News, views and gossip from the magnificent 72
Last Tuesday we brought you a run-down of the Championship dealings from the January transfer window. As promised, here’s the best of the rest from Leagues One and Two.
Activity was somewhat less quiet in English football’s third and fourth tiers, with many of the lower leagues’ star performers heading for pastures new in the Championship.
Perhaps the most high-profile departure from League One was Swindon starlet Charlie Austin, who left for Eddie Howe’s Burnley. It is a scenario which is becoming all too familiar for Town, who have also seen fellow top scorers Simon Cox and Billy Paynter depart in the last two seasons.
Robins boss Danny Wilson was quick to line up a replacement for his departed goal-getter, capturing Torquay hot shot Elliot Benyon on a two-and-a-half year deal. The striker has already hit the ground running, scoring a last minute equaliser on his debut against Rochdale on Saturday. The permanent signing of Portsmouth winger Matt Ritchie, following a successful loan spell, should go some way to helping the new striker continue to bed in.
Torquay themselves were left in the lurch on deadline day, picking up Shrewsbury striker Jake Robinson on loan to cover the loss of their departed 13-goal man. A dream debut against Hereford produced the game’s opener – until it was later found out Robinson had indeed been ineligible to play.
Can Benyon fill the void left by Charlie Austin?
Hereford went on to win 3-1. Mathieu who? Well, that would be a certain Manset, the Bulls’ prize striker who made the switch to Championship Reading. Manager Jamie Pitman looked to Aldershot mouthful Wesley Ngo Baheng to step into the young Frenchman’s shoes.
Another club looking to fill a goal-scoring void were League One Plymouth, who were resigned to losing star man Bradley Wright-Phillips to Charlton. But the Devonshire outfit’s untimely transfer embargo prevented Argyle chief Peter Reid from replacing the striker.
It didn’t end there. Reid was resigned to losing winger Craig Noone to Brighton for £300,000 and Benin international Reda Johnson to Sheffield Wednesday. A plethora of financial strains are making life tough at Home Park.
The aforementioned Owls were busy in the transfer market themselves, but Alan Irvine will not be overseeing his new boys after being handed his P45 by Milan Mandaric on Thursday. Irvine snapped up Leicester centre-back Michael Morrison, as well as Carlisle forward Gary Madine on permanent deals. Fellow forward Marcus Tudgay departed to Nottingham Forest on a permanent deal.
Greg Abbot’s north-east play-off hopefuls snapped up the strike pairing of the highly-rated Bohemians Paddy Madden and Rangers’ Rory Loy to cover the loss of ten-goal hitman Madine.
Elsewhere, another manager who will be putting his feet up in front of Jeff Stelling on a Saturday afternoon is Brentford’s Andy Scott, who was dismissed in unfortunate circumstances on Thursday.
The Bees snapped up four Championship loanees throughout the month, including Millwall pair Lewis Grabban and Marc Laird, as well as Norwich midfielder Owain Tudor-Jones.
Fellow strugglers Tranmere grabbed former midfielder Andy Robinson from Leeds after a successful loan spell, while relegation-haunted Bristol Rovers signed no fewer than six players in their battle to avoid the drop. Midfielder Gavin Williams made the short-distance move from rivals Bristol City, while striker Rene Howe joined on loan from Peterborough.
Darren Ferguson added David Ball to his Posh ranks, along with the loan capture of Leicester’s Tom Kennedy. The departure of Aaron Mclean to Hull was a blow, but holding onto the key pairing of George Boyd and Craig Mackail-Smith will be crucial for the Posh’s promotion hopes.
Another League One chief snaring former Premier League stars was Huddersfield boss Lee Clark, who tied down the services of former Everton striker Danny Cadamarteri - who is now in his second spell with the Terriers and scored on his return in a 4-1 win over Exeter - and the loan signing of Hull City midfielder Kevin Kilbane. The addition of young Newcastle defender Tamas Kadar also looks an astute piece of business.
Cadamateri scored two minutes into his Huddersfield comeback
League One promotion hopefuls Southampton were more conservative in their approach than in recent windows, tying down Richard Chaplow on a permanent deal from Preston after a useful loan spell on the South Coast. Jonathan Forte was picked up from Scunthorpe, while Leicester winger Dany N’Guessan joined on loan until the end of the campaign.
Ambitious Oldham looked for the signings that would cement their current play-off position, bringing in veteran defender Andy Todd, Arsenal youngster Cedric Evina and Derby midfielder Medi Abalimba. Manager Paul Dickov also secured the services of Manchester United stopper Ben Amos on loan.
Elsewhere, Bournemouth lost highly-rated Josh McQuoid to Millwall, while the Cherries re-signed Norwich’s former Welsh Under-21 international Rhoys Wiggins. Paul Ince’s Notts County picked up Liverpool full-back Stephen Darby, along with former Wolves winger Lewis Gobern from Grimsby.
Struggling Dagenham picked up striker John Akinde on loan from Bristol City, while Walsall snapped up journeyman midfielder Jason Price on a short-term deal from Carlisle.
At the top of League Two there was little in the way of transfer activity from the top four, but Rotherham will be pleased to have hung onto linchpin striker Adam le Fondre for another window at least. Promotion seems imperative if they are to keep their star forward for much longer.
Port Vale added no fewer than five loanees to their ranks, including West Brom pairing Romaine Sawyers and Kaylden Brown, while Shrewsbury wasted no time in bringing in the likes of Coventry’s Jermaine Grandison and former Walsall wideman Mark Wright.
At the bottom, the loan market proved kind to Stockport, who snapped up Blackpool striker Ishmel Demontagnac and Rochdale forward Anthony Elding on short-term deals. Fellow strugglers Burton Albion brought in Crewe striker Calvin Zola on loan - having sold star striker Shaun Harrad to Northampton, while Lincoln were kept busy to bring in Sunderland keeper Trevor Carson and Rochdale midfielder Scott Spencer. The Imps lost longest-serving midfielder Scott Kerr, however, who joined York on a permanent deal.
As usual it was the loan market which was utilised most by the sides in League One and Two, with Championship and Premier League youngsters in particular flocking in their numbers to taste the delights of lower-league first team football.
In a climate where survival is crucial to securing the long-term futures of clubs in the Football League, managers never want to lose their best performers. But as we have seen, it is rarely easy to hang on when the bigger fish come calling.
Swindon boss Danny Wilson has been forced into finding a man to replace his star forward three seasons in a row. Has he got it right again this time?
Charlie Austin and Mathieu Manset are both ready for their first tastes of Championship football, a platform they both need if they are ever to achieve their aspirations of performing at an even higher level. For former Poole Town man and bricklayer Austin, it’s been quite a story.
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