the top and often play to crowds of 70,000. It is not a bad standard and his experience of the pressures from performing in big stadiums could prove useful at Valley Parade. That’s if he ever actually plays for City, with his lack of involvement so far very curious.

Matty Daly is another young player, although unlike Pereira he has played plenty of football this season, impressing on loan at Hartlepool. With seven goals for United, and already off the mark for the Bantams, Daly could certainly improve the team’s overall goal return. So far, his overall appearances have been a bit too low key, but he has undoubted qualities that could make a difference.

Alex Bass had the best debut of all the January arrivals, producing a couple of breath-taking saves at Walsall last week. The goalkeeper situation has been regularly debated all season but hasn’t felt like the biggest concern. Nevertheless, Bass’ early performances suggest he could significantly improve a backline that has kept far too few clean sheets.

With Lee Angol getting injured at Rochdale, Andy Cook having only just returned from a lengthy lay off, and the struggles of Robinson and Caloan Lavery to impress so far, another striker was clearly vital. First, Tom Elliott has come in from Salford City in what looks like a back up to Cook. It’s fair to say it is a development that has had a mixed reaction from fans.

A glance through Elliott’s career record suggest any thoughts he will replicate Cook’s impact last season are highly unlikely. Cook was going through a difficult couple of years at Mansfield, but prior to then had a terrific record of regularly netting 20 goals a season. Elliott has never come close to doing the same. He’s only twice amassed double figures in a season. He can be useful for sure, but he is not going to be troubling the top scorer lists.

With 61 league goals from 220 starts (and 131 sub appearances) Elliott does at least have a marginally better goal return than City’s other striker arrival, Nathan Delfouneso. The 30-year-old signing from Bolton has an almost identical league playing record of 221 starts (and 143 sub appearances), only he has a more meagre 47 goals to his name.

Three of those famously came in the same game against Bradford City – the April 2018 5-0 thrashing the Bantams received at the hands of Blackpool. Delfouneso’s hat trick that day contributed to a joint-career personal best of nine goals that campaign. The former Aston Villa forward has never managed double figures in a season.

In some ways this is the biggest frustration of the window. Last summer, a lot of players came in with questionable goal records. And when you analysed the team’s prospects, it was difficult to see where the goals would come from, aside from Cook. Adams himself later admitted that he just didn’t have enough players in his squad with a proven record of scoring, assisting and creating chances.

January is not the easiest month to do business, but you’d have thought rectifying that would have been the key focus. Elliott and Delfouenso are yet more players signed with average records. And we’re left hoping players can reach career heights they’ve rarely come close to achieving before.

Still, there is little dispute City look stronger up front overall compared to the start of the month. There is now greater quality in attack, even if there remains a heavy reliance on Cook to find the back of the net.

Finally there is the return of Luke Hendrie, some four years on from when his abrupt departure had a domino effect in triggering the club’s collapse.

Hendrie – who started his youth career at City before moving to Manchester United – had spent the first half of the 2017/18 on loan at Valley Parade and was proving a useful squad player before he was controversially let go by Edin Rahic. He ended up signing for Shrewsbury for the rest of that season, before moving to Grimsby Town where he was a regular for three years, making over 100 appearances. After the Mariners relegation last summer, Hendrie signed for the newly promoted Hartlepool. He has rarely figured for the North East club, with his contract cancelled on deadline day.

What Hendrie does offer is versatility – he can play in midfield and defence. City fans will be encouraged by the competition for right back that he offers to Oscar Threlkeld. Hopefully, his latest spell at Bradford City has a happier ending than the last one.

Meanwhile on their way out of the club are Jorge Sikora, Sam Hornby and – incredibly – Niall Canavan. Sikora, who made his league debut on the final day of last season, has barely had a look in under Adams. A victim of a change in overall philosophy that has seen the club’s youth products largely ignored all season.  

Hornby and Canavan’s exits are more significant. Selling your club captain on transfer deadline has that old Geoffrey Richmond whiff of balancing the books and writing off the season. Days after being publicly blamed by Adams for Crawley Town’s stoppage time winner, Canavan’s departure invites all kind of conspiracy theories about whether there is a falling out between manager and a player who has operated under Adams before.

