A Cardiff fan’s view of Anthony Pilkington

 

Wigan Athletic have announced the signing of the 30-year-old Anthony Pilkington on an 18-month contract. The winger was signed as a free agent, having left Cardiff City by mutual agreement.

Although Pilkington has not played first team football this season, he has made over 300 career appearances in league football, with three full seasons in the Premier League. Although Pilkington was born in Blackburn, he has made 9 appearances for the Republic of Ireland, qualifying through having an Irish grandparent. He has an impressive goalscoring record for a wide player and can score spectacular goals with either foot. He can also play as a central striker.

On signing the player Paul Cook commented: “Anthony has good experience in the Championship and Premier League, I am delighted to bring him to Wigan Athletic. He won promotion with Cardiff City last season, so he knows what it takes to do well at this level and I am sure he will be a big asset to us for the rest of this campaign and beyond.”

The 6 ft tall Pilkington was part of the youth programs at Preston, Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers, but joined Atherton Collieries as a 17-year-old in November 2005 whilst attending Myerscough College, where the Collieries manager, Alan Lord, was a lecturer. After making a strong impression, scoring 19 goals in 35 games, he signed for Stockport County in December 2006. County were in League 2 at the time. Pilkington made 80 appearances for County over three seasons, scoring 17 goals, one of them helping them to win the League 2 playoffs in 2008.

Pilkington signed for Huddersfield Town, then in League 1, in January 2009. He went on to make 92 appearances for the Terriers, scoring 19 goals.

In the summer of 2011 he joined Norwich City for a fee of £2 m. He went on to make 58 Premier League starts, with 17 appearances off the bench, scoring 14 goals in three seasons with the Canaries.

In July 2014 Pilkington signed for Cardiff City for a fee of £1 m. He went on to make 111 appearances, scoring 23 goals and contributing eight assists. Last season he scored 5 goals in 13 appearances in the Bluebird’s promotion campaign.

In order to learn more about Pilkington’s time at Cardiff we reached out to Benjamin James of the View from the Ninian fan site (http://www.viewfromtheninian.com/).

Here’s over to Benjamin:

Pilks is a Cardiff player who deserved more from his time at Cardiff. He came in the season after we got relegated and was a bright light for us. Committed, scored and assisted and was pretty reliable. When Warnock came in, his space in the team became less of a guarantee and by the start of last year, he was out of the squad consistently.

But he was a model pro and worked hard and clawed his way back into contention. He wasn’t a regular, but he scored some important goals – none more so than his late equaliser at Sheffield United that went a long way to helping us get promoted.

There’s certainly a feeling that he should have had more of a say this season. It was perhaps a little unfair that he was left out the 25 for the Premier League when he could have been in the squad on merit – plus for his lengthy service.

 You’ve got a good player and a top pro on your hands.

 

 

Advertisements

James Vaughan – a Huddersfield fan’s view

 

It has been reported by Huddersfield sources that Wigan Athletic have signed the 27 year old Huddersfield Town striker James Vaughan.

The departure of Billy Mckay left Latics short on strikers and Gary Caldwell appears to have taken a calculated risk on the talented Vaughan, whose  potentially dazzling career has been blighted by injury. Vaughan still holds the record of being the youngest player ever to score a goal in the Premier League, having done so against Crystal Palace at the age of 16 years 271 days.

It is a bold move from Latics who already had another striker in Craig Davies who too has had his share of injuries in the past. Should Davies and Vaughan stay fit, then together with Will Grigg, they might well prove to be the strike force that gets the club out of League 1.

James Vaughan was born in Birmingham but joined Everton at nine years of age, being spotted playing in Preston. Vaughan is blessed with genuine pace – at 13 years of age he was the third fastest 100 meter sprinter in his age group in England. He was to impress in the Everton Academy being player of the season for the under 16s in 2003-04. Vaughan soon moved up to reserve team football, where he regularly scored goals, and went on to make that memorable debut as a substitute against Crystal Palace in April 2005, which also led to him being beating Joe Royle’s record of being the youngest player to play for the  Everton first team. He went on to  receive  a full professional contract couple of months later.

Sadly Vaughan was to suffer a knee ligament injury playing for England’s under 18 side and he missed much of that 2005-06 season. Injuries were to sadly blight Vaughan’s career at Everton, including a dislocated shoulder and a severed artery in his foot. But he came off the bench for the 2009 FA Cup Final, after also playing in the semi final. In September 2009 Vaughan was sent on a three month loan to Derby County, but it was cut short by a knee injury. On his return he scored what proved to be a vital goal against Burnley. In March 2010 he joined Leicester City on loan where he made 8 appearances, scoring a goal.

