DAN THE FAN: Chorley has delivered with Cooper and O’Brien – TrustSTFC

DAN THE FAN: Chorley has delivered with Cooper and O’Brien

Dan the Fan

Over the past four days, it’s been the tale of last-minute goals with Town experiencing both pure frustration and joy, leaving their grip on a playoff spot much weaker.

After dominating Colchester at the weekend only leaving Essex with a point was a big blow to our season, as despite having 19 games left it’s those sorts of moments you look back on in May and ask, if only.

Leaving Crawley’s visit as a big test for Ben Garner’s side, to show if they could bounce back from such a setback, the manager handed the new centre back Brandon Cooper his first start for Town and striker Josh Davison his home debut.

The 22-year-old defender enjoyed a successful first start in Town colours as he looked calm and composed at the back, comfortable with the ball at his feet, able to bring the ball out of defence on a couple of occasions, he will become a key player in the second half of the season.

Another January recruit Jake O’Brien also enjoyed a solid 90 minutes and after his shaky debut at Mansfield has settled down incredibly well in Town’s back three formation.

Sadly, Dion Conroy was again the weak link at the back as he gave the ball away cheaply and hasn’t looked on his game in 2022, it might be best if he sits out this weekend against Exeter and Garner brings back Akin Odimayo.

At the other end of the pitch, Charlton loanee Josh Davison enjoyed a decent first half but sadly picked up a hamstring injury late in the first half, it might be a couple of weeks before we can judge his impact on this side, but the very early sides are positive.

Another new signing on loan Louis Barry made his Town debut as Davison’s replacement in the second half and didn’t have too much impact on the game, but after not playing much this season, he will need game time before we see how he can influence a game.

With Davison possibly injured I’m concerned we now have no strikers in the mould of someone who can hold the ball up, with Harry McKirdy and Barry similar in their games, this was evident last night as there was a Tyreece Simpson sized hole in our attacking play.

We may see some movement with the free transfer window still open, with names being mentioned, one being former Derby County striker Sam Baldock, at 5’7 he’s not equipped to replace what we lost, but when someone of Baldock’s quality is available, we’d be crazy to overlook a striker with such a goalscoring pedigree.

When the news broke regarding Kaine Kesler Hayden not returning to Wiltshire, a new face would be needed at right wing-back with Rob Hunt not a natural in this position, thankfully Town came up with the goods, in Joe Tomlinson on loan from Peterborough United.

The former Hungerford Town captain is predominantly a left wing-back, on the face of things more competition with Ellis Iandolo for a starting place, but Ben Garner was insistent the 21-year-old can play either side of the pitch, it’s encouraging to see he scored 12 goals for Eastleigh during his time in Hampshire, a promising stat as goals from this area of the pitch have been lacking this season.

In summary, the first January transfer window under the new ownership and Director of Football has been a good one, as we’ve replaced all the players who have been recalled, and added some extra quality in defence, time will tell if they can help Town achieve their ultimate goal and bounce back to League One at the first time of asking.