Here’s my column from last week’s Leader. It forms part of the paper’s comprehensive pre-match coverage every Friday, featuring interviews, an in-depth look at the opposition and lots of statistical analysis. All content in the column (c) www.leaderlive.co.uk.
There’s the beginnings of a buzz around The Racecourse at the moment. Isn’t it funny what a couple of new signings will do?
Elliott Durrell’s arrival has really sparked interest. A prolific scorer this season at the level below us, he looks on paper like the sort of progressive move we ought to be looking to make in the transfer market.
I hope there’s some realism mixed into all the excitement over his signature though. I’d hate to see too much pressure heaped onto the shoulders of a promising talent who deserves a chance to find his feet without unrealistic expectations being placed upon him.
Admittedly, it’s very exciting to watch his brilliant goals on youtube and salivate at the thought of him dancing through defences in a Wrexham shirt The phenomenal goal he managed against Bradford Park Avenue this season showed not only a flair for the dramatic but a terrifically quick pair of feet on a gluepot of a pitch.
However, one shouldn’t jump to conclusions on the basis of some video highlights. After all, remember the twist we got our knickers into when we saw Silvio Spann’s amazing free kicks for Trinidad? He eventually turned out to be a decent full back, but we never experienced those sort of fireworks.
Durrell is a young footballer who will be experiencing the professional game for the first time. We only have to look back as far as Nat Knight–Percival to recall a player arriving from a part-time club and becoming a massive success for us. However, we also ought to remember that he experienced terrific difficulties in his first season as he adjusted to the demands of being a full-time professional.
Likewise, Steve Abbott might have returned to banging the goals in now he’s at Airbus, but he never threatened to make the adjustment with us and replicate the form he’d shown a level lower in Bath.
Durrell clearly has something, but the excitement that greeted his signature suggested fans expect an immediate return. I’d love that to be the case, but I’ll be perfectly happy if he spends the rest of this season adjusting to his new situation, ready to bloom after the Summer.
In many ways it’s the signature of Danny Livesey which is the more interesting. Firstly, he’s the man who addresses the obvious requirement in our squad. As I mentioned last week, our attack is actually functioning rather well despite the lack of a regular goal scorer up front. However, our back four has been in obvious need of shoring up.
Livesey arrives with the sort of pedigree you’d hope for, having performed well in the Football League and earned the kudos of his fellow professionals in being selected for a PFA divisional team of the season.
The excitement might have centred around Durrell, but I suspect it’ll be the success of Livesey which will determine whether our January signings will have a marked difference to our fortunes.