Tag Archives: signings

What will former Swindon Town man offer Salford City?

Salford City has completed the signing of Martin Smith, on a two-year contract, following his release from Swindon Town at the end of last season.

The 23-year-old started his career at Sunderland, and had loan spells at Gateshead United and Carlisle United, before moving to Kilmarnock permanently. Swindon signed the midfielder in 2018, he made 11 appearances last season, before leaving to join Salford.

Smith doesn’t bring a great deal of playing experience to Moor Lane, however, he’s been around the lower leagues throughout his career. So he will know the demands of League Two, and how important it is to maintain a good level of performance during a 46 game season.

Smith was highly-rated as a youngster, however, his career hasn’t gone to plan so far, perhaps this is the break he needs to kick-on. It’s all about him playing football, being happy and tasting success. Sunderland has had a great academy for many years, bringing through England internationals Jordan Henderson and Jordan Pickford, Smith played in the same academy side as them, which shows he’s got the talent. Salford will give him regular game time and an opportunity to start developing his career.

Martin Smith quotes

On arriving at Salford City, Smith said:

“I’ve had a journey in the game which has had some good moments and tough moments which got me here now but I’ve loved every minute of it, it’s something that I love doing. I love getting up each day and going to training and I love playing each week so this is a massive opportunity.

The clubs I’ve been at I’ve learnt a lot and developed as a person, as a player, and I feel I’m ready for this challenge and I’m ready to be successful and to help this club as much as I can to get to where we all want to be.”

2 free agents that Salford City should be looking at

Salford City manager Graham Alexander is preparing his squad for their first-ever season in the EFL.

The Ammies have already made six additions to their squad this summer. Here at The Football Manc Cave, we look at two possible free agents that Salford could sign.

Although they have a talented squad, and the pull of ‘Class of 92’. It’s important they sign experienced players, who have been successful in the division previously.

So, let’s have a look at a couple of players they could sign on a free transfer…

Ben Turner

Turner is an experienced centre half, who has operated in the EFL for the majority of his career. He was part of the Cardiff City side that won promotion to the Premier League in 2012/13. Turner then played 31 games the following season, however, Cardiff was relegated.

Although, he isn’t the player he used to be. Turner has that vital experience of winning ‘season-defining’ matches, promotions and just being a leading figure around the dressing room. You need these type of players on and off the field, and I think he’d be a great addition to an ambitious, young Salford side.

Tom Adeyemi

This midfielder would be one of the best in League Two if Salford could tempt him to Moor Lane.

I’m surprised Ipswich let him go at the end of last season, I’d say as much that he would be a force in League One. A real midfield powerhouse. Adeyemi has done well at both Cardiff and Leeds, particularly at Leeds Utd when he used to physically boss other midfielders.

Very experienced in the EFL, a ball-winning midfielder, physical and strong. Perhaps a drop down to League Two is unrealistic. However, Salford is a club on the rise, and have more pulling power than most League One sides.

Wigan Athletic closing in on Portsmouth’s 24y/o winger

According to Portsmouth News, Wigan Athletic are on the verge of signing Portsmouth attacker Jamal Lowe, for a fee in the region of £3 million.

Dan from The Football Manc Cave looks at how he will benefit Wigan’s side.

Paul Cook gave the 24-year-old his first opportunity in the EFL, after signing the attacker from Non-League side Hampton and Richmond Borough in 2016.

After rarely featuring during the 2016/17 season, Lowe scored a brace at Notts County to help Pompey clinch promotion to League One. On the final day of the season, Lowe scored again in a 6-1 win over Cheltenham, which meant they won the League Two title.

Cook left that summer to join Wigan. Since then, Lowe has played a majority of games for Kenny Jackett, usually out on the right wing. This year, he scored 15 league goals and also a great goal in the Checkatrade Trophy Final vs Sunderland, which Portsmouth won on penalties.

Lowe is a very good player. A constant threat with his pace, directness and goalscoring. He deserves to be playing at a higher level, that along with the pull of working with Cook again is too much to turn down.

It’s a signing that will get the fans excited, for sure. Big money for us, so the pressure will be on him to deliver. Fair play to the owners, they’re backing Cook. Lowe is a man in demand so we must be offering him a fair whack of wages. Let’s hope he does the business and scores plenty of goals.

2 reasons why Wigan Athletic are looking to Nottingham Forest versatile defender

According to The Sun journalist Alan Nixon, Wigan Athletic are lining up a bid for Nottingham Forest defender Tendayi Darikwa.

Here at The Football Manc Cave, we look at what Darikwa would bring to the DW Stadium if he made the switch north.

The 27-year-old was part of the Burnley side that was promoted in the 2015/16 campaign. However, he didn’t feature at all in the following season, so signed for Nottingham Forest back in the Championship.