Canavan was signed a year ago and proved to be an excellent piece of business, adding calmness and reliability to a defence that had been too leaky for much of the season, he looked a class act for this level.

It’s probably fair to say Canavan hasn’t quite hit those same heights this season. There were some slightly troubling performances, not least his red card mess up against Sutton United just before Christmas. Canavan was also recently left out against Rochdale, where City kept a clean sheet.

Nevertheless, Adams is not blessed with an abundance of options at centre back – at least ones who he trusts. You would now expect central midfielder Yann Songo’o to be deployed as centre back for the rest of the season. He has done pretty well in that role, but struggles to disguise the fact it’s not his natural position.  

Signed in the summer of 2019 by Gary Bowyer, Hornby has certainly had to be patient for opportunities at Valley Parade. In his first season the highly rated former Port Vale keeper found O’Donnell impossible to dislodge, restricting him to just cup appearances. Last year followed a similar pattern, before an injury to City’s number one in December 2020 gave Hornby the chance for a run in the side.

Hornby did well, impressing with his calmness and shot stopping. He initially kept his place even when O’Donnell returned, before losing and later regaining it. Out of contract in the summer, his decision to sign a new deal was a big one given O’Donnell remained at the club and a new manager was coming in.

On the eve of this season Adams stated he preferred O’Donnell and made him number one. But with the experienced stopper’s powers showing signs of fading, Hornby took over in goal in December and has largely done well. After a particularly strong display at Rochdale last week, Hornby didn’t really deserve to be dropped – albeit Bass’ debut performance at Walsall makes the decision easier to understand.

Still, it’s a strange case of short-termism. Portsmouth have borrowed a promising goalkeeper from Man City, who has blocked the first team path of their own promising goalkeeper. So they loan their promising goalkeeper out to Bradford City, who in turn loan out their own promising goalkeeper to Colchester. Musical chairs with goalkeepers, for what at best look like marginal gains. Still, if it has a positive short-term impact the ends will sort of justify the means.  

So what does make a good transfer window? And will this be looked back on as one of them? For me, the best ones have been about wheeling and dealing. The amount of budget available helps, but doesn’t have to define it.

The 2015/16 season – Phil Parkinson’s final window at the helm – stands out as the best of recent times. Famously that season City had a good, post-FA Cup success budget, but spent it badly and the team struggled early doors. More money was made available, and then some more, and it began to slowly take off. By the time it got to January, and City knocked out the FA Cup whilst sat 12th in League Two, there was no money for Parkinson.

So he got to work. Gary Liddle and – controversially – Devante Cole were moved on. The money raised was used to sign Jamie Proctor from Fleetwood, Wes Thomas from Birmingham and Josh Cullen from West Ham. All loans (the Proctor deal quickly made permanent), all with much to prove.

The transformation was huge. City lost just two of their remaining 17 games, netting 24 goals and conceding just eight. They went from mid-table mediocrity to finishing inside the play offs with a game to spare.

That is the effect a good amount of wheeling and dealing can have on a squad mid-season. Adams will be hoping for similar this time around. For his standing amongst City supporters to improve, he now needs to demonstrate the positive fruits of him taking full control of the club’s recruitment structure and strategy.

For sure, there are plenty of fans lining up to have a pop at Rupp and Sparks right now – Valley Parade will not be for the faint hearted this Tuesday. But the month of February is a well worn script at Bradford City, and we can all predict what’s likely to happen next.

This is a month where City managers habitually come under huge pressure, especially if the transfer window doesn’t lead to improvement. And right in the middle of this particular month of February is that City manager Bermuda triangle known as Oldham Athletic away, where few survive. In short, it is a month Adams will do well to get through, especially as criticism of his managerial tenure grows ever fiercer.

Adams goes into this period with City tweaked if hardly transformed. The hope is that he proves himself to be a shrewd operator and the transfer moves made this window look better retrospectively than they appear to be right now. And that from a set of far from promising pieces, Adams actually now has everything he needs to turn Bradford City’s muddling season into one of success.



