>Taking A Chance on Jansen

>Matt Jansen’s arrival at The Racecourse is certainly a fascinating one! The question is whether he is the Matt Jansen he was seven years ago.

I’m sure we’re all familiar with the story of the dreadful motorcycle accident which threatened not only his career but his life back in 2002. The question is whether he’ll be able to rediscover the form he enjoyed in his youth by dropping down to the fifth tier, or whether the scars he bears from his trauma mean he’ll never be able to reach those heights again.

Because make no bones about it, Jansen was one hell of a young prospect. Sven-Goran Eriksson fancied him enough to see him as a potential international, and if things had not gone so sadly awry he would never have dreamed of rolling up at Wrexham at this point in his career.

The question is, will Saunders find he still has the ability to create and destroy? Unfortunately a few of the players he has brought in have failed to bring their undoubted technical abilities to bear on the pitch. Patrick Suffo admits that he hasn’t got more than sixty minutes in him, and had an extremely unhappy thirty at Eastbourne. Christian Gyan’s hopes look have been terminally damaged by his disasterous showing at right back against Ebbsfleet, a performance brought into stark relief by the subsequent improvement of form by Aurelien Collin, leading me to the obvious conclusion that his shaky play in that game was substantially down to the flaky full back outside him. Jamie McCluskey, much younger but once more a player who, if he’d been able to avoid injury problems, wouldn’t have touched The Conference with a bargepole, has also yet to be able to show us fully what he can bring to the table despite a couple of sparky cameo performances as a late sub.

So will Jansen be able to buck the trend and impose his undoubted talent on the pitch? For the sake of our faltering play-off hopes, I hope so, although I can’t help holding my breath in the hope that there’s something else in the pipeline as well. Saunders said after the Forest Green game that he saw Jansen as less of a gamble than an untried young striker, and he seemed to have a specific player in mind. I must beg to differ; Saunders’ record in the transfer market is markedly better when he’s bringing in raw talent on loan from the upper echelons of the game than when he trades in the bargain basement for talented but damaged goods. Bearing that in mind, a highly-rated but green kid from The Premiership might well be more of a banker when thrown in against Conference defences.

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