Another couple of days, another couple of signings – this new slick decisive Forest transfer machine is taking a little getting used to for me still! A raid of two south coast teams has seen the defensive line looking rather more promising than it has been doing with the addition of versatile Greg Halford from Portsmouth, and – and remember to take a deep breath here – a left back in the shape of Dan Harding from Southampton.
The three things that always stuck in my head about Halford was his oscar winning collapse whilst on loan at Sheffield United that preceded Kelvin Wilson get sent off at Bramall Lane, his lambasting of Joel Lynch who’d just been absolutely poleaxed last season – and referring to Forest and its’ fans on Twitter in derogatory fashion in the aftermath of that event. So not the best initial impressions!
He can play centre-half, right back or in midfield – and is perhaps known best, aside from his fiery temperament, for his long throw. As with anybody arriving to don the garibaldi, it’s a clean slate and a huge welcome from me – he’s been somewhat nomadic in his career of late, not helped by a big money move to Sunderland not working out and resulting in loans out to multiple clubs, let’s hope that he gets the chance to settle here!
There could definitely be an element of ‘he’s a bit of a bastard, but he’s our bastard’ about him – and certainly in recent times we’ve found that our defence can be easily intimidated or bullied by attackers. Hopefully the kind of experience that Collins, and now Halford, bring to our back line will help to quell some of that kind of thing going on!
The second arrival was Dan Harding from Southampton. He made 25 appearances for the Saints in what was obviously a very successful season in 2011/12, but has fallen behind Fox in the pecking order for his position. A ‘modern’ fullback, he’s one that will get forward and whip in a decent cross – and well, he’s a left back – we should be happy with that really!
Dan came through the ranks at Brighton and made four appearances for the England under 21s in 2004 before securing a move to Leeds on a free transfer – although due to his age at the time this came with a £450,000 compensation demand, and a potential £400,000 based on appearances and achievements. He only lasted a year at the Elland Road club before moving to Ipswich, from where he was loaned out to Southend and then Reading.
Roy Keane told him he wasn’t required at the Suffolk club which is how he found his way to Southampton in 2009 – the first signing made by new manager Alan Pardew. He was named in the team of the year for League One 2010-2011 and obviously featured but started to lose his place more last season – it was, however, only during last season that he was deemed suitable to be offered a three year contract at Southampton – so he was clearly still well thought of.
A big welcome to both new men. Rumours continue as to who the next new signing might be – there seems to be a lot of noise about Kelvin Wilson being in Nottingham, but with it being close season and him being from Nottingham that’s not really all that surprising. Having said that, if there were plans to try to lure the former-Reds defender back from Celtic then I certainly wouldn’t be adverse to the idea.
Reservations about Halford’s temperament aside, I’m pleased with the continuing policy Forest seem to have of targeting sensible-profile players who both know their way around this league and in many cases have been either involved or at least around successful sides operating in the Championship. It’s a promising strategy that appeals to me rather than the ‘let’s get a marquee signing’ direction I was a bit worried we might take.
Filed under: Transfers |