When we signed Angelos Tsiaklis I was rather pleased. Here was a player who’d done well on loan last season and was clearly technically sound. With him on the pitch results were good last season, so he appeared to be a good acquisition.
I was pleased with his debut at Cambridge too. Having not been attached to a club in the Summer he faded and was withdrawn, but while he was on the pitch he looked quite sharp and influenced play significantly in the opening thirty minutes.
And then nothing; he’s not been near the first team since!
Admittedly, we seem to have an awful lot of central midfielders, so breaking into that position isn’t easy, especially as Andy Fleming and Christian Smith have sewn the two positions up for themselves in recent weeks. With Hedi Taboubi, Mark Jones, Nathan Fairhurst and Silvio Spann also capable of playing in that position (and Saunders has started Marc Williams too) maybe Tsiaklis is just at the end of a very long queue. But if that’s the case, perhaps we oughtn’t to have shelled out on a contract for him.
It’s a position Nathan Fairhurst is also in. I’m on record as being a fan of Fairhurst, and I’m clearly not alone; hearing a chorus of “There’s only one Nathan Fairhurst” ring out for an inexperienced holding midfielder when he was brought on last Tuesday was an unexpected treat! Surely, in the suspended Smith’s absence, he’ll start at York as Mark Jones sadly failed to take the first chance Saunders has given him to play centrally in a midfield four. And if the Fairhurst-Fleming combination can replicate the success they enjoyed last season, when they were at the heart of our excellent winning run which propelled us into promotion contention until Andy Crofts came and turfed Fairhurst out of the side, then Christian Smith might pay a heavy price for that rash tackle last Saturday.