Towards the end of December, I didn't really expect Notts to make many signings, if any, during the January transfer window. Some sources claimed that no signings would be made at all. I stuck to hopes that we would see some sort of inbound movement within the transfer period at Meadow Lane. I think more than anything I was hoping we would sign players on a permanent basis.
Yet I did think if any movement was made, it would mostly be in the form of loans, and I'm not against that at all – a club like Notts needs to make the most of the loan market.
During the same period, the Nottingham Post had claimed that the return of Liam Noble would be like a new signing and most likely all us Notts fans should expect. I felt this was patronising more than anything, as I didn't think Derry would sit out the window completely.
Then came the arrival of two untested and untried loanees from Derby County, my father’s team.
Kwame Thomas: Looked to be the one with the most promise, in his début he looked to get involved and offered us something completely different up front. It was nice to see a striker looking to bring in the physical side of play, at least to the point he didn't shy a way from getting involved.
Good move? Hard to say but I'd gamble on extending his deal.
Does he offer us anything different? I would say he does. His attitude and ambition, combined with his raw potential, makes him appear useful to have around. We don't have a striker who isn't afraid of getting involved in the way young Thomas does.
Alefe Santos: He arrived with more expectations I would say, instantly I noticed comments about him being Brazilian, but playing football like an English player. This isn't hard to explain, since he's been living in the UK since his early childhood, but he does show some touches of flare and unlike some Brazilians he looks to pass more than he does run – bar the effort he wasted against Peterborough.
Good move? So far, no. He simply hasn't done enough.
Does he offer us anything different? I don't think he's settled in as he could have done, considering his wages I wouldn't expect them to be a lot and he could be worthwhile hanging onto.
William Hayhurst: Put in a very effective and exciting début, even within the last few games he has looked to get involved but has been considerably marked out of games. However, the youngster still continues to impress and if Notts could work more on their dynamics, I can see him being a big signing for the magpies.
Good move? Yes, his ability to cross is something we desperately lacked.
Does he offer us anything different? To say we have been crying out for a winger who can cross would be a massive understatement but he offers much more than that. He offers energy, someone who can assist with defending and link up with the central midfielders.
Billy Daniels: After his speculator début goal, he hasn't quite offered us much else. However, it's very early days and he does seem to have something about him that suggests he could link up well with a striker or an attacking midfielder who can play into him.
Good move? Yes, his ability to be a rotational player will be of importance when we require a little more depth in midfield.
Does he offer us anything different? I echo my earlier comments, but his height and skill does seem to intrigue me.
Hayden White: Coming into the Doncaster Rovers there was a lot said about him, at the time I saw him more as a backup and something we could have needed. Dean Yates said on the radio that he's probably a failed winger, yet having seen highlights of him on YouTube he appeared to be a rugby player and not a footballer – these comments concerned me. And seeing him start at Peterborough United, he offered us nothing and he looked to really struggle in the game. His defending was non-existent and his attacking play was limited at best.
Good move? No, not at all.
Does he offer us anything different? I wouldn't say so, not even as a backup player. I mean he could prove us all wrong but he doesn't seem to have a future in football, let alone the non-league.
Balint Bajner: #NoBajnerNoParty – Now we've got that out the way, I tracked this rumour from the early days where by the Oldham manager said we 'blew them out of the water'. He looked useful from the highlights; his career suggests he has something. His début at Doncaster Rovers received some interesting comments and I was eager to see him start against Peterborough United. His height, ball control and confidence suggest he could be a very good player in League One. I think he did okay in the game against the Posh, I liked his energy, movement and the way he held his own against their defenders. He also didn't go down for a penalty within the first half, many European strikers let a lone at this level would have done.
Good move? Yes, this signing could actually pay off.
Does he offer us anything different? Aside from his cult following? Yes, definitely. He offers us movement, a bit flare and skill. He's the type of signing with little expectation but a considerable amount of promise. I also don't want to forget about his height! To say he's tall, he offers close control and turns rather nicely. If we can bring that into our play and help him more, I would say he offers a lot of hope.
All in all much better than I had expected, the young players from Derby sort of sent Twitter into meltdown and I understand that. Yet bar White, I am not disappointed. Santos could actually improve, whereas Hayhurst, Daniels and Bajner offer a lot of promise and at least they're ours!
The kid Thomas is also useful.
Am I expecting any more?
Notts are being heavily linked with Nicky Clark, whilst Louis Laing seems quite viable. If I am honest, I don't think we will see any more. I do hold hopes we can, quite possibly we will but I do expect any more personally.