|Armchair Scouting - Midfield 2013/14|
Written by wkj on Wednesday, 3rd Apr 2013 16:26
To the joy of many ITFC fans, the once leakiest defence in the country has now become one of the toughest nuts to crack. Now the attention has moved towards questionable distribution, leading to a lack of goals.
Next season will be Mick's first full year at Portman Road and no fans want to see a repeat of the Paul Jewell drama, another manager who comes in halfway through the seasons, saves the club from certain relegation (fingers crossed) then chucks it all away next season.
Paul Jewell had to bring in a high number of loans into the club, which rarely offered much excitement. Ultimately, the feeling is with FFP on the horizon, teams are going to have to try and do a lot more with a lot less.
As a fan this leads me to put myself in the fantasy position of an armchair scout. If I was to work for our great club, who would I see as a possible bargain coup next year?
Midfield seems to be our biggest problem next year. Lee Martin and Andy Drury seem unlikely to extend their contracts, Loanee Guirane N'Daw has a degree of off the field issues and Carlos Edwards is at the point of his career where he could well be pulling away from his peak.
Luke Hyam seems an ever improving force for the club who will hopefully continue to grow and feature in the squad. Who might be a bargain buy to fill the gaps in the middle (including competition/rotation for Edwards)?
The following shortlist of players are likely to hold 'bargain bin' price tags, should the transfer budget not allow us to sign who we see as the ideal transfers and more obvious targets on the wish list.
Mark Duffy - Scunthorpe Utd
Born in 1985, Duffy is player born in Liverpool, who joined Scunthorpe (then in the Championship) in 2011 following stays at various lower league clubs. The 27-year-old right winger is no stranger to setting up goals with 14 assists and four goals from 38 matches this season alone. Scunthorpe are currently dangerously close to being relegated into League Two, and he may well fit well in the ITFC set up for relatively little (his contract is nearing its conclusion). Although Edwards shows little signs of slowing down, he is at a point in his career where it may be wise to start looking for a replacement.
Dean Cox - Leyton Orient
Born in 1987, Cox enjoyed a five-year stay at Brighton and Hove Albion (2005-10) scoring 16 goals in 146 games. After a loan to Eastbourne, Orient decided to call upon the services of this winger/attacking midfielder, who has scored 22 in 122 for the club, providing a modest 12 assists this season alone. Orient are currently fighting for a play-off spot, although with teams above holding multiple games in hand, achieving this would be very unlikely. With the fantastic mentoring of Terry Connor and the coaching staff, could this player be a more creative and hungry option for the out of favour (amongst the fans) Drury, whose future with the club is in question?
Luke Murphy - Crewe
At just 23 Murphy has made 157 appearances and 20 goals for Crewe since 2008. Crewe are renowned for producing quality young players and having provided the Railwaymen with 10 assists this campaign, his quality is evident. The versatile midfielder seems to enjoy taking as well as making chances. Crewe's play-off chances were extinguished following a poor March, and a Championship team may well lure this up and coming talent for a reasonable fee.
Jacob Mellis - Barnsley
This 22-year-old midfielder started his career at Chelsea before being loaned out to Southampton and Barnsley. Mellis eventually opted to join the Tykes in 2012, notching five goals and nine assists in 28 games played for far. Mellis has represented England at U19, U17 and U16 levels. He agreed a two-year deal in 2012, but the relegation threatened team may find it hard to keep this lad if they drop. Although talented, Mellis has a history of antics both at club level and off the field, could the wise of owl McCarthy keep this lad's feet on the ground?
Mark Bryne - Barnet
Born in Kilnamanagh, Dublin, this 5ft 9in tall 24-year-old is currently enjoying life in League Two with Barnet, making nine assists. Barnet have had a disappointing year and are currently 18th in the league, however Bryne has often been a reoccurring glimmer of light, having found the net 14 times in 104 appearances for the club (28 of which were on loan) Could this midfielder learn and adapt from Mick and Terry? Securing this player would likely be quite cheap.
These articles are always fun to write, as there are more obvious targets that present themselves if the money is right, however if we now have to embrace a bargain buy culture for FFP in 2013/14, could these players just be the hidden gems lurking in the bargain bin?
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