DAN THE FAN: Taking a punt on Barker as returning players offer squad a welcome boost

AFTER a quiet week on the pitch at the County Ground, Town confirmed their first signing of 2014.

With little to no first team experience, the George Barker deal is based on instinct, him being highly recommended by current first team coach and former Brighton coach Luke Williams.

Another striker possibly joining is Liverpool’s Michael Ngoo. The 6ft 6in front man would be seen as an ideal replacement for the outgoing Nile Ranger, who was expected to have his deal cancelled by the club this week.

I hope that, in the near future, Ranger will appreciate the gifts he’s been given and what he can achieve in his career if he sorts himself out.

Tijane Reis and Troy Archibald-Henville returned to action in a development XI match on Tuesday and, in the former’s case especially, I’m excited at the prospect of him back in a Town shirt.

He was one of the best players in our opening games of the season and, with manager Mark Cooper short on wingers due to Nicky Ajose going back to Peterborough, Dany N’Guessan taking Ranger’s role up front and Alex Pritchard more than likely leaving, his return can’t come soon enough.

Archibald-Henville has never enjoyed a settled period in the Town side, but ask any Exeter City fan about him and they would rave about his time at St James’ Park.

He also made a big impression in his short time on loan at Carlisle United and, given a chance, can will become an important player this season.

One of the plus points from Town’s lack of options up front will be the likely inclusion of youth team striker Connor Waldon in the squad.

Swindon-born Waldon has just returned from a successful loan at Gloucester City where he netted seven times in ten games in Skrill North.

His potential once again highlights the fantastic job the youth team coaches do.

Peterborough arrive at the County Ground on Saturday, with the prospect of a return for Ajose. Hopefully, our defence can keep him quiet.

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