Spread the love


Marcello Trotta’s surprise return meant we almost stole a moment’s attention from the usual Premiership panic buying and Posh offering up a masterclass in how nouveau riche owners can avoid dignity. Fans seem split; some outraged, never to return to Griffin Park for the nth time, others welcome back the lad carried off the pitch after a redeeming shift put in against Swindon, whilst many are reserving judgement before either burning or upgrading their season tickets.

As Trottagate develops, we now have a clear picture of our squad going forward in this campaign and it raises a lot of questions, have we improved on this time last year? Did we avoid change for changes sake? Can a team vying for promotion not take a few rolls of the dice in the transfer window?

What’s quite telling this year, is that we got a great deal of our business done refreshingly early in the Summer and that despite losing three of our bright sparks from last year (Forrester, Adeyemi and Moore), it hasn’t at all felt like the fire sales of yesteryear, when any decent Bees player, signed or on loan, were waved off with resignation. This has to be a positive, even if all our first choice targets weren’t signed as replacements.

Jake Bidwell has joined permanently in a similar manner to Forshaw, loan then permanent, and both continue to develop well. Add to that the steadiness and occasional brilliance of Diagouraga, it seems the club has rid itself of the problems it’s had with the likes of Pim and Bennett, when players on loan looked great and less so once we’ve taken on their mortgage for them.

Other highlights include poaching the captain of a League One rival in McCormack and the trickster Saville, but it leaves Rosler at least nine midfielders to keep happy. Should it be concerning that Jake Reeves, a youth product who stepped up last season, is getting picked ahead of full international Filo so far? Could Filo be this year’s McGinn, a marquee signing we never see enough from?

In defense we still seem to have a steady back four that picks itself until injuries or suspensions, or both, kick in. Venta and Nugent have good reputations to live up to, despite unspectacular beginnings and Barron needs to prove he can stake a claim ahead of Logan’s weaker foot as the best cover for Bidwell.

At the back Moore’s sudden departure was far less bittersweet than it could have been with Button and Bonham joining the goalie merry-go-round at GP. Admittedly Moore probably left a lot later than we would have wanted, but who are we to stop him? Button looks steady, but poor Bonham has had a trio of borderline nightmare competitive games at Watford and with us and it’s been deemed necessary to give him some extra competition with the signing of O’Brien. With Moore third choice at Cardiff, would an incredibly unlikely loan back to the Bees be welcomed by fans, or will Button have us asking ‘Simon who?’

Rosler also has five strikers to motivate and rotate – is it an embarrassment of riches or a well stocked larder for a League One club? Are they all too alike? Do we lack pace upfront? Is Grigg’s international status a problem when we lose him for games, or does it send out a message to other internationals that we are a viable employer? There’s also the disappearance of Paul Hayes, one of last season’s marquee signings who looked to have earnt another chance in pre-season. Have we seen the last of him though?

What we have seen this Summer is a much smaller turn-over than in previous years, but that said, Rosler has used almost 30 players this term before we hit September. Does that suggest a squad(s) with depth and flexibility or a management team still learning it’s best team or both? Has the development squad given us extra options this year or is it too early to expect the likes of Clarke and Norris to make the step up?

With Matthew Benham’s financial support, will the youth set up ever really have to start justifying it’s existence, or did Derby show that we’re still along way off covering each position at a competitive level, be it fringe or youth players?

I’ll end with something I think that Bees fans should take heart from. Despite the changes or non-changes of personnel, the means and the ends have for once stayed the same. We are in a realistic position to dust our selves off and go again, and go harder and wiser, with the same manifesto as last season, going up playing the manager’s decent style of football. Who can ever remember a time when we could say that?

The passing game has come already and Matthew Benham has ensured that the play-off hangover and relegation-inviting-clearout of years past has been avoided, now it’s it up to the players to aspire, perform and expect beyond last year and League One.

Lou Boyd