Anderson’s recent chairmans note seems to suggest that an embargo free window doesn’t actually involve anything different to an embargo enforced window.
Additionally, Parky seems to be as steadfastly stuck fast to 4-5-1/3-5-2 as that bloke was stuck to the microwave he cemented to his head. So any signings will undoubtedly be to strengthen those formations.
A point of note is a comment made by Anderson in April 16, shortly after taking over as chairman in regard to a ‘plan B’; “We need 23-24 players of our own and I would hope five or six of the younger players are going to come through, stand up and be counted.” I only mention this because it is uncannily similar to the recent pre Christmas chairmans note stating “we already have an eligible squad of 33 players and l have to weigh up the ability of the manager being able to manage a squad of this size, let alone increase it and still keep the players happy when they are not being selected for the matchday squad.
A great deal of managers at all levels have commented on this over the years and generally speaking, the conventional wisdom is that 23/24 is a maximum ideal squad size.”
Sounds a load of bollocks to me, as most teams in the upper leagues have bigger squads than that. Nevertheless, Anderson is the owner, so we need to take this view as the clubs starting point for this window.
The 33 man squad actually consists of just 25 senior and 8 junior players. (Remember that Amos isn’t included due to a season loan with Charlton.) In summary, it seems that Anderson is looking at a 23/24 senior squad come 01 Feb, which in turn means players having to leave to make room for those coming in. One final, final point is that it seems that the club need to sell a player or two to cover ongoing loses and if so, then this window isn’t just about improving the squad as stated.
As to who comes in, it completely depends on who can be moved on or sold. So here’s my speculative view on which of the seniors are likely to be transfer listed, are a maybe for transfer or unlikely to move. (The given year is when their contract completes.)
Ben Alnwick 30 2018; Staying. Our number one goalie is going nowhere. Good enough to be our number one but not exactly tearing up trees.
Mark Howard 30 2018; Staying. Despite recently being usurped by Turner as sub, Howard is a cheap experienced backup keeper. I doubt Parky will go into the season run in with just a junior as option 2.
Mark Little 28 2019; Staying. Solid right back going nowhere.
Stephen Darby 28 2019; Going. Darby has shown no evidence of being able to perform to a Championship standard. Unfortunately, our back up RB can only depart if a replacement is found.
David Wheater 30 2018; Staying. Our best CB so far this season but unlikely to have interest from elsewhere.
Mark Beevers 27 2018; Staying. Despite being a relative disappointment this season I can’t see Beevers going anywhere.
Reece Burke 20 (loan to Jan 18); Maybe but hope his loan is extended. Personally think he’s better than Beevers and believe more is to come from this player. However, if recent media speculation is true that the Hammers want to offload him, then who knows if this talented player will be available for loan come 30 Jan.
Dorian Dervite 29 2018; Staying. Parky rates him it seems after his adequate performances in a back three. A backup who is needed but unlikely to play again unless two of the other four CB’s are injured.
Derik Osede 24 2018; Going, unfortunately. Parky obviously either just doesn’t rate him or can’t decide where he fits in to the team. Best for all parties if he can be moved on.
Andrew Taylor 31 2019; Staying. Mr reliable has done enough this season although he’s been badly hampered by injuries.
Antonee Robinson 20 (loan to Jan 18); Staying. Certainly a prospect with some MOTM performances this season, despite his learning curve costing us in other games. Apparently the club have a gentleman’s agreement that his loan will be extended for the season. Hopefully that is true.
Karl Henry 34 2018; Staying. Seriously, if anyone thinks different then they must be out of their fucking minds.
Jem Karacan 28 2018; Going. Out of favour with Parky it seems. Coupled to this is the desperate need for a central midfielder who can actually control ball play in midfield including being actually able to pass to fellow players, means someone has to be a fall guy. Personally, I’d like to see Karacan given another chance alongside Henry but it ain’t going to happen.
Josh Cullen 21 (loan to Jan 18); Going. As stated above we need midfielders who can influence a game and Cullen hasn’t shown that ability so far. Will be very surprised if his loan is extended despite featuring in the recent Sheff Utd game.
Darren Pratley 32 2018; *High earner alert* maybe. Obviously highly rated by and central to Parkys plans. However, Anderson will quite rightly be keen to get Prats Prem salary off the books if at all possible and there are plenty of other options in central midfield.
Josh Vela 23 2019; Going. Whilst not showing his full potential due to being played out of position in the attacking midfield role, he is our only real sellable asset. For that reason only, I will be staggered if he is still with us once the window has closed.
Sammy Ameobi 25 2018; Staying. Our only unpredictable player who can be effective both on the wing or as an attacking midfielder. With just six months left on his contract, we won’t get any decent money for him, so he stays for me.
Filipe Morais 31 2018; Maybe. Being fourth in the queue of wingers would suggest that Bolton will listen to offers. Coupled to this is that Morais hasn’t really convinced that he can adapt to Championship football. On the other hand he is a good backup to have in the squad a la Dervite.
Will Buckley 27 2019; Staying. Obviously Championship standard and vital in our battle against relegation. I can’t see Parky permitting his departure.
Craig Noone 29 2019; Staying. Slow starter who’s only just now getting game time. As to whether he’s still good enough for this level is an unknown but I can’t really see him going anywhere.
Chris Taylor 30 2018 injured FFS. Otherwise, the shithouse would be top of the departure list. Let’s just pray he gets fit and transferred before the window closes.
Gary Madine 26 2019; Staying. Sorry but I just do not believe the Sunderland rumour and whilst BGM has shown he can handle the Championship, I simply cannot see Bolton getting an offer that will make Anderson press the transfer button. Also a fundamental player for Parky, who will no doubt insist that Madine should not be sold.
Adam Le Fondre 30 2019; Going. Can’t play on the wing and doesn’t fit into Parky’s 4-5-1 striker profile. Great shame as I think this fella can get us those goals but Parky is just not interested.
Adam Armstrong 20 (loan to Jan 18); Going. Now that our wingers are up and running, added to the fact that Adam has the ALF problem of not meeting Parky’s 6 foot plus striker profile, the guy is surplus to requirements.
For what it’s worth and assuming that the club can move on the required players, I reckon that the club need a right back, two central mids and a striker. All as loans or free transfers of course.
So there you go. Let me know your thoughts below the line.