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15 replies

  1. It was striking last Summer that we had no loan players at all, a departure from prior years. And I understand Adams’ logic when he’s stated that he prefers to do loans in January, when you know you’ve then got them locked in for the crucial second half if the season, and it can be a probation period for a permanent summer deal (think Callum Cooke). But it’s a depressingly short term approach- to be fair Phil Parkinson was the same (and also in ignoring youth players).

    Listen to Ryan Spark’s being interviewed on the Posh Chairman Darragh MacAnthony’s podcast last week. When asked what Forest Green were getting right, Spark’s commented on their long term thinking, including manager- but also crucially building, then holding onto the nucleus of a good team. Adams in contrast has clearly stated he’s not interested in extending contracts, he’s happy to keep the flex and thinks players at this level shouldn’t expect long term contracts. Some good players in then, Walker & Bass- but not likely to be here beyond season end?

    Fingers crossed is the best summary on 31 January….

    • Andy I listened to that podcast.
      It was enlightening in several different ways.
      MacAnthonys grasp of the English language was an eye opener. He cant string a sentence together without an expletive.
      It was also evident the he knows Sparks well and rates him as a CEO.
      Sparks was much more eloquent but came over as a cross between a timeshare salesman and a keen student who has just left Uni! Lots of use of current jargon and pop phrases. Ugh!
      He did however praise FGR for their long term approach and retaining the basis of the team over a long period.
      Interesting that the transfer window yesterday saw us lose our most experienced defender and captain. All very strange.
      We obviously have a different approach to FGR, even though we admire them for their stance, which appears to be more successful than ours.

  2. I summary, I am pleased to see Luke Hendrie return to the club and Walker looks like he could be useful at this level. We know that Bass played very well on his debut at Walsall and made a couple of decent saves in the disappointing defeat against Crawley Town. However, I think that Sam Hornby has done well in the first team and I’m sad to see him depart to Colchester United.
    If Reece Staunton is picked to start alongside Paudie O’Connor this evening against Leyton Orient, that will be great in my humble opinion. However, I fear that Songo’o will be picked ahead of Staunton as I think that Adams doesn’t think that Reece is part of his best 11. Whilst on the subject of youth, I’m disappointed that Scales hasn’t been given an opportunity in the first team this season. Overall, I think that this January transfer window is like many others, which sees a rapid turnover of players which isn’t good for stability and long term planning. Gone are the days when a Bradford City player even makes 150 appearances for us.

  3. Well balanced Jason. I don’t think we’ve done badly this window at all. Yes we didn’t get a striker but always the same who is available in January without a fee. What it appears we have looked to do instead is fill with goals from all over. Even a decent striker (such as Cook himself) will do well to get more than 6/7 goals in the remainder of the season. If Daly/Walker/Delfouenso/Elliot all get 2/3 each to compliment Cook that’s good business.

    Also we’ve kept I think 5 clean sheets this year with Songo’o at the back for 3 of them? We didn’t do so badly when Romain played out of position there under Stuart (Lee Bullock to lesser extent also did a reasonable job). I also don’t see the issue with the Hornby deal if he goes to Colchester and plays he is still developing while we get a (supposedly) better keeper in the short term. Adams needs to win now not next season.

    Adams shuffled his pack as he needed to do. It may or may not work but I think it shows we are not accepting of the first half of the season and have attempted to address it. We have an outside chance still and first half performances like Saturday show the squad is capable. If not we press on with building the club for the longer term high earners like Evans and ROD off the books and we go again whatever league we are in.

    Couldn’t agree more with the lack of comms. Over communication with your stakeholders (external and internal) is identified as a key component to modern day business and the clubs main stakeholders (after Rupp) are us the fans.

  4. It’s not the January disaster the Twitter hysterics are moaning about but it’s not exactly building a team for the future. With the over reaction of the players downing tools when Hendrie wasn’t signed in 2018 and it’s all been pretty dire since, maybe the curse will be lifted now that Hendrie is signed again. The problem is, with Cooke, Watt, Paudie and a few others out of contract and the club not very good at extending contracts, especially as Adams stating he only likes 1 year deals,it looks like yet another rebuild in the summer. Not exactly the Forest Green way that Ryan Sparks was talking about last week. Still despite the Rupp out hashtags it would be interesting to see what this window would have been like with Rhodes and Lawn still at the helm. No cup run since 2015, no spectators for the whole of last season I suspect it would have been a big sale of any player assets with few coming in. Remember Rhodes selling Windass, Johnson and letting Doyle leave which led to relegation in 2007 and Rhodes and Lawn pulling the plug on Stuart McCalls 2008/9 signings after one year when we failed to go up and flogging them off cheaply.