He has featured regularly for The Midlands club, playing 58 games in two years. Although, Wigan may offer the Zimbabwean first-team football, which could tempt him into switching clubs. Also, Forest has recently appointed Sabri Lamouchi as their new manager, perhaps he has his own transfer targets and doesn’t see Darikwa as part of his plans?

What could Wigan fans expect to see if he moved to the Latics…

Physicality and pace

Darikwa is very much a modern-day full-back, possessing the ability to both attack and defend. An athletic player, with great pace and height. I watched a lot him during the season in which Burnley was promoted, and he was one of the best full-backs in the league that season. Likes to bomb forward and deliver crosses into the box, however, his pace allows him to get back and defend. Darikwa can also operate in midfield, which will tempt Paul Cook even further.


I expect Nathan Byrne to be our starting right-back next season, although I said that this time last year and Reece James rocked up to the party. So, who knows. Even still, Byrne and Darikwa are both good Championship players – it’s important to have that competition for places.

As I mentioned above, Darikwa is a versatile player. We are short in central midfielder, it wouldn’t be ideal, however, I’m sure he has all the attributes to do a good job in midfield. At the moment, it’s just an enquiry. It’ll be interesting to see if Wigan really push to conclude a deal.

Wigan Athletic bid big money for Premier League striker

Wigan Athletic have bid £5 million for a player, yes you read that right. IEC really are rich. That player is Sam Gallagher of Southampton, it’s looking like a straight fight between Blackburn Rovers and Wigan for his signature.

The Wigan fan that works on The Football Man Cave is going to look at what he could bring to Latics.


Article done. We need a goal scorer. Wigan Athletic is blessed with lots of good attacking players – Michael Jacobs, Gavin Massey, Josh Windass and Anthony Pilkington just to name a few. However, you need someone to put the ball away and benefit from their creativity.

If Latics are willing to spend £5 million on him, he must be good and our number one target. It’s positive to see IEC are clearly backing Paul Cook financially. To develop, we need to spend on the right players. It’s looking like we’re focusing on signing young talents who can become assets in the future. A great plan, if you get it right.

Our most important signing of the summer will be the striker we sign. Joe Garner was Wigan’s top scorer last season with just eight goals. Although I felt he played the ‘lone’ role pretty well, always working hard and finished a fair amount of chances. We need better if our aims are to push for mid-table and above.

Whether Gallagher will prove to be that top striker signing, will remain to be seen. However, if IEC back Cook and we spend £5 million on him, the manager has no excuses. It was all doom and gloom this time last week, now we’ve signed David Marshall, and have big-money bids in for Antonee Robinson and Sam Gallagher.

Wigan Athletic secure first summer signing that could prove the difference next season – agree?

Wigan Athletic have confirmed the signing of David Marshall on a two-year deal, following his release from Hull City.

Dan from The Football Manc Cave will look at what Marshall will offer The Latics.

Don’t misinterpret the fact the ‘keeper was released from Hull, they couldn’t afford his wages. I’ve been told from their fans that he was brilliant last season and one of their best players. Wigan has opened the chequebook, it seems.

Marshall brings a wealth of experience, having played for Celtic, Norwich City, Cardiff City and Hull City. The highlight year in his career personally in terms of performances was undoubtedly the 2013/14 season in which Cardiff was relegated. Marshall was outstanding for The Bluebirds and tipped for a big money move to a Premier League side. A transfer never materialised, however, he was one of the best goalkeepers in the country at that time.

Wigan has had Christian Walton on loan from Brighton for the past two seasons. He’s been very good for us, nevertheless, a third loan spell looks off the cards. So Paul Cook will be looking for Marshall to nail down the number one spot.

Cook is also looking to bring more experience into our back line this summer. Last season we struggled towards the end of matches, conceding a lot of late goals due to individual errors. The signing of Danny Fox helped to minimise the mistakes, however, I feel a ‘keeper like Marshall who is 34 years old and has vast experience, is the perfect signing.

Someone who can act as a leader and organise the defence is exactly what we need, our other two centre backs are good defenders, but young and learning. They need that guidance and support sometimes, Marshall and Fox will both provide that.

Crystal Palace could be getting a real gem from former Wigan Athletic loanee

Crystal Palace is linked with a move for Chelsea star Reece James, as they look to find a replacement for Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who signed for Manchester United in a deal worth £50 million.

Today at The Football Manc Cave, Dan is going to look at what James would offer Palace.

I was lucky enough to watch James all of last season, being a Wigan Athletic fan. He’s the best player I’ve ever seen at Latics. Consider the fact he joined as a teenager that had never played a competitive match, then left after winning Player of the Year, captaining the side and dominating most of the Championship’s midfield – he did pretty well.

Big props to Palace’s scouts, not a lot of people realise how good James is going to be. I’ve no doubt he’ll play for England within the next 2 years, first-team football is crucial though. I expect Frank Lampard to give him an opportunity to showcase himself at Chelsea, if he does, Palace won’t be signing him. James is already good enough for Chelsea, versatile and just an all-around top player.

