As the January window nears its conclusion and the madness of deadline day looms upon us, it seems an appropriate juncture to journey back a few months to August and assess the impact of our only signing of that ill-fated period: Cody “please save us” McDonald.
It seems crazy that this is actually quite a risky post, given the news that we were already willing to sell him to Bournemouth earlier this month. But it’s 1:00am, and I’m going to take a punt that he won’t be sold by the morning..
Anyway, it was 31 August 2011. The usual anxiety had set in amongst Sky Blues fans as we prepared for yet another window to slam shut in our relentlessly moany faces. We’d endured a horrid summer, followed by the most despicable of season starts, and there seemed to be a very real chance that we were going to go an entire off-season without acquiring a single outfield player. Not a huge problem if your squad is already terrific; a bloody nightmare if you’ve let half your squad go during the same period. (I want to keep this Cody-focussed, so I’ll skip over giving thoughts about the reasons behind that lack of activity.)
Our main target Adam Le Fondre had turned us down flat (apparently), in favour of a move to perennial promotion candidates Reading. The rumours continued to fly – each one more baseless than the last. Some, such as McDonald, had potential and gave us hope, but most were proclaiming a Sky Blue return for Roymond Wegerle, and things equally as ludicrious.
While relatively minor in the grand scheme of the Championship, the deadline day arrival of Mr McDonald both shocked and delighted us. Most City fans were already resigned to the mid-September scramble for loans that was to follow, if that. But a new striker had joined the ranks, the YouTube clips were soon doing the rounds, and all the signs indicated we’d picked ourselves a nimble and versatile front man to help us from mire.
Things haven’t quite gone to plan for young Cody so far, though.
We’re prone to snap judgements of players (just ask Kevin Kyle), and many, myself included, had very quickly built up a picture of what McDonald was going to bring. Looking back, desperation and the overwhelming average-ness of Roy O’Donovan had a hell of a lot to do with it.
Unfortunately, we under-estimated the impact the lack of a purposeful pre-season has on a player. This left him playing catch up in his opening games, and Ipswich aside (where he missed a glut of chances), he rarely got a sniff.
I’m not daft enough to think that I can persuade you all to think he’s played well so far. He really hasn’t. But there have been signs from Cody, albeit it briefly, that he does have the attributes to succeed. His movement in his first two games, and his impact and pace in the draw away at Doncaster gave reason to be hopeful.
Injuries and lack of match practice appear to have conspired against him, and my worry now is what accepting a bid to sell him so early on, is going to do for his long-term prospects at the Ricoh. The noises suggest that we’re on the look out for another striker before the day’s out tomorrow, which is a positive move for the team, although with Platt, Nimely and potentially even Eastwood above old McDonald in the pecking order, I do wonder where this leaves Cody in Thorn’s plans.
I certainly don’t think we should give up on him just yet. There’s a poll above – let me know what you think.
I’d get a move on if I were you..[POLL ENDED]