Give the Lad a Chance – Conor Doyle, Amari Morgan-Smith, Joel Ledgister, Marc Hatvani, Courtney Chipperfield, Nick Langford, Jordan Bowen, Alex Sunasky, Oliver Nicholas, Paris Cowan-Hall, Netan Sansara, Euan Holden

As someone who clearly has nothing better to do, I keep an eye on the teamsheets for the reserve team fixtures and have noticed that this season, Cloughie has been ready to give trials to many players who have been released by other league clubs.  Some have been shown the door by Premier League outfits, but even where the kid has been let go by sides from League 1 or 2, Nigel hasn’t been deterred from giving them a run-out.

Players have also come from Australia and the United States and the only one to be signed so far is Conor Doyle. In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Conor disclosed that he’s on $54,000 a year at Derby, which at the current rate of exchange is about £34,000.  Not bad, but certainly an indicator of what the club means by recruiting ‘young and hungry’ players!

Whatever else, you can’t fault Nigel for scouring the market for diamonds, even those lying deep in the rough.

DCFC Triallists 2010/11 season (to 10th September 2010)

Conor Doyle (Creighton University, Omaha USA) – Debuted against Burton Albion on the 17th July, then played two days later at Southend United, before scoring at Chesterfield on 24th July.  Nigel decided that Doyle was ‘probably better than most of the 18-year olds we’ve got’ and kept him onto the end of the month, by which time, the Texan had agreed to postpone his newly-won ‘soccer’ scholarship at university for a two-year contract. The pesky work permit issue was negated, as the forward qualifies for an Irish passport through his father.

Amari Morgan-Smith (Ilkeston Town) – As the Robins have now been wound up for the sake of an unpaid tax bill (£50,000, which puts things firmly into perspective), one wonders if Clough’s interest in Morgan-Smith was more public-spirited than anything.  The 21 year-old striker played a part in the games against Burton, Southend and Chesterfield in the early part of the season and while Clough said he would be interested in developing the player, no deal was ever done and Derby’s interest now appears to have disappeared.

As part of their unsuccessful appeal to the courts, Ilkeston this week claimed that they were ready to sell a ‘star player’, presumably Morgan-Smith, to a Football League club for around £20,000, but all is quiet for now.

Joel Ledgister (Free agent) – An attacking player, Ledgister played 20 mins at Southend, before starting the reserve friendly against Matlock Town on 23rd July. My good mate Ben Lough was flabbergasted to find that Cloughie had trialled him, as the lad had previously drummed out of his beloved Oxford United for an ‘over-casual attitude’, before turning out for Ebbsfleet and Woking. “The sort of Flash Harry that the real pros hate”, was Ben’s damning assessment.  Has since had unsuccessful trials at Crystal Palace and in Germany, so clearly has some glimmer of talent – or an enterprising agent.

Marc Hatvani / Courtney Chipperfield (Australia) – Aussie youngsters came as a pair to play for the reserves against Matlock.  Utility player Hatvani, who had previously trialled for Floriana in Malta, was subbed at half time and although centre forward Chipperfield scored, he was not heard of in these parts again.

Nick Langford (Free agent) – Forest supporters love to call Clough ‘non-league Nigel’. Langford, an attacking midfielder schooled by Chesterfield and Mansfield Town, was released by the Stags last season, but was given every chance at Derby, appearing in four friendlies including the one at Crewe on 11th August that was set up for Shaun Barker.

Jordan Bowen (Free agent) – A tiny attacking midfielder newly released by Blackburn Rovers, Bowen was given a chance against Burton on 28th July, then played at Solihull Moors two days later.  Not too many players standing 5’5″ high make the grade in England.

Alex Sunasky (Adelaide United, Australia) – A 21-year old midfielder, Sunasky was trained by the Australian Institute of Sport Football Program and has represented Australia at youth level. Trialled in the reserve game at Crewe, before being named in the squad for the reserve league fixture against Port Vale. Played the 90 minutes, but given that the result was an embarrassing 1-5 defeat, his phone remained silent in the aftermath.

Oliver Nicholas (Free Agent) – One with a bit of pedigree, Nicholas is an Arsenal product, who has played for England U’17s. Moved to Manchester City, citing a lack of opportunities to progress at Arsenal, but failed to settle in the north and left by mutual consent not long later.  Trialled at Blackburn unsuccessfully last season and played one trial game for Derby, lining up in midfield alongside Sunasky for the 2-1 win at Crewe.

Paris Cowan-Hall (Free agent) – Played as one of the three behind Callum Ball in the Reserve League game against Sheffield United on 25th August. Was on a month-to-month contract at Portsmouth last season, which he opted not to renew in a bid to secure something more permanent.  Had spent time on loan at Grimsby Town whilst a Pompey player. Most recently spotted trying out for Oldham Athletic.

Netan Sansara (Free agent) – A left back, Sansara has a cap at England U’19 level, but after being released by Walsall and having a very brief spell at Dundee (where he was sent off on debut), Sansara trialled with Wycombe Wanderers and Telford this summer.   One of the very few British Asians to get anywhere in football, Sansara got a bit of press attention when he represented England, but appears to have hit a brick wall.

Euan Holden (Free agent) – In October, Holden played centre back against Rotherham United reserves twice, poor lad – once in a 3-1 league defeat and once in a 3-3 cup draw. Holden’s older brother Stuart plays in midfield for Bolton Wanderers and the USA, but Euan was released by Danish second division team Velje BK last summer and has since trialled at Crewe Alexandra.

Who will be next in this esoteric collection of the crazy random?

Watch this space!

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