It’s January, the sales have started and the bargain hunters are already out in force. Football clubs are no different. However, the January transfer window can be a difficult time for clubs to find value in. Chairmen can be frozen with indecision. Stick or twist? Sky Sports News’ yellow-tied deadline day hysteria looms ahead. Will you be stuck with a dud on a 36-month contract if you make the wrong move? Can you trust your team’s manager to pick the right transfer targets if he can’t even pick up three points now and again? Is the journeyman centre-back you’re so keen on worth the money? Do you need to keep the money for a rebuilding project and a new manager in the summer? When do the shops close? All these questions are making me need some retail therapy!
Pure Fitbaw has braved the crowds queuing at 6am outside shopping centres, cast our eye over umpteen displays of last season’s out of style stock and picked out a handful of bargains that are currently plying their trade in Scotland’s SPFL League 2.
Blair Henderson – Edinburgh City
We can’t possibly start in League Two without going straight to one of the most prolific strikers in the country: twenty-five goal hitman Blair Henderson.
The 24-year-old striker is having a fantastic season for Edinburgh City with seventeen of those goals coming in the league. He’s averaging a goal every 88 minutes of play which is a return that most strikers can only dream of.
Henderson came through the youth ranks at Dunfermline Athletic before having a somewhat nomadic start to his senior career in the Scottish lower leagues. The player has really come into form over the last eighteen months. He netted an impressive 16 times for borders club Annan before joining Edinburgh City in the summer of 2018.
Henderson is a real handful – his name should be read out from the team sheet by wrestling announcer Michael Buffer and preceded by ‘coming in at six foot and four inches’ – but don’t be fooled into thinking that he’s just all headers and elbows. As well as being an excellent finisher he has an impressive work rate. Pure Fitbaw considered Henderson a standout even in Edinburgh City’s heavy defeat to Queen Of The South in the Betfred Cup as he toiled manfully, chasing lost causes and fighting for every aerial ball. This season fifty-three percent of Henderson’s shots on target have been goals but even when he does miss chances his confidence does not seem to get affected. He also is capable of good movement which can be seen for the first goal of his hat-trick in the highlights video below.
Henderson would be a great fit for a number of clubs. He has the attributes and physique to play at the top level in Scottish football but at this point in time, Pure Fitbaw has identified Partick Thistle as the best potential fit. The Jags are struggling for goals, need a confident striker to help stabilize their season and give them grounds to build on for the 2019/20 campaign.
Robbie Deas – Cowdenbeath (On loan from Celtic)
Former Cowdenbeath youth player Robbie Deas has made eleven appearances for Scotland under 19s and has captained Celtic at youth level. Deas has impressed since rejoining the Blue Brazil on loan this season and appears to be developing into a cultured centre back.
The loan spell isn’t just giving the youngster playing minutes but is also helping him gain a battle-hardened mentality, to add to his overall defensive skill set, courtesy of playing against the big physical strikers in League Two. Pure Fitbaw watched Deas play against Queens Park on a soaking wet, bitterly cold, Wednesday night at Station Park. It was clear that Deas is comfortable with the ball at his feet and looks to build play out from the back for his team. Deas was a threat from set pieces and even crashed a towering header against the bar and also forced a good save from the opposition goalkeeper with another chance.
The eighteen-year-old already has a winning mentality due to his time at Celtic and has quite a lot of experience under his belt for his age. It would be no surprise to see the youngster step up a few levels and there a few Scottish Championship clubs at which he could be a good fit. Due to their good relationship with Celtic at youth level and the limited amount of cover, they have at centre back Pure Fitbaw has picked out Alloa as the best fit. Deas is ready to challenge Sam Roscoe for his spot in the team there.
Lewis McLear – Albion Rovers
St Mirren youth product Lewis McLear has been one of the few bright spots in what has been an abysmal season so far for Albion Rovers. McLear made seventeen first-team appearances for St Mirren before seeming to lose his way a little during short spells at two different clubs in League Two.
The talented winger is now getting regular minutes at the ‘Wee Rovers’ and appears to be finding his feet at Cliftonhill. McLear is averaging a goal every 243 minutes for a club that is really struggling to score. In fact, he has scored a third of Albion’s overall goal tally this season.
McLear Freekick – 4 mins 45 seconds.
With Albion Rovers looking all but set for back to back relegations McLear could be a cheap option for a number of clubs that are looking to kick on. Pure Fitbaw has identified Arbroath as an ideal destination for McLear as he could help maintain their momentum as they try to reach the Scottish Championship.
There are a number of hidden gems throughout Scottish football and as ever we at Pure Fitbaw want to hear your thoughts. Which players should we be paying attention to? Where might they end up? Who should your team sign during this window?