The only bad news to come out of last Saturday’s joyous spanking of Torquay United was the injury to Jacob Mendy.
The left back went off half way through the first half with what looked like an unpleasant muscular injury. It was a terrible shame, as he has started to illustrate with a flourish why Phil Parkinson thought he would improve his already impressive squad.
However, it seems to fit in with the terrific atmosphere around the club at the moment to find that even in adversity we seem to be able to find a positive. Mendy’s departure only ended up illustrating how successfully Parkinson upgraded his squad in the Summer.
At the end of last season, of course, we suffered injuries which exposed the thinness of our squad. Robbed of a level playing field in the transfer market, we paid a heavy price for not being given the luxury of signing players outside the transfer windows. Parkinson wasn’t given enough time to build a whole squad, and that was what cost us in the final throes of the campaign.
When Mendy broke down on Saturday, though, we saw the terrific punch we now pack on the bench. On came Callum McFadzean, himself an impressive January signing, and he put on a terrific display, capping it with a sublime assist for the final goal.
The scorer of that goal, Anthony Forde, also illustrates the good work Parkinson did of embellishing his squad in the close season. Forde is clearly a class act, and after a handful of games assimilating with our system, he is really repaying his manager’s belief in him as a game changer.
Comfortable on either foot, positionally astute and able to burst past defenders when required, Forde is really looking like a class act, and he’s also a change from what we already had in the squad.
Our strength in depth at wing-back doesn’t end at the number of players we have who can play that position. The variety in their qualities shines through.
Bryce Hosannah and Reece Hall-Johnson are a pair of right wing-backs who both possess a terrific burst of pace and the ability to create opportunities from wide areas. Hall-Johnson is also a goal threat, while Hosannah is equally comfortable on the left.
Forde is different again, a converted midfielder who is able to make play and pick passes. On the other flank we have a couple of all-round wing-backs in Mendy and McFadzean, and therefore the scope to vary our approach on either side according to our requirements in each individual fixture.
I hope Mendy is back soon, but I’m not in a panic about it. Phil Parkinson seems to have his bases covered!