Matt Dannatt: January deals could be key to Grimsby Town's title dream
It has been a busy few weeks of comings and goings at Blundell Park. Here, Football Writer Matt Dannatt takes a look at Grimsby Town’s activity in the January transfer window.
Friday, December 21 2012
Scott Neilson and Ross Hannah both play the last games of their loan spells in the Mariners' clash with Wrexham
Both Neilson and Hannah went out with a bang – helping the Mariners to a 1-0 win over their promotion rivals.
All of the loanees had significantly raised the quality of Town's squad and the fans knew it, chanting 'Sign them up!' at every opportunity.
Tuesday, December 24 2012
Neilson signs for Town's Blue Square Bet Premier rivals Luton Town.
Whether Town fans like to admit it or not, at first, this one will have hurt.
Neilson is without doubt one of the best wingers at this level and losing him to any rival, let alone Luton, was tough to take.
His parting shot at the Mariners, claiming they lacked ambition, didn't exactly endear him to supporters who had still held faint hopes of seeing him return to Blundell Park."
Monday, December 31 2012
Marcus Marshall extends his loan spell with the Mariners until the end of the season.
Although Marshall's loan extension didn't perhaps receive as much hype as the other deals done in the January window, he is a fantastic – and important – signing for the Mariners.
The winger has got better with every game that I've seen him play so far this season, his goal at Ebbsfleet underlined his growing confidence.
His pace and ability to take on the full-back on either side makes him a potent weapon on the flanks for the Mariners.
His quality from the wide areas, and increasing threat in front of goal, will make him a key player for Town in the promotion run-in.
Friday, January 4 2013
Town complete a double swoop for striker Richard Brodie and winger Jamie Devitt.
What a day this was for Town fans – not only did the Mariners sign one of the most prolific goalscorers at this level in Brodie, but they also secured a sensational return to Blundell Park for Devitt.
Frontman Brodie looks to be a direct replacement for the seemingly outgoing Anthony Elding and Michael Rankine, who had returned to Aldershot after his short loan spell with the Mariners.
And what a fantastic signing he is.
After winning the title in each of the last two seasons, with Crawley and then on loan at Fleetwood, Brodie is targeting a unique hat-trick with Town.
He is a proven goalscorer at this level – 37 in York City's 2009/10 campaign – and while he may not have always been a popular visiting figure with Town fans in the past, they would all rather have him playing for them than against them.
At his best Devitt will be one of the standout players in this league.
While on loan with the Mariners was one of very few shining lights in an otherwise dismal 2009/10 season.
If he can recapture that kind of form he could prove too hot to handle for most Blue Square Bet Premier back fours.
The loan signings of both Brodie and Devitt represented a real statement of intent from the Mariners, underlining their promotion ambition."
Saturday, January 5 2013
Nathan Pond plays the final game of his loan spell in Town's game against Hereford.
The Fleetwood centre-half was a colossus at the back for the Mariners since joining on the eve of the season curtain-raiser at Southport.
Pond was an integral part of the back five that earned Town the best defensive record in the league, and their lofty status in the Blue Square Bet Premier.
The centre half was given a rousing reception as he turned out for what fans will still hope won't be his final appearance in a black and white shirt this season.
He has now returned to the Cod Army to try and pin down a place in Graham Alexander's side and, given the form he showed for Town during his loan spell, who would bet against him doing just that.
"But, the imposing defender has left the door open on a return to Blundell Park, saying that it would be 'top of his list' of destinations should it not work out at the League Two club.
Thursday, January 10 2013
Ross Hannah signs on for a title assault.
It was the news that all Town fans had been waiting for – Ross Hannah had signed for the Mariners.
It had been a long three-week wait for Town fans since Hannah played the last game of his loan spell against Wrexham.
Negotiations to bring him back to Blundell Park were tough, but after sealing his signature on a two-and-a-half year deal, Town may have found the final piece of the jigsaw.
He is exactly the sort of striker that Town need to compliment the current crop of frontmen already at the club.
If he can replicate the form he showed during his loan spell in Cleethorpes, his signing could prove key to realising the club's Football League dream.