With the season not too far away from starting, in my opinion, these are the three sides that have done the best transfer business so far in the third tier of English Football.
Firstly, Blackburn Rovers. After just missing out on surviving relegation last season and going down with 51 points, I felt Blackburn didn’t have to make many signings to ensure they’d be up there come the end of the season but Blackburn have so far made six impressive signings so far this window. Firstly, they signed experienced midfielder Peter Whittingham. Whittingham made 413 appearances for Cardiff City, the vast majority in the Championship, but some in the Premier League. Despite being 32, his experience will certainly help Rovers next season.
Blackburn also signed Bradley Dack, Gillingham’s star player for just £750,000. Dack won League One Player of The Year in 2016 and made 160 appearances whilst scoring 31 goals for The Gills. Blackburn have also added a solid right back in Paul Caddis. Central midfielder Richard Smallwood was signed from Rotherham, he made 108 appearances for the Millers. Blackburn have also added youngster Dominic Samuel to their squad as well as midfielder Ben Gladwin from QPR.
Bury, in my opinion, have also made a fantastic effort to push on from last season’s finish of 19th. Firstly, they have signed experienced striker Jermaine Beckford. Beckford has made at least 30 appearances for Preston, Bolton, Leicester and Everton including 126 for Leeds. They have also signed Chris Maguire, a star player in Oxford’s impressive campaign last season, Nicky Ajose on loan from Charlton, the top scorer in League One during the 2015-16 season.
Joe Murphy has also signed, a very experienced keeper from Huddersfield aswell as Joe Skarz from Oxford has signed, he will most likely start at left back next season. Phil Edwards has signed from Burton Albion, he will start at right back for The Shakers. Edwards is 31 years of age and will help command a young back line. The Shakers have also signed Tom Aldred, Adam Thompson and Eoghan O’Connell. All three of these players are centre backs and gives them plenty of options at the heart of the defence. Stephen Dawson has also signed from Scunthorpe giving them an option in central midfield.
New signings Jay O’Shea and Callum Reilly also gives them options in midfield. Bury have not only recruited in quantity but in quality too and as well as good squad depth, have some very good options. I can certainly see The Shakers challenging for the playoffs next season after a 19th placed finish last season.
Southend are the final side who have had a very good transfer window, bringing in some high-quality players. The Blues have added just four players to their squad, but three of great quality. Michael Kightly has signed for Southend after his time there between 2003-2005. He joins from Burnley after making 76 appearances for them as well as 17 on loan to Burton Albion last season. Kightly adds strength in a position where they were weak and had limited options. Kightly has a lot of experience of the higher leagues after his 114 appearances for Wolves and 22 for Stoke. .
Michael Turner has also signed for Southend, a man who can also add a lot of experience to Southend’s defence. Turner made 129 appearances for Hull as well as 68 and 71 for Sunderland and Norwich respectively. He will most likely partner Anton Ferdinand at centre back next season and can both can help the two less experienced full backs, one being third and final signing Stephen Hendrie. Hendrie has signed from West Ham and will most likely start for the Blues in their much-improved backline.
Southend have certainly gone for quality over quantity and some very impressive signings will certainly bolster there chances of a top six finish after just missing out last season. I can personally see Phil Brown’s men challenging for an automatic promotion place with the likes of Blackburn, Bradford and Wigan.