NEW GULL PROFILES – Ricky Aguiar and James Crole by Matty Hayward

NEW GULL PROFILES

Matty Hayward – @MattyHayward96

Matty discusses the new boys

We started the season with a raft of central midfielders. It felt, for a time, that it was the only area of the squad that was over-stacked. Times change, though, and it’s the middle of the park that has felt like the weakest link (in a crowded field) for a while now. With Hanson having literally no impact, McGavin struggling to find his feet at this level, Donnellan forced to play anywhere but midfield, Lapslie often injured and Hall octogenarian, the need for improvements felt like it reached breaking point.

Enter: Ricky Aguiar. The middle-man joins on loan from Swindon, initially on a short-term deal. But who is he? What’s his vibe? Has he been on the end of any wonderful team-moves in the Football League? You’re in the right place.

Meanwhile, a common shout from the Popside (and uncovered away ends) has been “Change it Johnson! Bring someone on!” That, of course, is heavily dependent upon the available substitutes being something other than a massive downgrade on the players who are currently on the pitch. That was a criterion on which many failed. But now we’ve signed James Crole: a young forward on loan from Cardiff. He will be hoping to break into the first team. Who knows; maybe he will!

CAREER SUMMARY – RICKY AGUIAR

Handily, Wikipedia tells us that Aguiar was born in “England”. He started his career at Worthing, where, as a teenager, he played 72 times across three years, and accrued fifteen goals. This feels like a decent record for a child, seventh tier or not. In fact, it was decent enough to earn him a move to Swindon in the summer of 2021.

After a couple of Papa Johns outings and a smattering of runouts from the bench, Our Rick was shunted out on loan to the worst smelling town in western England. At Chippenham, he scored seven in twelve across a three-month stint, which earned him a recall in January 2022. From then, he must have thought his Swindon career was about to take off. Aguiar made fourteen League Two appearances across February, March, and April, including eight starts, and managed to notch a brace in a 5-0 shellacking of Walsall.

The 21-year-old joins the Yellows having not appeared for the Robins since the end of last season, presumably in an attempt to reignite the success that he achieved a year ago.

CAREER SUMMARY – JAMES CROLE

There’s less to say about young Jimmy. He’s played for Cardiff’s youth teams since records began. The international loan to Plainmoor is his first foray into the men’s game, and I like to imagine that it’s the first time he’s crossed the Severn border.

It does appear that he’s scored four goals in five FA Youth Cup games, if that means owt to anyone.

MOST LIKELY/LEAST LIKELY TO

Most Likely To – RA

  • Judging by the above video, he looks like an attack-minded box-to-box midfielder, so I expect him to fit the profile quite well for us either in the 4-4-2 or 5-3-2 formations
  • Be nicknamed something like “Tricky Ricky”.

Least Likely To – RA

  • Stay here very long. If he’s great, Swindon will want him back. If he’s dire, he’ll want out of this sinking ship as soon as possible
  • Know that he’s (according to Torquayfanstats.com) the first Ricky to play for Torquay.

Most Likely To – JC

  • Be confused and astonished at how small all the road signs are, and how they only have one language on. “Eh??” he’ll exclaim, “What are all these vowels doing here? Why don’t all the place names begin with double LL?? And what’s this?? A farm animal that isn’t white and fluffy and attractive?”
  • Be a lethal Crolescorer

Least Likely To – JC

  • Start, I think? We’re hoping that Will Goodwin and Aaron Jarvis will be available for Halifax (h) – though there has been some unconfirmed consternation about whether Goodwin has returned to Stoke – and if so it’ll be hard for Crole to break into the starting lineup. However, as I say, we absolutely need more than just eleven players, and some non-incompetent fresh legs are very welcome up front.
  • Be mates with the real Gareth Bale…

HIGHLIGHTS

Thanks to (very good, Swindon-supporting) comedian Ivo Graham, I’ve had to do no real research here. Allow yourself to rejoice as you watch our new midfielder complete a couple of lovely moves and score a pair of League Two goals. He’s wearing number 28, and both are gorgeous finishes.

We venture over to Facebook for Crole’s goal. A neat touch and finish were in order against Newport Embryos, and he provides it here:

CONCLUSION

These two feel like a reasonably good pair of signings. We were certainly in need of squad depth, and that’s what they both provide. More than that, I think Aguiar is a meaningful upgrade on our midfield options, and should add some desperately needed quality and legwork in a team that has lacked both all season.

Crole is a complete shot in the dark, and that unpredictability can either be read as a fantastic opportunity or a terrible signing. He gives Rob Street vibes, obviously, but one could have said that about Will Goodwin and he’s been comfortably our best player this season in my book. So let’s just…wait and see!

It does mean that our loanee-count is back up to six (these two plus Evans, Goodwin, De Silva, Wearne), which does make one wonder who’ll have to miss out, or if one has returned to their parent club. It is of course possible, but you sense unlikely, that one has joined on a permanent deal. Again, with the lack of communication from the club, we might only find out on Saturday afternoon. What we know for sure is that losing any of them would make our squad considerably weaker, and if Crole has only been signed as a replacement for Goodwin then we really might be in some trouble.

COYY – Matty

COYY – Matty

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