The January transfer window has been and gone with Scunthorpe United making a few new signings. Despite the club being hopeful that several players could be offloaded, there were few departures. Oliver Woolley reviews how the Winter window went for the Iron.
George Taft joined the Iron on an initial loan from Bolton until the end of the season, a move which looked fantastic on paper. This proved to be true as Taft slotted into the team alongside Emmanuel Onariase, forming an exceptional partnership with him. The duo’s performances were key in the club winning 3 games in 6 days with 3 clean sheets, including the 3-0 victory over bitter rivals Grimsby. It was no surprise to see Scunthorpe keen to make Taft’s deal permanent then. More shocking was Taft for free on a 2-and-a-half-year contract, which looks like outstanding business from the club.
The other player who joined Scunthorpe this January was Jem Karacan. Ex-Reading and Galatasaray midfielder, Karacan had many fans excited when it was announced he had joined the Iron until the end of the season after training with the club since November. With Champions League experience it looked like Scunthorpe could have finally added the quality, experienced midfielder fans felt was required. His career at the Iron has started brightly, with a good debut performance in a poor Iron performance against Barrow followed by stand-out 2 performances in the 3-game winning streak. Karacan was subbed after injury during the victory over Colchester, which highlights the one problem the Iron may have with the midfielder. Keep him fit however, and Karacan will be key to the rest of Scunthorpe’s season.
The final incoming for the Iron was Blackpool right-back Teddy Howe, who signed on loan until the end of the season. 22-year-old full back, Howe, has been out of favour with the Seasiders only making 2 EFL trophy appearances this season. With Jordan Clarke out injured for at least a month, Scunthorpe’s only right back option is Jai Rowe and an out of position George Hornshaw. Howe will provide much needed cover allowing the Iron to rotate more and could push Rowe to start for the Iron. This is key especially with Clarke’s injury record and could prove to be shrewd business.
The Iron did have three players leave the club this January but all three were recalled loanees. The first of these loanees to leave was Jake Taylor who was recalled by Nottingham Forest and signed permanently by Port Vale. Taylor failed to make much of an impact with Scunthorpe but did look to be improving when played in a more natural attacking role before he left the club. Overall, the Iron will not miss Taylor in the short term but with Lewis Spence, Alfie Beestin and Jem Karacan as the three main central midfield options more depth in midfield would have been ideal. The other options in that position are the inexperienced Tom Pugh and George Hornshaw or Alex Gilliead as a makeshift centre midfielder, something Neil Cox has tried earlier in the season.
The second loanee to leave the club was Frank Vincent. After a bright start to his Scunthorpe career, central midfielder Vincent suffered an unfortunate long-term injury. In his absence Spence and Beestin formed a solid partnership, leaving Vincent on the fringes of the starting XI. Vincent was recalled by Bournemouth and sent on loan to Walsall. His and Jake Taylor’s departures may have freed up the wages to allow the Iron to sign Karacan. However along with Taylor, Vincent’s departure has seen the depth of Scunthorpe’s midfield become a slight issue.
The final departure was Bournemouth centre back Tyler Cordner. Cordner, like Vincent started brightly and looked comfortable defending and in possession. However, as the season went on Cordner’s form became to dip as defenders Onariase, Bedeau and McGahey returned to fitness. An argument with Cox saw Cordner frozen out until injuries to Onariase and McGahey forced him back into his thinking. However, signing George Taft and players returning to fitness proved to be the final nail in his coffin. Cordner was recalled by Bournemouth and sent on loan to bottom-placed team Southend. Replacing Cordner with Taft was a huge upgrade and another piece of great business from the Iron.