So, after the dust settled and NUFC completed a pretty useful transfer window that brings us all hope, there’s more work for Wor Eddie to do. He has to fit three more players into his 25-man squad for the second half of the season.
Freddie Woodman and Jeff Hendrick going out on loan meant that of the five, Trippier and Wood were already in. Now we have to find spaces for Bruno, Matt Targett and Dan Burn.
The Chronicle believe that the three who’ll be axed will come from the following eight. Those being Ciaran Clark, Jamal Lewis, Matt Ritchie, Fede Fernandez, Emil Krafth, Isaac Hayden, Dwight Gayle and Mark Gillespie.
Craig Hope, who is one of those journo’s who never seems to have an agenda and is more dependable than most, reports that it’s Clark and Lewis plus one other. If that’s the case I’m slightly surprised. I would have thought Lewis would be in the ’25.’ Or is he paying the price for not going on loan?
Obviously Targett has been brought into play and will be first choice, so perhaps NUFC wanted Lewis to go out on loan. He said no, rejecting Stoke and Birmingham – perhaps because he was playing well before his injury and thought if Targett didn’t work out or got injured he’d have been first replacement?
Personally, I would have kept Lewis in but I agree with Clark out. He’s been a good servant for The Club and it should be remembered that he was part of our promotion team. He’s never given less than 100% but this season has been horrible for him and I can’t see him surviving.
So, who will be the third and final player to be left out?
Strangely, perhaps the most obvious one is one that a year or so ago we’d not even have put in the eight let alone the three. That’s Isaac Hayden. He is someone that has dipped in form but was solid last season. However, he’s set to be missing for the next two months with a long-term injury.
It seems as if it’s going to be the end of March before he returns to training and then he has to build up to fitness. By then it’ll either be all over bar the shouting or we’ll be closing in on safety? So, it might just make sense to make him the third particularly when all the others, except one, probably have legitimate reasons to be in.
Gillespie would surely have made way had Woodman not gone out on loan. But I think every Premier League squad retains three keepers so it makes sense to keep him in the 25 even if it’s unlikely he’ll ever play.
Gayle, regardless of his game time even with Wilson out injured, is a forward and therefore scrapes in more in a ‘just in case’ way than being a valuable member. You just never know whether we might have to turn to him so he stays for me.
Same as Fernandez. It seemed as if Howe was going to give him an opportunity before he got injured. With only one CB signed and another looking to have gone in Clark it makes no sense to not include a player many think is our best defensive CB when fit. He should stay easily.
Ok, we’re down to two and I have my favourite between those two. Ritchie is a pest for the opposition and even if he’s now way down the pecking order seems to be someone that is liked around the dressing room. But with five fresh players that influence may wain somewhat. He could well go but then again Howe loved him when he was at Bournemouth.
Which leaves Krafth and for me he’s the one that has to go iif Hayden has a chance of returning from injury sooner than we think.
With Trippier a certain starter, Manquillo in reserve and even Murphy who can play there he seems the most vulnerable and TBF he’s hardly set the world alight. He’s filled in at CB before, but he is not a CB and is also way, way down the pecking order in that position, too.
If Lewis somehow gets a reprieve then it’d be Clark, Hayden/Ritchie and Krafth for me, but it seems as if Lewis won’t and Clark has no chance so I’d personally add Krafth to the ‘3′ that are left out by Eddie Howe.
We’ll find out soon enough!