Editor Dominic with his FIVE key discussion points on your team
1 – JP and Josh
Last years team lacked experience, we all knew that and more importantly Kevin knew it. This week’s double signing of Pitman and Gowling will help rectify that. Josh is a big imposing defender who has played over 400 games, and will bring plenty of know-how to the party. Assuming the hunger and desire is still there at 33 (and the fitness), he could make a huge difference for us come August.
Meanwhile Jon-Paul has also been round the block! He’s come from Harrogate so it’s not exactly a signing to set the pulse racing – but he played in the league for a long while (scoring a fair few goals on the way) and could be just the person to help nurture Ruairi. Nicho certainly seems content with that business, and is optimistic about how the squad is shaping up. He’s learnt lessons and is only bringing in players who suit his criteria; this bodes well for 2017-18.
2 – Myles Anderson
Myles Anderson came in at a desperate time last season, and was a fairly typical journey-man footballer. By that I mean he mixed good play with bad, and made errors which illustrated his lack of game time/consistency. Little by little the defender settled in, and by the end of the season his partnership with Sean really looked the part. He also attacked set pieces like his life depended on it! All this makes me happy he has joined up again. It’s expected Gowling and McGinty will be the first choice centre-backs: maybe Myles will have something to say about that!
3 – What do we need?
The longer it goes without Brendan signing a new contract, the more likely it is he’ll be going elsewhere. We need two goalkeepers, ideally the 1st choice will be experienced and at least the same level as Brendan. I’m hearing the likes of Lavercombe and Poke linked, but then again former players are always on the radar when summer comes around!
I’m a bit surprised LRT has flown the nest. I assume Nicho had not given him any assurances about being 1st choice and he decided to move closer to home. Would love another Butler or somebody of that quality, who can defend well and also get up in support the attack (or am I asking too much?!).
Two names spring to mind Durrell Berry and Jared Hodgkiss. Unfortunately Durrell’s injury is still ongoing I believe, and Jared has gone to Macclesfield. I’m sure we’d all love Jordan Lee back but that’s unlikely. It feels like the position is cursed, time to beat it!
Ideally we need at least 1 (maybe 2) more players for the engine room. I had counted on Courtney definitely signing; Kevin had shown great faith in him as captain and it shocks me a little that league teams would be interested. Much like Brendan he’s taking a while to decide and will more than likely end up somewhere different. Besides we really need skilful players who can make an impact going forward, chipping with goals and assists – which was never Courtney’s strong point!
The side needs a width again, I hope this isn’t a recurring theme in 16-17! At least one winger in the mould of Sparkes would be nice, somebody who hugs the touch-line and gets quality crosses into the box. Upfront two more strikers would be great, ideally with different assets to JP and Ruairi. A target man to help us hold up the ball and close out games and maybe a striker/winger who is happy to fill in where required. I wouldn’t count out Jamie Reid returning, a local lad who may not get a chance at City. Not a player who’ll score you 20 a season, but an industrious team player.
4 – Nicho!
There was much speculation that GI would remove Nicho and bring in their own man. Well thankfully he’s still here! There is optimistic signs this summer that Nico has learnt from past mistakes in the transfer market, and is putting together a smallish squad who can (fingers crossed) get us a proper foothold in the division (no great escapes required). He has also made positive remarks about the owners and how things have been developing behind the scenes. Of course he’s unlikely to verbally criticise them, however Kev is so honest I think we can trust his positive comments.
Ideally he’d love a bigger budget I’m sure, but there does seem to be a little harmony creeping into the club. The new shirt deal with Pro-Direct (swish…) gives an indication that we are negotiating better terms, and it would be a relief if next season the gaffer and his players have only footballing matters to worry about. With our rollercoaster seasons that’s more than enough!
5 – Dream Team
The summer is a time to take a break and just relax a little for TT! Mind you the site has still kept moving with our ‘Dream Team’ feature. So far we have had a mix of experienced and younger fans; including Sam who enjoyed his first game in 2004, instantly making me feel old (1989 for me). There have been a number of players who keep cropping up (Russell, Woods, Hilly…) and the feature will continue to run assuming I can tempt more people in. TUFC fans love to reminisce; in our recent times of trouble it’s always nice to remember better times and better players! Keep an eye out for more.
Dominic – TT Editor