Grimsby Town: 'Fond farewell for frustrated Anthony Elding'
I MIGHT be in the minority, but I for one was sad to see Anthony Elding leave Grimsby Town this week.
The striker's switch to Preston North End may initially just be on a loan basis, but it would be a massive surprise if Elding reappeared at Blundell Park in the New Year.
"It's a bit of a fresh start for him and is intended for him to eventually earn a permanent deal," joint boss Rob Scott confirmed on Thursday.
Elding has clearly become frustrated with a lack of first-team starts, especially after his partnership with Liam Hearn yielded 45 goals last season – with the former Stockport player contributing 16.
Urgently Seeking two(2&4)bedroom properties for our Lengthy list of possible suitable tenants with the lowest FREES in town and excellent turn around rate for sourcing and managing.
Terms: terms and condition apply
Contact: 01472 355 553
Valid until: Tuesday, June 18 2013
Speaking to the front-man earlier this campaign, he clearly put great stock on that record and felt it should be taken into account this season.
But the summer arrivals of Andy Cook and Greg Pearson – and emergence of Dayle Southwell – gave the Town bosses increased options, and meant no-one was going to be selected on reputation alone.
Ross Hannah's arrival on loan from Bradford City only exacerbated the situation.
Hearn's ruptured Achilles didn't help Elding's cause. There was a real understanding between the pair last season and, without doubt, their play complemented one another.
Missing his partner in crime, Elding hasn't looked quite the same player this time around.
Despite that, the striker has appeared on 16 occasions for Town, with eight of those from the bench.
So it was clear that the 30-year-old was more than just a bit-part player.
Whether Elding became frustrated with being in and out of the side, had his head turned by a League One side, or was just not part of the managers' plans, we'll probably never know.
Maybe it was a combination of all three factors.
But the fact remains that he was a more than useful member of last season's line-up, is understood to have taken a pay-cut to sign a new deal in February, and always worked his socks off on the pitch – often selflessly.
The fist-pumping and badge-kissing that fans loved so much last season seem to have become a stick to beat him with now the team has other striking options.
Harder to dispute is that overall he did a decent job for Town during his short time with the club, and shouldn't be vilified for taking the opportunity to have another shot at league football.
Back where it matters, at Blundell Park, Scott and Paul Hurst are on the look-out for a replacement for Elding.
But with four fit strikers battling it out for the starting berths, there's no great rush to find a new face.
Poacher Hannah continues to average a goal every two games, and Cook seems to have found the confidence and fitness to begin to fulfil his potential.
When Pearson is fit he looks the part, and Southwell gets better with every first-team outing.
The rest of the team are shouldering the burden as well, with goals spread throughout the side – shown again by Sam Hatton's double last weekend.
There are plenty of goals in the squad and, hopefully, Town can prove it once again, this afternoon.