Supporter Matt Pegg discusses Jamie Cureton and potential new signings in the first of his official weekly blogs.
And so it begins…
It’s what we have all been waiting for. Jamie Cureton has finally put pen to paper on a one year contract becoming the Robins first signing of the summer.
As domestic football begins its annual hibernation, the transfer rumour mill rotates at lightning speed, spluttering out random names in a desperate attempt to find a story with some validity. It seems that even teams like ours aren't exempt from a perpetual list of rumoured players. However, with the free-scoring Cureton signed up and another player set to join before the end of the week, the summer spending at Cheltenham is in full swing.
There has been much debate by fans as to where the squad needs to strengthen for the new season. With Kaid Mohamed already departing for Stoke on Trent, Michael Hector, Paul Benson and Shaun Harrad returning to their parent clubs and Marlon Pack being sought after by a number of Championship teams, the squad looks somewhat thin on the ground. It is clear that a considerable number of new faces need to be signed up, in order to provide competent cover in all areas of the pitch. The squad size at Cheltenham has always been comparatively small (apart from Martin Allen and his never ending loan list). While this is in part due to budgetary constraints, it also leaves us susceptible to a lack of quality when injuries occur. A glance at the squad as it stands today may indicate in what areas of the pitch we need improvements…
In Scott Brown we have arguably the best shot stopper in League 2. An ever present last season, the 28-year old appears totally comfortable between the sticks. And while we haven’t seen much of him in a Cheltenham shirt yet, Connor Roberts is thought of as a competent understudy who (if contract talks go successfully) should be clocking more playing time next season.
I was a bit dejected when it was announced that Alan Bennett would be leaving at the start of the year. The former Ireland international had built up a formidable partnership with Steve Elliott and I was concerned when he headed to Wimbledon. However, Michael Hector came in and performed superbly. Unsurprisingly, Reading want him in their squad for next season, so finding a new centre back or two to team up with the aforementioned Elliott is surely a priority this summer.
Now Kaid has decided to try his luck in League One and others are likely heading for the exit door, the middle of the park is looking slightly deserted. Confirmation that Russ Penn has signed a new contract with the club was met with delight from all; a perfect leader for the coming seasons. However, with many citing delivery to the frontmen as a weakness last campaign, there may need to be a couple of new faces to replace the departing stars. It is a big season for Jermaine McGlashan. No one can doubt his natural ability but he didn't have the most successful campaign last year and will no doubt want to improve for the 2013/14 season.
The acquisition of Jamie Cureton has certainly been met with approval. A proven goalscorer at this level, the 37 year old brings a wealth of experience to the frontline. With Byron Harrison also set to play a role in his first full season in Gloucestershire and Darryl Duffy in talks over a new contract, there is undoubted quality at the spearhead of the team. However, the aforementioned lack of depth that has hindered past Robins squads, means that another striker joining, perhaps a player in the James Spencer or Ben Burgess mould, could be the key that unlocks the increasingly difficult door into League One.
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