  5. If I was to spin a generous interpretation for City, it would be that they had failed to find new homes for fringe players, saw no value in giving them a full pay-off, and so have had to cut the cloth accordingly. Therefore when an offer came in for a player who is not in the most important 5 or 6 (Hornby, Canavan it seems) it has to be considered.

    But let’s not get away from the fact that it was, yet again, a shambles.

    We go into the second half of the season with five fit strikers – Cook, Elliott, Lavery, Robinson, Delfouneso – only one of whom has any kind of recent form; and we only play one up front. At the back we have three centre backs – O’Connor, Kelleher, Staunton (plus Cousin-Dawson and Songo’o), only one of whom has played more than half a dozen games this season; and we play two centre backs each game.

    If we play Songo’o at centre back, we significantly weaken the midfield. And I am no fan of that anyway, when playing there Songo’o always had a mistake in him. One of our biggest problems has been a lack of dominance in midfield, so we don’t want our most physically dominant midfielder playing the rest of the season out of position.
    On the wings, we have Vernam, Gilliead and Periera. Periera is a pointless signing (a Burrell, a Jordan Stephens, a player never set to make any contribution) and we should have sent him back and got someone better in while we had the chance. But that would require Adams to admit he got that one wrong.

    The Canavan departure is either for a) the money for City, b) because he fell out with Adams, c) because he requested to leave because he knew his time with City was nearly up. Any one of those options is not good. On the former, I doubt Barrow paid much for him. On the latter, if that was the case, then City are repeating the mistakes of last season (the rumour was that the players knew which players would be leaving quite early on and that impact the end of season form). Canavan hasn’t been great this season, but neither has much of the defence and he’s the captain and a regular starter. If you’re working on improving the defence, then you’re working on getting him back to form.

    I wrote on Sunday about players not having faith in Adams; does selling your club captain like this do anything to improve that?

    “We will be ready for the next transfer window” they say, just after the last shambles of a transfer window has ended. If Delfouneso was anything other than a panic buy, then it would not have been completed in the last few minutes of the last day (Dion Charles was bought by Bolton, freeing Delfouneso, at the start of January).

    Nothing against Hendrie, he’s a solid full-back and probably our best option there now. But he couldn’t get into the Hartlepool team and it doesn’t suggest we have an extensive scouting network if we are, yet again, returning to a former player who hasn’t gone onto bigger and better things.

    I’m not sure I’ll be going tonight; it will be a febrile atmosphere and I can tell we’ll be a goal away from things starting to kick-off.

  6. Very balanced Jason.

    For me though, Adams is taking us backwards culturally. Genuine communication between club and fans is becoming non-existant, save the occasional staged event. He has zero charisma, is often delusional in his post match comments and we are seeing, already, exactly what happened at Plymouth now repeating itself at our club.

    This squad should have enough to be in the play offs although we are dangerously lacking at the back now after Canavan asked to leave (which DA confirmed last week would be the only reason anyone would be leaving). The issue is the Manager. He is responsible for Canavan leaving after his atrocious blaming outbursts this week.

    Adams is also responsible for the team hugely underperforming so far this season, a significant characteristic being our inability to defend as a team & hence the number of goals conceded & lack of clean sheets. Exactly how he performed as the Manager of Plymouth. The same blame game happened there, never accepted responsibility himself, and the same alienation between Adams & the fans/staff grew and grew until he was sacked.

    Now, I would think very few would disagree with Ryan’s desire/vision of continuity/building over time. Of course that’s what we want. By definition you must have been successful if you look back and have had not had to change the Manager for the last 5 years. No brainer.

    But I am concerned that Ryan feels he has put his reputation on the line now with appointing Adams as our long term saviour. He cannot afford to be blinkered to what the fans see & feel happening on the pitch and at the club. Adams has lost the fans already. We don’t know for sure how things are in the dressing room but the Canavan departure does not suggest all is well amongst the players either.

