I wrote a few months ago about how Rhyl has become a refuge for ex-Wrexham players, and now another colony of former Dragons has appeared! Just as the North Wales coast became a welcoming home for Brian Little's cast-offs, so York is a safe haven for those surplus to Dean Saunders' requirements.
Martin Foyle has loaned Kyle Critchell, Simon Brown and Levi Mackin, while Shaun Pejic and Christian Smith went there for free. That's six players we've had at The Racecourse this season if you throw in Adam Smith. Smith's a rare beast, a player Brian Little took on trial and then didn't sign! He wasn't hard to impress!
I'm not surprised that Pejic, Critchell and Mackin have all made a positive impact up there, while the jury was out on the likes of Brown and both Smiths.
Pejic was City's outstanding player on his debut last Saturday, Mackin has settled after a shaky start to establish himself as a solid defensive midfielder. while Critchell, at right back, has impressed, also looking solid when filling in as a central defender.
It'll be interesting to see what Saunders intends for Mackin and Critchell. Saunders has already spoken positively of Mackin's attitude, explaining that he feels he is capable of getting more out of him, and I'd like to see if he can.
Critchell's only played twice for us, so ironically York's fans have a much better idea of what he's capable of than we do! He looked good on his Wrexham debut, but the fact that he was allowed to go out on loan and hasn't been recalled despite the fact that we've only fielded a specialist right back in one of our last fifteen games suggests Saunders might not see a future for him here.
I assume Brown has been farmed out with a view to a permanent move, especially as this is his second loan of the season and he hardly set The Racecourse alight. However, I'm told he offers York nothing they haven't already got, so we may see him again.
It's fascinating, and something of a relief for a club eager to reduce its squad, that Foyle has decided to hold a Colliers Park reunion, but it casts some doubt on his judgement. He and Little put together a mid-table Conference side, Saunders dismantled it and put together something a lot better, yet he has decided to reassemble it rather than learn from his mistakes.
Foyle argues that, given a short amount of time to reshape his side, and with his priority to create a side capable of avoiding a relegation scrap, the sensible thing to do is fall back on players he knows. Saunders' success having inherited a similar situation suggests Foyle has set his sights rather low, and if I were a York fan I'd feel a little short-changed. Little's policy of bringing in players he knew was hardly a roaring success, and now Foyle is repeating it. Which is fine by me!