Barring emergencies, Football League managers will now have to make do with what they’ve got for the rest of the season as the deadline for loan signings passed yesterday. Only a few London clubs were at the last minute bargain counter and by far the most well-known player involved was 36 year old former England international Paul Warhurst who’ll be spending the rest of the season trying to help Barnet secure their place in the league after they celebrated promotion from the Conference only last year (pictured). They topped the League Two table early in the season, but have slipped to a perilous 21st position, just two places and one point above the trapdoor leading back to non-league status. Manager Paul Fairclough will be hoping that Warhurst, now at his 14th league club, will be able to use that experience to help mend Barnet’s woeful away form that has seen them win only twice on their travels.
At the other end of the table, Leyton Orient have brought in winger Wayne Corden from League One side Scunthorpe United to provide extra momentum in their challenge for automatic promotion. Corden was a regular scorer at Mansfield for five seasons and though he has failed to find the net in 17 appearances for Scunthorpe since joining them a year ago Orient manager Martin Ling believes he can fill the attacking void left by Shane Tudor’s recent injury.
Watford, meanwhile, have decided to let 18 year old Toumani Diagouraga go to help Swindon Town try to avoid the drop into League Two. A star of last season’s youth cup run and described by Watford fan site Blind, Stupid and Desperate as “both combative and full of delicate touches”, Diagouraga has only made four senior appearances for the Hornets and will hope to show his worth in regular first team action at the County Ground.
Back in the top flight, Charlton Athletic couldn’t quite follow Chelsea and West Ham into today’s FA Cup semi-final draw at the first attempt, though the extra game might help with the £5.1m loss they announced yesterday for the last six months of 2005. Chairman Richard Murray claimed this was deliberate spending to strengthen the squad and, given the Addicks’ predictable trundle into mid-table security after a promising league start, he will be hoping that a run to the cup final will make that investment look prudent.
The semi-final draw itself will be being conducted by Geoff Thomas who appeared in Crystal Palace’s dramatic 1990 final matches with Manchester United. He was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia in 2002 and, now in remission following a successful bone marrow transplant, devotes himself to raising funds for associated charities. You could support them and enjoy an entertaining evening by going along to a rematch of that 1990 final at Selhurst Park on Thursday 6 April at 7:45 pm where many of the stars that took part, including Mark Hughes, Ian Wright and Bryan Robson will face each other again.
Image via itsamish's Flickr stream.