With yesterday’s signing 22 year old English left back Jamie Reckord (a Wolves player who was mainly out on loan in League One and League Two for the past 3+ seasons) Ross County have now signed or taken on loan no less than seven players (all of whom are native English speakers, but that’s another topic for another day…) since the departure of manager Derek Adams bringing the “wee club’s” roster to 32 players. That’s a number that would have been unthinkable in previous years when 22-24 players seemed to be the maximum amount the club was willing to bank roll at any given moment. Which raises the question, “how many of these players are going to be with the club when the January transfer window closes?” This question becomes even more interesting when one considers that since joining the Scottish top flight the club has usually signed 3-6 players during the transfer window.
For the first time since the end of the “Adams Era” I don’t think length of contract is going to have much to do with how new manager Jim McIntyre shuffles his deck. That is, I think if a player is deemed surplus to requirements he will be released even if that might have financial implications for the club. The flip side of that is that I think if a player has be signed (or brought in on loan) only until January the club will do whatever it can to retain the player if he is deemed “essential to requirements.” With that in mind this seemed like as good a time as any to take a look at the club’s roster and see who might be looking for work in the New Year…
Not Going Anywhere*
*Well, unless somebody is willing to write Roy McGregor a BIG check!
There are some injuries to consider, but I think this is pretty much the core of the team- at least for the rest of this season. Of the last seven names on the list, all of whom are on loan or on short-term contracts, I think the club will retain as many of them as it can. Obviously Reckord, Dunfield, and Wood have yet to make appearances for the club, but I have a hard time believing that Jim McIntyre is bringing in players he doesn’t foresee a future for. In the cases of players like Gardyne and Toshney the key will be to convince their parent clubs (and the players) that staying for the second half of the season is in the interest of all parties.
They’ll probably want to keep renting, rather than buying…
I put both goalkeepers here simply because, while neither is terrible, neither is a long-term player at this level and if the club can find somebody better on the transfer market or as a free agent I believe they will snap them up immediately and wave “good-bye” to one or both of these players. I put Maatsen, Dingwall, and Ross here because, at least under the Adams’ regime, nobody seemed to know what to do with them. I think Jim McIntyre is aware that they all have futures in football ahead of them, but whether those futures are with Ross County or at the Premiership level is open to question. I think that the days of a player hanging around the club for years as a “squad player” or perennial back-up (Joe Malin, anyone?) are over and that there are going to be more, earlier, conversations that start with, “Sorry son, it just hasn’t worked out…” than there used to be at Victoria Park.
These four, I think, are too young to be moved, having just moved up to the senior side, or in the case of Latouchent, being too young AND having what appears to be a massive “upside” in the game.
Dead Men Walking
How can I put this? I know injuries are a factor in a few of these cases, but if you are on a last place club and you don’t play, your time is up- or at least running out. Of this list, only Jervis has appeared in more than five of the club’s nine matches. Saunders hasn’t logged a minute. Despite a desperate need for improvement in the defense, the club has gone out and signed new players rather than giving additional chances to Dreesen, Celcer, and Balk, none of whom made it past the bench in Ross County’s last two, points-earning matches. And then there is poor Jim Fenlon, who, despite appearing to be a prospect at League Two’s AFC Wimbledon has seemed painfully lost in the Premiership. It’s hard to bad-mouth a player who hasn’t even turned 21 yet, but Fenlon is quickly earning himself a spot in that special place in Ross County lore reserved for the likes of Atli Gregersen, Dyron Daal, and Allan Creer. That’s not a good thing, by the way.
Oh, right, and former Motherwell captain Paul Quinn is on trial with the club at the moment…