Well, I’m happy! I suspect JJ Hooper and Devonte Redmond are too!
The return of Ben Tollitt can only be a good thing. The addition of pace to our front three can’t hurt, and I like the idea of Hooper having a wide player who’ll be able to deliver the ball into the box for him, having stretched the game and made some space in the box for him.
Tollitt fits into a 4-2-3-1 well, and that was the formation we generally played last season when he started. In each of the 6 games he started in we used Akil Wright in the hole; no offence to Wright, a player I admire enormously, but Tollitt ought to enjoy having Redmond to his right instead.
Wright has the attributes of a box-to-box or holding midfielder, but doesn’t have a Number 10’s passing range. Redmond does, and Tollitt ought to find Redmond is more likely to spot his movement and find him. The arrival of another forward with intelligent movement should also help Redmond as he tries to find his match sharpness.
Last season was all about an attack that struggled to create and finish. Despite that, Tollitt scored three goals and got an assist in the nine games he started, to add to his debut goal off the bench. We scored in all but one of the games he started, and the exception was the 1-0 loss to eventual league winners Leyton Orient, in which he was our best attacking player. Now, with more expressive players around him, he has the possibility to flourish.
Tollitt is guaranteed a warm welcome from fans who already love him. He seemed to be very happy at The Racecourse last season too. Quite apart from the playing qualities he brings with him, this feels emotionally like a great move all round.
The absence of Bobby Grant over the last couple of matches has shown that we lack cover for our front three. All of a sudden, we’ve got four options for the forward spots that look potent at this level. Our season might have just got interesting!