January has been the quiet month that I had expected from the club, going into the transfer window I only felt two positions needed reinforcing – however the loss of Ryan Yates did mean that the midfield required some patching up.
I am pleased with how Notts have conducted their business so far, bringing in Matty Virtue on loan and Noor Husin on a permanent deal seems good business. Also, the long awaited arrival of Liam Noble appears to add a bit more depth – however we will need to see him fully match fit first.
The departure of Haydn Hollis for me highlights Kevin Nolan’s clear plan towards improving the squad, however with no replacement yet introduced to the ranks, it’s a position I feel has more importance now.
There’s no denying that the Magpies require a striker up top, I’ve been saying this all season (in fact since Coventry). In addition, with the questions always hanging over Jonathan Forte's playing time, it does leave things looking somewhat bleak up top.
Yet from a defensive point of view, I would be extremely disappointed if another solid CB wasn’t brought into the squad. And whilst I hope that we do also bring in a striker that has pace and knows where the opposition’s net is – I really don’t feel we will be seeing this wish granted.
The two areas are vastly important, with the midfield looking stronger than ever on paper.
I struggle to recall the last time that we looked so capable on paper in this department and, the reaffirmation from Forest that Jorge Grant will remain on loan is nothing more than an added bonus.
I feel the loss of both Yates and Grant would have caused us some teething problems, especially at a point of the season which is well known for being tricky and demanding.
It’s honestly refreshing to see a manager go about ‘improving’ the squad and quickly identifying ways to fix key areas.
Previous managers seemed destined to retain some of the weaker links within the squad and I feel this never really allowed us to strengthen properly – in fact I think it’s one of the underlining issues which hindered our true chances of progression previously.
This said, it would be that negative if we weren’t able to sign a striker and I do believe we have adequate cover in defence.
It’s just that wishful to see the club continue their improvements throughout the squad and I honestly believe that these areas being reinforced would strengthen our promotion chances – yet also give us more flexibility when it comes to knowing where we are next season.
Securing another solid CB would take the burden off playing someone that perhaps isn’t as comfortable at the back as Shaun Brisley or Richard Duffy.
It would be a massive addition that would give us cover if injury or poor form set in, or even just a tactical advantage if we required something a little different.
Likewise, a striker would take the burden of our ageing stars Jon Stead and Shola Ameobi.
I keep saying it, yet I feel the right player coming in could learn a vast amount from these two players – their experience alone is something, which would appeal to a player looking to progress the leagues.
That fight and hunger would be something would no doubt help us when the time arrives to replace either of the two – as let’s face it, this doesn’t seem that far a way.
However, the togetherness of the squad and current spirit I believe will be enough to ensure there’s no slip ups.
I also do feel the club is in good shape for attracting players of that extra quality, whilst being able to work with other clubs' players does seem like an advantage at this stage.