What fortunate timing! Good job we had to ask Stoke to let us keep Dan Bachmann before we play them in the cup. If we’d asked them after our glorious 4-0 victory they might not have been in such a charitable mood!
Stoke are the gift that keeps on giving this Christmas! Bachmann’s presence is clearly crucial if we’re to achieve anything this season, and having him for the whole campaign is a massive bonus. Throw in the anticipated extra revenue from our FA Cup clash, and Stoke have not only donated a key player to us, but will also bankroll a much-needed refreshment of the squad.
If the Potters had sent someone to watch the Dartford game they might have asked themselves whether Bachmann will actually get much out of the level of football he’s playing at: at least he had plenty to do as we lulled Stoke into a genuine sense of security. However, the deal is a two-way street. Bachmann is relishing playing “real” football that actually matters to committed fans rather than inhabiting the strange twilight world of the age-limited elite reserve leagues. Bachmann will return to the Britannia battled-hardened; Wrexham, if they are to achieve anything in the second half of last season, will clearly have to lean heavily on probably the best keeper at Conference level.
Which leads me to a peculiar question: was our team selection on Saturday motivated by the desire to hang onto Bachmann? Don’t get me wrong: as I suggested in the last paragraph, Bachmann is our best keeper. However, Jon Flatt’s heroics against Maidstone and Southport meant the man in possession was in phenomenal form. I assume that when he renewed his loan spell last week his place in the pecking order was made plain to him. Bringing Bachmann back in is certainly the hard-nosed decision, and one I’d have made. But was its timing motivated at all by a need to strengthen our hand in the negotiation with Stoke? How would that conversation had gone if we hadn’t given his a game on Saturday? I’m sure Stoke aren’t loaning him out to sit on the bench in the Conference when he’s clearly good enough to be first choice at a higher level.
As for the negotiation with Flatt, I’m sure there was one factor which certainly appealed to him, irrespective of whether he was selected in the league: with Bachmann ineligible for the match at The Britannia, it seems only fair to reward with the goalkeeper’s shirt the man whose performances in both FA Cup and FA Trophy have been exemplary. Where that leaves Andy Coughlin is a subject for a different blog altogether.