It appears, after more damaging defeats, that Chris Wilder is looking to start all over again with a season that’s going further and further south by the week. On the pitch things have been almost as disjointed as they were a year ago with the only shed of light being the start we made that’s keeping us breathing in air for now and the manager is having another throw of the dice that he now has to get right.
Today has seen a mass clear out of loan players with Jordan Archer, Stewart Murdoch, Tom Newey and Ryan Watson and Danny Alfei sent packing back to Swansea City in a cancellation of a loan spell that will leave few tears falling on the Sixfields terraces. It’s a shakeup that’s been needed but Wilder will have to be very careful with his latest intake that are already starting to arrive.
It all started with Jason Taylor’s arrival from Cheltenham Town – a rugged, battler of a player by all accounts who looks likely to take the role of terrier away from Ricky Ravenhill who is also expected to leave Sixfields soon. With that being a straight swap of sorts there’s still plenty of gaps to fill and a right back and striker had to be priorities.
The right back arrived in the form of Brendon Maloney on loan from Yeovil Town this afternoon. He’s a former product of the Nottingham Forest academy and also played for a season with Bristol City so has a decent C.V for a 25 year old. He’s in a prime position of following Alfei and a run of two good games in a row would immediately equal an improvement in that position.
Signing number three was revealed to be winger Rickie Holmes who was Portsmouth’s player of the year last season but deemed surplus to requirements this time around. He’s a winger or second striker and the signing raises one or two questions over the futures of Chris Hackett, Lawson D’Ath and Kaid Mohammed, all of whom he’ll fight against for places in the side. He started out in Southend’s youth team so it’s a nice coincidence that his debut will come against the Shrimpers tomorrow afternoon. I’ve been impressed when he’s played against us so let’s hope the old Sixfields curse doesn’t come into play!
I would think that’s the end of the scramble for now but if Ivan Toney leaves over the next few weeks then we’ll definitely need more fire power.
As for those staying put and trying to dig themselves out of a hole, there’s only a couple who can lay a claim to having considerably helped the cause so far. Marc Richards is trying his hardest to single headedly pull us away from trouble but his goals are being cancelled out for the most part by more defending that’s bringing us back to the dark old days of twelve months ago. We need a period of getting results again, such is the nature of the decline down the table and Wilder now knows that his job is on the line and that this month is going to crucial to his tenure in more ways than one.
If this latest reboot turns into another false dawn then the players may not be the only ones heading for the hills in the early months of 2015.
In a funny way, victory over Southend tomorrow will just prolong the agony.