    I would suggest finding that elusive long term Manager that takes you up through the leagues is pretty much The Holy Grail of football. So I certainly have no beef with the CEO that Adams hasn’t worked out. We all liked the appointment at the time. My concern is that Ryan won’t act decisively now. But he needs to because there are sections of the fanbase turning on him as well. I would suggest he would get more respect & credit than he would criticism, for acting decisively, soon.

    Got to give Adams a couple of weeks, 3 or 4 games, with the changed personnel of course. Good wins are required. And some honesty/personal responsibility when he speaks. If that doesn’t happen, I hope Ryan doesn’t do what Plymouth did and let it drag on.

    • Ian – I think this is a great comment and agree with most of it apart from giving the CEO a pass on he appointment.

      Isn’t the issue somewhat with the Sparks? He has a vision of continuity, youth, building comms with the fans, etc, etc…..he’s then appointed a manager who this means nothing to.

      Adams has in the past got results, but his style is the absolute antithesis to Sparks’ stated aims…it therefore was always the wrong appointment. The appointment looks even worse now as he can’t get the results.

      I’d normally not want to change the manager so quickly….but he’s not particularly likeable and it’s really not clear what he’s building towards for next year

  7. A fairly balanced piece compared to both of the other popular websites, I think your call for what is the overall budget is an interesting take on the state of things. We were, after all promised transparency by the club a while back. I personally think only Walker and possibly Bass are the only decent signings. My opinion on the others are posted elsewhere under a previous article , Utterly underwhelming to put it mildly. What is clear, without even knowing the true figure, is the fact that the owner and ‘ proud custoidian’ of our club is not interested in investing any sort of money to move the club forward, I was prepared to give one last window to start building for the future and it clearly hasn’t happened. If the likes of Robinson, Delfounso and even Luke Hendrie are the the answer, what the hell was the question in the first place. Of course people will say that’s on Adams, he’s the manager, but the budget, annual expenditure comes from Stefan Rupp, he sets the financial tone, and its clear he isn’t putting in anything, the so called, sustainability plan will see us do every window like this. Ultimately is that what you want? Is that what a club with 14000 fans a week have paid a bit extra on season tickets deserve? Does this fit in with a club that represents a City with a population of 600000? Look at a our peer clubs in League 2 and even League 1 and ask yourself how good could we be with the right custoidian at the helm.

  8. The only thing I really dispute Jason is that we are an intelligent lot. I know the twitterati can be discounted but their objections to everyone and everything are beginning to rub off.

    I think we are rapidly becoming the most deluded fan base in England. I thought Newcastle had that wrapped up for ever more but we are coming up on the flanks. You’ve only got to read a few comments on here to see that fans think we have a divine right to win every game.

    We lose to Carlisle- sack everyone.

    We edge a win over 10 man Salford – We are going to win every game from now on, let’s all get to Rochdale and sing them home. We won there 4-1, 3 years ago so obviously we will win again.

    We draw at Rochdale. Woe is me, we are rubbish. Sack the manager, sack the board.

    Did you know we beat Chelsea on this day 7 years ago. Oh for those glory days, when we had a team who died for the shirt. I didn’t go to the Chelsea game but I went the week before when they lost 2-0 pathetically to Yeovil!

    We all want to win and we are all disappointed currently but we have a long way to go in the season. What noone will mention is that it is highly likely that DA will be without Watt, Angol, Eisa, Vernam, Ridehalgh tonight – that is 5 significant players. All would be in the best say 13.

    What he’s done effectively is shuffle the pack, looking for more goals. People complain about the squad and then when he changes it, they complain about that too.

    I’ll be there tonight, come on City.

  9. It’s just frustrating that we, incredibly, are still 6 points from the playoffs even though 90% of the performances have not looked top 7 standard at all. It just looks like don’t want to commit to the investment or future potential to try and push on from where we are in what is a poor division. It seems the strategy for the next 19 is just hoping something clicks with the new players, and hope the manager will someone find the secret recipe to suddenly start pulling performances together or killing opponents off.

