The month of January was dominated by the mid-season transfer window.
Our wish list was to add players with pace across the front, creativity in the middle of the park, and bring in a centre half to assist our current back line. Whilst we secured players in midfield and attacking areas, it was felt that we should only enter the market for a reinforcement at the back if one became available that we felt would strengthen and add to what we already have.
Our first piece of business was to acquire Sebastien Turenne des Pres, a versatile central midfielder who has signed professional terms with the club. Seb, who holds a joint French and American passport, was previously at Real Salt Lake. In order to acquire his registration, various hurdles had to be cleared, including obtaining international clearance which was required for him to play in England. Not the most straight forward of deals, with much of December and the Christmas period being spent with me going back and forth between the FA, FIFA, USSF, MLS and the EFL! Seb was recommended to us by former Blackpool FC player Tony Rodwell and Seb subsequently spent a period of time training with our U18s. He was thrown in at the deep end within only days of signing, turning out for the first team in our EFL Checkatrade Trophy match against Wycombe. I thought he acquitted himself well, and look forward to seeing how he develops.
Sanmi Odelusi has joined us from Wigan Athletic on loan until the end of the season. Sanmi had initially signed a season-long loan at Rochdale. In order to process this signing, talks took place between myself and Rochdale’s Chief Executive Russ Green, as well as Matt Jackson (Head of Football Operations) and Chris Laird (Club Secretary) at Wigan, with Sanmi’s loan agreement with Rochdale subsequently being terminated, allowing him to join us. Rochdale themselves took Jack Redshaw on loan until the end of the season; a good opportunity for Jack to get some games under his belt after his injury, and we wish him well.
Other loans completed during January included Macauley Wilson (AFC Fylde) and John Herron (Dunfermline Athletic) extending their stays until the end of the season, with Henry Cameron and Luke Higham signing initial one month loans at AFC Telford United, while Michael Cain headed back to Leicester City.
Talks took place between Swindon Town’s Director of Football and myself to take over the contract of former Seasider Nathan Delfouneso until the end of the season. Nathan, who also played for Gary Bowyer at Blackburn Rovers, adds further pace to our strike force, along with Sanmi, and we welcome him back.
The last couple of days of the window were busy ones! Mark Yeates departed for Notts County on a permanent deal and we thank him for his contribution. I was back on the phone to Wigan Athletic to complete the signing of central midfielder Jordan Flores until the end of the season.
Radcliffe Borough striker Raul Correia was invited in to train with us and impressed Gary enough to be offered a professional contract. Discussions took place between myself and Radcliffe with a fee being agreed to sign Raul. Raul gives up his job working in banking and will need to acclimatise himself to the rigours of training full time.
The final day started with intermediaries bombarding my phone with any possible last day deals. Gary received a call from Michael Brown at Port Vale, asking to take Danny Pugh on a permanent deal. Danny and Michael had previously played together at Leeds United. Neil Danns had become available on loan from Bury and I negotiated a deal with the Bury Chairman to bring Neil to Bloomfield Road for the rest of the season. Neil spoke to Gary and was keen to come. That gave us a central midfield of Pugh, Danns, Flores, Payne and McAlister. Port Vale’s interest in Danny remained and he chose to accept their offer to join. Both myself and Gary had a good chat with Danny before he left. Danny conducted himself absolutely impeccably during his time at the Club and we all wish him nothing but the best, and thank him for his contribution. Gary, myself, and the backroom staff of Richie Kyle, Dave Timmins, and Phil Horner stayed on at the Club working away on our phones until the window closed, after what had been quite a hectic last couple of days.
Last but not least, a mention on the FA Cup win at Barnsley. To come out on top against a team performing well in the Championship was a credit to the players and staff and a great experience, especially for our younger players.