In September 2010 he joined Crystal Palace on a three month loan, briefly returning to Everton before rejoining Palace in January until the end of the season. In an injury-free season Vaughan made 30 appearances for Palace, scoring 9 goals. In May 2011 he signed for Norwich for an undisclosed fee, but his first season was blighted by injury with him making just five appearances. In August 2012 Norwich sent him on a season-long loan to Huddersfield Town.

The Daily Mail quoted Vaughan on his difficult time at Norwich and his move to Huddersfield:

It was really tough for me. I’d had an injury-free year at Crystal Palace and I went to Norwich under Paul Lambert and started well. I then got a small knee injury which turned from four weeks out to four months. The thing is, you don’t really have any days off when you’re injured. You’ll have the Sunday off. But I was living miles away from my family and friends down there and was never able to see them. When you’re not playing that is so difficult. Towards the end of the second season I was just getting fit again and then the manager changed. I wasn’t in Chris Hughton’s plans and had to move on. Huddersfield feels like a new lease of life.” 

Vaughan went on to make 33 appearances, scoring 14 goals in that 2012-13 season. He went on to sign a three year deal with the Terriers in July 2013. Since then he made 50 appearances, scoring 17 goals.

In order to find out more about Vaughan’s  time at Huddersfield we contacted a Terriers fan.

Marko (Twitter @marko2807) is a Huddersfield Town SC holder & ATT Town Fans Panel Member.

Here’s over to Marko:

James Vaughan

August 2012 – Huddersfield pulled a shock loan move for Premier League striker James Vaughan, signed on a season long deal from Norwich City and made a winning debut at home to Burnley. That season, Vaughan quickly became a fans favourite for his 100% committed performances and scoring 14 goals in 33 league appearances for Town. All Town fans were crying out for Town to try and bring him to club on a permanent deal.

That close season, Town beat off a number of other clubs and signed Vaughan on a 3 year deal for an undisclosed fee, thought to be around the 600k mark. In terms of ability, make no bones about it, Vaughan is a premier league player however sadly his injury record is there for all to see and is the reason why he was playing for Town rather that higher up the chain.

That season, Vaughan only managed 23 appearances, scoring 10 goals. Still a healthy strike rate but a season cut short by a number of injuries. Last season, Vaughan made 26 appearances, but scored just 7 goals and again, appeared to suffer injury after injury.

Beinging the top earner and some at a smallish championship club with modest gates and minimal TV money, it seems that the chairman has had enough paying top dollar to a player who spends as much time in the treatment room as he does on the pitch.

Make no bones about it, Vaughan is quality and we are a different side with him upfront.  However, keeping him out on the pitch seems to have been a step too far. There is no doubting his commitment when he plays however intelligence hasn’t been his strong point. Making wreckless challenges, picking up silly bookings, then injuring himself and incredibly frustrating on his return for a long injury last season, he scored a late winner and after being booked for a stupid challenge earlier on, pulled off his shirt and we all know what happens then! Celebrated scoring the winner and then promptly walked down the tunnel for another unscheduled break from playing. I didn’t know whether to chant his name or call him what I thought at the time!

If he signs for Wigan and gets and stays fit then I have no doubt that he will be the best player in League One. If he makes it back into the treatment room, then he is good as I am!

Good luck to him – If he plays, I’m sure Vaughan will tear them apart. Huddersfield Town are a lesser team without him, sadly we don’t have resources to burn and seemed to be the reason he is being allowed to leave.

Jordy Hiwula – a Walsall fan’s view

Hiwula

 

Wigan Athletic have announced the arrival of 20 year old striker Jordy Hiwula from Huddersfield Town on a season-long loan.

Jordy Hiwula-Mayifuila is a Mancunian who came through the Manchester City youth system. In 2013-14 he scored 20 goals in 31 appearances for City’s development squad, leading to him signing a two year contract at the end of the season.

In October 2014 he joined Yeovil Town on a three month loan, but he returned to City at the end of November having scored one goal in nine appearances for the Somerset club. Hiwula was to comment “I enjoyed my first spell with Yeovil and even though I don’t think I did that well. I learned a lot because it was the first time I’d been away from home and also played senior football, all of which made the second spell that much better.”

In February 2015 Hiwula joined Walsall on a one month loan. He scored after just three minutes in his first appearance, a 2-0 win at Doncaster. Hiwula’s loan was extended for another month after he had scored a couple more goals. He scored again in a 1-0 win over Yeovil in early March, later to come on as a substitute for Tom Bradshaw in the Football League Trophy final, which saw Walsall defeated 2-0 by Bristol City. Hiwula’s loan had been extended until the end of the season. He had scored 9 goals in 17 starts and two appearances off the bench for the Saddlers.

In July 2015 Hiwula signed a three year contract for Huddersfield Town for an undisclosed fee. He made his debut for the Terriers as a 65th minute substitute in a League Cup game against Notts County.

Hiwula has represented England at both under 18 and under 19 levels.