    Rather than bringing in players of the right age, on form and with development potential, i.e. Wyke, it seems like we’re just hoping from the unknown.

    Adams has been here 8 months. At the moment I still can’t see who or what he’s trying to build a team around, and I don’t think the transfer window will answer that question.

    There just seems to be constant upheaval. I can’t imagine the creative OOC players re-signing next summer, realistically the loanees will probably return, and look at our forward line – Angol aside who is seems to be a sicknote – including the loanees they’re all 29+, some with huge numbers of clubs and very low goals scored on their CVs, the have no resale or future potential and we will just repeat the process of 30+ journeymen in and out it seems.

    I can’t see us closing the gap based on what I’ve seen from the Adams and the bulk of the squad so far, and the players that have come in.

    Lose tonight in a similar manner to Saturday and it will be brutal.

  10. DA signed a contract for three years,and we should be kept to that,and let him get on with it.He has got some of the players he wanted.Now there is no excuses,I can understand
    him not wanting players on long contracts,there great on loan then they get a long contract,and some of them change into different players not for the good.19 games to go let’s hope the lads hes signed play well,and we get into the play offs.

  11. If we win tonight, we are back in business. Lose and there will
    be an air of anger and desperation. If Adams persists with the same tactics and same formation tonight and gets the same negative result, all the criticism will be justified. Some might suggest he needs to be imaginative, shake things up, go with a second striker, for example. On the other hand, he can plod on predictably and hope to grind out a narrow win. But if he does and fails, let him not claim some kind of moral victory – we would have won if the chances had been taken. Paradoxically, by the way, the most prolific goal scorer on the books (who has three beauties to his name this season) is never seriously considered. He has as many career goals as Elliott and Delf combined. Okay let’s condemn him for his over- eagerness in running off side -like Defoe, Ian Wright and Andy Cole, for instance.

  12. As to the transparency issue it is difficult to see an advantage to publishing data in the absence of similar information on other clubs. The EFL provide redacted data for all clubs. The club will have a good idea where they are but it does not help us. I am sure agents would love to know our budget so there is an element of commercial sensitivity. RS has undertaken to produce fuller accounts so in due course we will have a better idea of overall staff costs.
    As to the January business it is depressing to see some writing it off as shambolic the day after the window closes with some players who have not even kicked a ball.
    The keeper situation for me was an absolute priority with both established players flaky in different ways. A solid keeper is crucial.
    We needed cover for Cook up top and it is difficult to think of a better option than Elliott provided he can rediscover the form with the Dons when he was a beast. Good in the air, mobile and like Jimbo deceptively quick. We are never in our present predicament going to be in the running for a player who is scoring for fun. You are going to get someone with potential or a player who has stalled. This was the case with Andy Cook and it worked out well. Eliott is not the only Salford marquee signing to bomb at the club which is in an even greater malaise than us. If we are paying the majority of Elliotts wages that is a big wedge for a player who was tempted from the Championship to Salford where conventional business rules do not apply
    Walker is obviously a cut above and should do well. A good piece of business for me.
    Canavans departure came from left field but you can see the logic. Three goals conceded recently where he has been culpable and a fee for a player who looked like he would be released in the summer.
    Hendrie played well against us in a back three for Pools and you will always get a solid and 100pc performance from him. Remember his lung busting late run for the Cod Army? Solid acquisition for me.
    The Crankshaw money was never going to go a long way (£100k max perhaps)and has given us a bit more wriggle room. Lets hope that we have got the majority of the calls right.

  13. If we win tonight, we are back in business. Lose and there will
    be an air of anger and desperation. If Adams persists with the same tactics and same formation tonight and gets the same negative result, all the criticism will be justified. Some might suggest he needs to be imaginative, shake things up, go with a second striker, for example. On the other hand, he can plod on predictably and hope to grind out a narrow win. But if he does and fails, let him not claim some kind of moral victory – we would have won if the chances had been taken. Paradoxically, by the way, the most prolific goal scorer on the books (who has three beauties to his name this season) is never seriously considered. Robinson has as many career goals as Elliott and Delf combined. Okay let’s condemn him for his over- eagerness in running off side -like Defoe, Ian Wright and Andy Cole, for instance.

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