Earlier today, Bolton Wanderers officially completed the signing of Leicester City midfielder Neil Danns on a three month loan deal. Danns has been a regular in the Championship for a number of years but is largely an unknown quantity to Bolton Wanderers fans.
In order to get a bit more info on Bolton's new signing, we spoke with Naveed Khan, a Crystal Palace fan who writes for Footy Matters about the Championship with a specific focus on Crystal Palace. Naveed, who had contributed on a similar piece when Andre Moritz first signed, had watched Danns regularly in the three years that the midfielder spent at Crystal Palace before moving to Leicester City.
We asked the questions and Naveed got us the answers we needed.
What is Danns' primary position? Is he a stay-at-home midfielder or the kind to push forward?
He is a box to box midfielder, suited to being one of a midfield three. He has a lot of energy and covers a lot of ground. However, his technique is not great and he will only really work well if playing with both a holding midfielder and a creative one. He can do neither of those jobs. That said, he likes to get forward and in the box.
His goalscoring record at his previous clubs hasn't been too bad. How likely is he to pop up with a goal?
When at Palace, he scored a few goals. Mixture of a few outside the box or late runs in the box. Goals are part of his game but not sure how his game may have changed over the last couple of years.
From your time watching him at Crystal Palace, did you notice any particular strengths that he had as a player?
He becomes a fan favourite for his energy and perceived effort. He shows a lot of passion and as I have said he covers a lot of ground. Also, if you are in a battle, he likes a scrap and it could be that Freedman wants him to add a bit of aggression to the side.
How about his weaknesses?
As mentioned, his technique isn't great but his greatest weakness is a mixture of a hot head and mistiming tackles. Two years in a row he missed key matches because he didn't keep his head in matches - he reacts to provocation. Another major weakness is his musical skill. As with his football, he thinks he is better than he is.
Was there a particular reason that he left Palace to join Leicester City?
What's the Donald Trump theme? Money money money! We had just stayed up and I think despite the promise of a new dawn for the club, Leicester were being bankrolled and he felt they had a better chance of promotion. The massive pay rise helped, of course.
Finally, do you think that he can help Bolton Wanderers win a match or, if we're being a bit brave, more than one?
Depends how Freedman uses him. He won't win a match in terms of bossing or running a midfield. But he may score an important goal or two. I am surprised Freedman has turned to him so soon this season, thought he is the sort of player he may want after January. Though, signing players like Danns, Moritz and Beckford shows he is turning to players he knows; a sure fire sign of a manager under pressure. Personally, I think he would have been better off going for Owen Garvan.