John Ward has acted quickly in his bid to replace the outgoing Cian Bolger by signing experienced Northern Irishman Mark McChrystal following his departure from Tranmere Rovers. He has joined up on a contract until the end of the season, which John Ward says should be motivation for him to go out and earn an extension.
The centre half had been with Tranmere for a couple of years and was performing well until an injury saw him out long-term. He has not managed to persuade Ronnie Moore of his qualities this season as the Prenton Park outfit have been the surprise package in League One, so he moved out on loan to Scunthorpe United. Ironically, he played in the same Scunny side as fellow new recruit Steve Mildenhall. This should stand us in good stead moving forward.
Whilst I'm gutted that it looks like Bolger will not now be returning, I'm pleasantly surprised with just how swiftly Ward is moving in the transfer market. Instead of dallying about chasing after one target he has moved on to a capable replacement as quickly as possible. He knew of McChrystal whilst he was coming through the ranks at Wolves and has kept tabs on his progress since then.
It's unlikely he will be thrown in to the first team on Saturday as he has only played three times this season, so Garry Kenneth is likely to reclaim his place alongside Tom Parkes. Gillingham will certainly test the resolve of both Kenneth and Parkes with long balls so the key will be if they can cope with them effectively.