Yeovil Town manager Darren Way has admitted that his midfield has lacked the dominant force of Middlesbrough loanee Alex Pattison over the last month. The 21 year old had been a first team regular in the side, making 22 appearances for the club during the first half of the season, but abruptly dropped out of the side on December 8th with a back injury, and has not been seen since, with a couple of tweets from him strongly implying that he is back at his parent club whilst he receives treatment.
Although Pattison implied in a tweet over Christmas that he was on his way to full fitness again, there isn't much detail from the Huish Park end on when he is likely to be seen in a Yeovil shirt again. Way told BBC Somerset that he felt that they had missed him over the last seven games, and even implied that they would need a player to 'replace' what had been missing:
"Alex Pattison has been a big miss in the centre of the park. He was ticking things along nicely in the middle of that park. He was very dominant and was always looking to get on the ball, and had bundles of energy, and had a real huge bite in the tackle. So we need to get a player to replace that - that's for sure. We changed the shape on Saturday (against Bury) which gave us that extra man in the middle of the park."
The club have returned three of it's loan players during January. Whilst Bradford City striker Omari Patrick and Middlesbrough defender Enes Mahmoutovic struggled to break into the side, one of the more borderline decisions was that of Scunthorpe United striker Olufela Olomola. He netted three times in 21 appearances, but also weighed in with a number of assists. However, Way felt that the former Southampton player hadn't fulfilled the promise that he had shown during his first spell with the club:
"We lost Olufela Olomola. Unfortunately he never had the same form as what he did on his first loan spell, and that happens. We had Omari Patrick who has gone back, and we had Enes Mahmoutovic who has gone back. So we have to make those changes, but they have to be right for the team."
Way was asked if he had received interest from other clubs for his players during the January transfer window, and admitted that he had - although said that none had been accepted. He said that the level of turnover of players was a problem for him at the club:
"I'm not going to lie - we have. I don't want to go and say too much on that, but yes we have, and it's important that those players are making sure that they thrive off the uncertainty. We've got some good young talent, which we haven't had before. It's taken time to build that, and it's finances. So far the Board have been great, in that we've not allowed anyone to move on, so that's good. It's exactly what we've had every other year unfortunately. We have to look at reasons why, which I've tried to change, to get a little bit of stability. But you can see now with someone like Sessi D'Almeida, how long do you keep hold of a Sessi at this football club? How long do you keep hold of a Tom James that you've developed? Lewis Wing was here for six months. I've managed over 70 players now in three years. That isn't normal."
Despite defender Tom James being the most obvious player for opposition scouts to take an interest in, Way clarified that there had been no formal bids for his services during the January transfer window, meaning that for the moment at least he wasn't in danger of leaving Huish Park:
"Tom is a great player. I think he's a fantastic player. I'm surprised there's not more clubs that have been interested. Teams have shown interest, but as late we haven't had as such, as we speak today. That can change at any time."
The Glovers boss has also revealed that on Wednesday evening, he planned to go out scouting, to watch a player that he hoped to sign up, prior to the trip to Mansfield Town. He hoped that trip would turn into something that could be announced before the match:
"Well I'm going to a game tonight (Wednesday), so hopefully by Saturday we will have announced a signing or two. Every day changes. At the moment we've not lost any, so that's good for me. We're making sure, as I've said, that the performances and the preparation are the most important."
With there being no Premier League 2 fixtures on Wednesday evening, the most obvious match that was taking place on the night was a Checkatrade Trophy Third Round tie between Chelsea Under-21s and Peterborough United. With three loan slots to fill to replace Olomola, Patrick and Mahmoutovic, it would be no surprise to find that Way was looking at players in the West London side's development squad. If that was his destination, then he'd have witnessed them lose 1-3 at Stamford Bridge, with Richard Nartey their scorer.
In terms of current personnel, Way also confirmed that defender Omar Sowunmi was about to resume light 'jogging' on his ankle, which has kept him out of action since September 25th, when a bad tackle during the home game against Milton Keynes Dons saw him limp off during second half injury time. He's been missing since that point, but is at least going to try to build up his fitness again this week. It will be at least a couple of weeks before he's considered for selection, pitching him for an actual return towards the end of January.
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