Rovers reserve team goalkeeper Lance Cronin has today rejoined former side Ebbsfleet on a one-month loan deal to ease their player crisis, beginning by starting tomorrow night's game at high-flying Fleetwood Town.
Cronin has featured only once for the club so far, coming on as a substitute for Scott Bevan during the second half of our home drubbing to Crewe Alexandra in December. Bevan had conceded 4 times in the first 45 minutes and was replaced by LC at half-time, with the sub performing well on his debut and conceding, in a poor side at the time, only once. Things have obviously changed since then, Buckle has gone, McGhee has come in and there have been a few changes in personnel. Things are looking much better at the club now thankfully, although it's plainly obvious to all that Bevan shouldn't be our number 1 if we want to mount a promotion push next season. Michael Poke has come in from Brighton and played superbly so far and few Gasheads would be adverse to seeing him sign permanently in the summer if McGhee chose to pursue the loanee. It would be harsh of me to pretend I know an awful lot about Cronin and whether he'd be a suitable first choice goalie for us next season, but the fact he's not even on the bench ahead of Bevan at the moment would suggest he's not rated particularly highly.
He returns to Ebbsfleet having played 199 times in his previous time at the club, so he should far exceed 200 appearances at the conclusion of his initial month there.
There's one massive thing I didn't comment on over the weekend in the midst of the reaction to our draw with Oxford. I inexplicably neglected to mention that long-serving centre half Byron Anthony hooked up with lowly Hereford United on a month's loan on Friday and made his debut in their home game against Swindon on Saturday. They lost 2-1 but the experienced Welshman was unlucky not to net the equalising goal when his header struck the crossbar.
McGhee explained post-match on Saturday that Anthony has gone on loan to 'get games' and impress either ourselves and earn a new contract here, or if not, net himself a deal elsewhere. He wants to give Anthony a fair chance as he's highly thought of and respected within the club and wants to see how he fares in competitive action - even if that's away from The Mem.
I'd like to wish both Lord Byron and Lance well in their loan moves and hope that they return having done enough to impress MM and Shaun North. If not I hope their performances earn themselves new contracts elsewhere, particularly Byron, as many Gasheads have a lot of time and affection for the loveable defender. He was a member of our Wembley Play-Off winning side and for that he will be remembered fondly upon his departure, whenever that may be.