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End of Term Report Part 7 02/06/2015

Posted by Matt Rowson in Thoughts about things.

30- Jonathan Bond

More of the same from Bondy… still a decent looking prospect, still you’d like to see a bit more of him before giving him a shot at being first choice.  His half a dozen games this time around only included one victory – at Stevenage in the League Cup – but were free of high profile goalkeeping errors.  “Nothing to see here”.  Which is all well and good, but at 22, “young for a goalkeeper” or otherwise, Bond needs to be getting more regular games.

Next Season:  A competitive season long loan has been mooted, and assuming we bring in decent cover could only be a good thing.

31- Tommie Hoban

To build on the theme of last season’s corresponding entry, how utterly splendid to have Tommie not only back and fit following the ankle injury that kept him out for so much of the previous campaign… but returning to his previous trajectory, a prize asset, a rising star.  Mark Warburton’s rather smutty attempts to undermine Hoban with articles in Brentford’s local press suggesting that the defender was set for a move to Griffin Park were made to look ever more fanciful as the season progressed, and Tommie imposed himself on the Watford first team.  Not just an elegant, robust, fleet-footed centre back but, when needed, a left-back or even a galloping wing-back too, Hoban has sometimes suffered from having to cover the entire left side behind a galloping Ikechi Anya… but as at Millwall in particular this appeared to be less a case of Hoban having to accommodate defensive indiscipline from Anya than a deliberate strategy, a statement that Hoban could cover the entire left side (at a push) giving Anya the licence to create both goals in that game.  That’s a hell of a statement of faith in a 22 year-old defender.

Next Season:  An upping of the bar for Hoban.  You wouldn’t back against him clearing it comfortably, and we’ll all be cheering when he does.

39 (#1) – Sebastian Bassong

You can kinda understand Norwich fans’ frustrations.  The Canaries were always among the favourites to go up this season and we were outsiders at worst.  Whatever the personal conflicts and clashes going on, lending an experienced stopper to a rival club to get them out of a hole always felt like an odd one.  Actually, Bassong’s loan wasn’t hugely successful in terms of results…  debuting on Slav’s first game in charge, the 3-0 win at Hillsborough, his loan spell included those four consecutive defeats and concluded with the desperate Boxing Day defeat to Wolves.  Nonetheless, he looked a much more credible solution to the Physical, Experienced Centre-back problem than Gabriel Tamas had, and was ultimately one of the cornerstones on which our recovery was based.  By the time he returned to Carrow Road a new boss was in charge in Norfolk, a development echoing Neil Warnock’s appointment at QPR during Heidar Helguson’s loan in 2009/10 in scotching our chances of holding onto him for longer.

Next Season: Famously, Sebastian ends the season with TWO promotion medals… had Norwich stayed down, you could see us going back in for him this summer.  This would seem unlikely now, the more so given the recruitment of Sebastian Prödl.

39 (#2) – Matthew Connolly

Matt Connolly came in from Cardiff with a decent pedigree… however many promotions from the Championship in various circumstances, the decision to bring him in was instantly justified by the unfortunate injury suffered by Joel Ekstrand.  He only started four games but was a significant, assertive presence for the most part… not totally flawless, he had a rash tackle in him, a rush of blood to the head, but generally a force for good who was able to step into a key role seamlessly and provide a sticking plaster to our promotion bid.  And of course, that chest-thumpingly magnificent goal at Nottingham Forest was a thing of pure joy.

Next Season:  Promoted to the Premier League three times previously, it’s nonetheless perhaps instructive that Matt has only made nine starts in the top flight.  A Hatfield lad, you get the impression he’d be keen to extend his Hornets career and we could do worse – you’d not find me objecting.  We might do better though.


1. Martin Coupe - 02/06/2015

Nothing less than a decent championship side for Bondy please, should he end up going on loan for the season.
As for young Tommie, he is ready, bring it on.

2. NickB - 05/06/2015

Balanced and nuanced as ever Matt, I actually think your namesake Mr Connolly played a key, if brief role in us getting an automatic place; not as indispensable as Guedioura, but a proper, no nonsense centre back. And as you say, that goal – magnificent and extremely important.

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