Gary Walsh. Matt Clarke. Mark Schwarzer. Paul Henderson. We’ve had some good goalkeepers recently. Simon Eastwood. Lenny Pidgeley. Boaz Myhill. We’ve also had some dodgy keepers recently. The number one jersey at Valley Parade has become somewhat of a problem position in recent years. Rhys Evans did a fine job for a year, as did Paul Henderson and Donovan Ricketts until his head went AWOL. But otherwise the other custodians of recent years have been a bit less successful. Simon Eastwood, Matt Glennon and Lenny Pidgeley have all had their faults. Even the great, bright hope for the future Jon McLaughlin struggled at times last year and failed to live up to his promise from the previous season.
Not only have City struggled to fill the position in recent years, it has often been neglected by managers, most notably in the cost cutting season of 09/10 when Stuart McCall saved a paltry £300 a week for a number one keeper. A peculiar decision, considering the goalkeepers position is arguably the most important within the team.
Having just McLaughlin on the books currently, City are obviously in need of another shot stopper, with 4 trialists currently down at Apperley Bridge most notably, Rhys Evans.
Evans splits fans opinions, he returns hopeful of a third spell at Valley Parade. I’d welcome him back once again. I don’t think we have replaced him adequately since he left two years ago, and his record of 17 clean sheets that season shows he clearly knows how to be a good goalkeeper. He has his limitations, but I think at this level Evans is an excellent choice of keeper. He is apparently a ‘disruptive’ influence in the dressing room and a bit of ‘a loner’ but if as reported he has been badgering Jacko into signing him, this seems highly unlikely. I remember his biggest weakness being the laughable ‘he can’t dive to his left’ comment from one of the message boards. City could do far worse that bringing Evans back in.
More curiously though, is Iain Turner appearing on trial. Everton’s equivalent of Steve Harper, the perennial backup, has turned up on trial, despite rumoured interest from Leeds, Sheffield United and Hull. The former Evertonian has represented Scotland at U21 and ‘B’ levels, and has been involved with the senior squads before. Having played the vast majority of his short career in the Championship, he should have the required pedigree to make the number one shirt his. Having played a handful of games in the Premier League too, it seems odd that he should be trialling at a League Two club. Having only played 50-odd games in his career to date though, it is time the 27-year old started paying regular first team football and he would represent an excellent capture if Peter Jackson decides to make him an offer.
Both Evans and Turner would represent improvements in the goalkeeping department on recent years, but it would perhaps be wiser to not return to Evans for a third time and go for a fresh keeper in Iain Turner. The Scot would form the foundation of arguably one of, if not the, best defences in the division, with a fully fit Simon Ramsden, Guy Branston, Steve Williams and Luke O’Brien. Not only that, he would help further our transition into McBradford City FC!