Exeter City manager Matt Taylor is expecting more transfer activity in January as he looks to bolster his squad for the rest of the 2018/19 season.
The Grecians have already welcomed striker Ryan Bowman to the club after he completed a move from Scottish side Motherwell, but they’ve also seen Jayden Stockley make the move to Championship side Preston North End.
On the current situation in terms of transfers, Matt explained: “We’re a few days in now and we’ve already got one player in and sold one player. There’ll be ins and outs over the month but the club has got to remain stable in terms of the business that we do in January.
“We can’t disrupt the squad too much but if any players are unhappy then this is the time that they’ve got to go on loan or look elsewhere, and we’re still looking to improve the group. Obviously, in terms of the loan situation, Chio (Chiedozie Ogbene) has gone straight back so if he doesn’t return to us then we will need to replace him, and we’ll have to assess what’s going to happen with Dara (O’Shea) and Tristan (Abrahams.)
“With Jayden departing it’s going to be a huge miss with 16 goals out of our team, but we have players who can score and create goals. It’s how much work Jayden did in both boxes, people forget about how defensively at every set piece he was probably our go-to man so we need to find the solution in terms of that. I’ll still be looking in defensive areas as well, but in terms of recruitment we’re looking at good players, we’re not limiting it to certain positions that we need to look at for this time of the season because if a good player becomes available then we’ll look to get them.”
On his latest signing, though, Matt said he is excited to have acquired the services of Ryan Bowman from Motherwell having been keen to sign him for some time.
He continued: “He’s a physical presence at the top end of the pitch, obviously with Jayden departing we knew what we needed. He’ll hold the ball up well and link play and he’s a good age in terms of his development as well. His partner is from down this way in terms of the south west and he knows the area from having played at Torquay. He’s a signing that we’re excited about.
“He has to come into this team and add another dimension to us, he has to compete with the likes of Jonathan Forte, Tristan Abrahams and Matt Jay but he’s also got to buy into what we’re doing at the club in terms of developing players and if he improves then we will have a good player on our hands.
“It was a minimal fee to secure his services, he’s been on our radar since the start of the season, Eric (Kinder) knew him previously from his time at Carlisle as a young player but we’ve got some contacts up in Scotland as well so we’ve watched him a few times and done as much research as we could so we knew what sort of player we were getting. The fans will see a whole-hearted centre forward who is going to give everything he possibly can for the cause.”
The City boss was also keen to praise outgoing forward Jayden Stockley for the impact that he had on the club, as well as his ability to continue to work for the team ahead of a potential January move.
Matt explained: “It’s a reward for the goals he’s scored but he’s really dragged this team through the last 18 months. Like I say, he’s been our go-to man not only for set pieces but for goals as well. He’s scored a lot of goals, some big goals for us during his time, and he’s always wanted to improve.
“Full credit to him in terms of his character and we all knew about the clause in his contract, we tried as hard as we possibly could to get it out of his contract and offer him a new one. When a player knows what’s coming in the future then they can often take their eyes off it in terms of their performance, but credit to Jayden, he didn’t do that one bit. If anything, he got stronger and stronger in the last few weeks and it’s only right at the end where we pulled him out of New Year’s Day because we knew this move was coming.
“It shows the rest of the group what can happen, Ryan Bowman has come down from Scotland in a similar situation to Jayden. We develop our players here, we try and improve them and probably the last three or four players we’ve sold we’ve done that with them, really improved them dramatically. If the players keep buying into that then they’ve got every chance of moving on.”
With Chiedozie Ogbene heading back to Brentford following the completion of his loan deal, Matt explained that he and his staff will assess the possibility of bringing the winger back to the club but understands that with a new manager at Brentford then his return may not occur.
“There’s always a possibility,” said Matt. “Since Chio’s time began here a new manager has gone in at Brentford and he’ll want to have a close look at him on a daily basis. He got injured with us, so it meant it was a slightly disjointed spell where he probably didn’t get the game time he felt he wanted but the injury didn’t help him, and the team were in form at times.
“He’s still learning the game, it’s his first time over in England, and we gave him his first taste of league football, so he’s got a lot of development himself to do but we’ll monitor it over the next couple of weeks and see the feedback we get from Brentford and Chio himself.”
Up next at St James Park:
City take on Cambridge United on Saturday, January 26 in a 3pm kick-off. Ticket prices are cheaper in advance. Click here to buy online.