What makes him so good?

For me, it’s his attitude off the pitch. He never once thought he was too good for us, you could tell he appreciated what Wigan was offering him, and he loved playing for us. James attended academy matches, talking to our youth players about how they could improve.

On the pitch, he was just a different level. Strength, pace, set-pieces, tackles, passing, he’s got the lot. A joy to watch. He could play anywhere on the pitch and do a job. I hope for his sake, he chooses whatever is best for him. All he needs is first-team football, and he’ll fly to the top in no time.

Blackburn Rovers new signing from Derby County can aid top-six push – Agree?

Blackburn Rovers has completed the signing of midfielder Bradley Johnson on a free transfer from Derby County.

The 32-year-old has over 500 career appearances for Derby, Leeds Utd and Norwich City. He was a pivotal part of The Canaries side that won promotion to the Premier League, during a four-year stay at Carrow Road.

After helping Derby reach the play-off final last season, Johnson was looking for first-team football and a new challenge.

So, what will be bring to Ewood Park…

Goals from midfield

There’s constant pressure on Bradley Dack at Blackburn, to chip in with goals to support Danny Graham up front. Dack is a very good player, however, do Rovers rely on him a little too much? If he missed a long spell through injury or suspension, I’d be worried if I was a Blackburn fan whether they’d score enough goals.

Johnson can release some of that pressure, he scored 15 goals during the season when Norwich was promoted. If he’s given the freedom to attack, Johnson’s got a cracking left foot and is still capable of hurting any Championship opposition.


Johnson is Blackburn’s second summer signing after Stewart Downing. Both have experience of winning promotion from the Championship. Which suggests that Tony Mowbray feels he needed to add a few ‘older heads’ to the talented, young squad that he has.

Blackburn made a late run for the playoffs last season, they aren’t a million miles away from having a real run at it. A couple of signings and there’s no reason why they couldn’t mount a top-six challenge next season. I think both Downing and Johnson are solid signings for Rovers, fair play.

Leeds Utd grabs Wolves star, will he be the difference?

Leeds have completed the loan signing of Helder Costa, with a view to a £15 million permanent deal next summer. The Football Manc Cave think that this is a top signing.

You’ll struggle to find many better players in the Championship next season. An outstanding talent that can win games on his own.

Wolves signed the winger on loan from Benfica before the 2016/17 campaign, initially on loan. He lit up Molineux, scoring 10 goals that season, also two at Anfield in a famous FA Cup win and earned himself Wolves’ Player of the year award.

After signing permanently for around £13 million, Costa had another impressive season, helping Wolves to win the league.

Despite making 25 appearances in the 2018/19 campaign, the Portuguese attacker seemed to struggle with the physicality of the Premier League. In the Championship, he’s a different class, we’re all in agreement here at the Football Manc Cave. So quick, tricky and has a good end product. We’re not sure Leeds really needed to improve their attacking force, defensively they aren’t great and that’ll need working on if they want to mount another title push next season.

The Difference?

Will he be the difference between automatic promotion or the playoffs? No, Gavin Massey is still in the league. There’s just something about Leeds. They were exceptional at Wigan, the best Championship side I’ve seen by a country mile, it felt like we were playing a top 10 Premier League team. I remember saying, if Leeds don’t go up this year, they never will.

I still think they were the best side in the league last season. They just always find a way to mess it up after Christmas. Costa is a great signing. If Leeds had Ronaldo and Messi, I still wouldn’t be confident in saying they’ll get promoted. It’s Leeds.

Rochdale seemed to have found a gem on loan

Rochdale made their first summer signing yesterday after securing a deal to bring Norrington-Davies to Spotland, on loan from Sheffield United.

The highly-rated 20-year-old started his career at Swansea, before joining The Blades in 2017. The defender is seen as a future starter for United, therefore they are looking to get him some vital EFL experience.

The Welsh under-21 international spent last season at Barrow and made 28 appearances.

Let’s look at two things that Norrington-Davies can bring to Rochdale…

Energy & creativity

One of Norrington-Davies’ main strengths is his ability to fly up to the wing and deliver crosses. In League One, a majority of games are close contests, if you have that extra quality that can provide a match-winning contribution, you will have a successful season.

Rochdale have one of the best strikers in the division with Iain Henderson, they need to focus on creating him as many chances as possible. He’s a goal scorer. Get players around him, quality into the box and he won’t let you down.

Position filled for minimal cost

Rochdale was searching for a left-back this summer, and they seemed to have found a gem on loan. Two reasons why they’ve done a great deal: He’s just a very good player for League One, solid at both attacking and defending, provides energy and will excite The Dale signings.

Also, I can’t imagine Rochdale are paying much towards his wages. They are doing Sheffield United a huge favour by offering him a year of competitive football. That’s key. Rochdale need to strengthen their squad ahead of next season, taking advantage of the loan market is very important for them – and they’ve made a good start.

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