In order to find out more about Hiwula’s time at Walsall we reached out to the BescotBanter.net fan site (@BescotBanter). Our thanks to them for the fan’s view that follows:

Jordy’s arrival at Banks’s Stadium was greeted with something of a whimper, he’d had an nine game, almost goal-less loan spell with Yeovil Town which gave the impression of a player that wasn’t about to turn our campaign around.

However just three minutes into his debut Jordy proved all the doubters wrong as he slotted home, helping the Saddlers to a 2-0 win over Doncaster Rovers.

Following several solid displays Jordy went on to have his initial one-month loan deal extended to the end of the campaign and finished with nine goals in twenty appearances, including netting twice against Crawley Town and Bristol City.

Jordy is a very capable player, with bags of pace and, given the right formation will surely be a good acquisition for the Latics.

 

 

Click here to get a Manchester City view on Hiwula via the Huddersfield Daily Examiner.

 

A Huddersfield fan’s view of Reece James

 jAMES3

The 21 year old Reece James joined Wigan Athletic just over a week ago on a three year contract for a fee of around £1million. Within a couple of days he was to play his first game for his new club, playing at left wing back in the pre-season game at Dens Park, Dundee.

James had arrived at Wigan with a good reputation and his display in Dundee did not disappoint. In fact he was arguably Latics’ best player that day, being a constant threat to the home team, showing a fine technique and putting over quality crosses and corner kicks.

The 5 ft 11 12 in tall James was born in Bacup and began his football career just five miles away at Rossendale United as a youth player. He enjoyed brief spells at Preston North End and Blackburn Rovers before joining Manchester United as an 18 year old in July 2012. He went to Carlisle United on loan in summer 2013, but returned to United in September due to injury. He was to be one of the outstanding performers for their under 21 team that season. He made his senior team debut in July 2014, scoring two goals in a 7-0 victory over Los Angeles Galaxy.

In November 2014 James went to Rotherham on loan, making 8 appearances before returning in late January. In late March 2015 he joined Huddersfield Town on loan and played with them until the end of the season, making 6 appearances and scoring a goal directly from a corner against Derby County.

In order to find out more about James’ time at Huddersfield we contacted a couple of Terriers’ fans.

Marko (Twitter @marko2807) is a Huddersfield Town SC holder & ATT Town Fans Panel Member.

Here’s over to Marko:

Huddersfield Manager Chris Powell swooped for the loan signing of Reece James from Manchester United following the long term injury to season long loanee from QPR Jack Robinson. Robinson who suffered a serious knee injury after steadily growing into a very competent full back left a big hole in the Town back line which was already known for shipping too many goals.  Powell tried in house to fill the gap but soon brought in James on loan until the end of the season as it became evident following Robinsons injury and Paul Dixons return to Scotland, that was a problem position for us.

 Being brought up through the United academy, you would always expect players to be of a certain level and James was no different.  This was James third loan spell after previously making just one senior appearance for Carlisle in 2013 before a 7 game spell at Rotherham.  

James made just 6 appearances for the Terriers, scoring one goal,  but made a very favourable impression. With no recognised first choice left back, many Town fans assumed that the club would go in for James either on a season long loan or a permanent transfer.

 It’s unclear if Town did make enquiries into the possibility of a return for him but then instead swooped for Australian world cup star Jayson Davidson from West Brom.  Whilst being pleased with the signing of Davidson however It was met with some surprise by many fans that James made a move down the divisions into League one when it’s clear that he is more than capable of playing at a higher level. 

Perhaps the lure of bigger wages enabled from the continuation of the rather unfair parachute payments was the case but either way, in my view, Wigan have signed an excellent young footballer who will only get better and should really shine in League One.

 I for one will be watching with interest at how he progresses. 

We were also fortunate enough to receive a fan’s view from Matthew (Twitter @mtthwrks).

Here’s over to Matthew:

It’s quite difficult to go into enormous depth as he only made 6 appearances towards the back end of last season after an injury to previous loanee Jack Robinson, but from what Town fans saw in just 540 minutes of football, the vast majority were impressed.

He seemed to be quite an attacking minded full-back, but in contrast to your modern day “attacking full-backs”, was more than capable of doing his defensive duties. It was evident to Town fans he was schooled at Manchester United and, albeit only a brief stint, we had our first decent left-back in years!

He takes a good set-piece, particularly corners. In fact, he actually scored directly from a corner in Town’s 4-4 draw with Derby, his first and only current senior goal.

What to expect? Not goals. But you can expect 100% commitment, tidy deliveries into the box from the left side and a pretty complete young full-back.

Put it this way, there wasn’t a Huddersfield Town fan about that wasn’t disappointed when hearing we weren’t going to be in for him.

Furthermore, there were a lot of shocked fans about when hearing he’d be playing in League One next season, as he’s more than capable of playing regular Championship football. Best of luck to him!