Thirteen could prove a lucky number for Darren Way. The Yeovil Town boss nipped in just before the transfer window closed to bring Matt Worthington to Huish Park from Bournemouth on loan until January, and both clubs believe that he could be the man to play a big part in leading the Glovers back into the top half of the Sky Bet Two table, writes John Lukins.
Yeovil have picked up some excellent loanees over recent seasons but few had already reached the same level of development as the 19- year-old midfielder from the Vitality Stadium.
Worthington has already played in the Premier League – Bournemouth used him as a substitute in the final match of last season against Leicester City. And their up-and-coming boss Eddie Howe took him to Marbella with his first-team squad for pre-season training and describes him as “a lad with a terrific attitude and with all the characteristics of a Bournemouth midfielder”.
Way, for his part, says he has been monitoring Worthington for some time and is delighted that the player has been allowed to come to Yeovil. It will not be completely new territory for the player as Bournemouth used him for part of their pre-season friendly at Huish Park.
The Yeovil manager is coming to the end of the second year of his three-year contract and the signs are that, despite serious budget limitations, he is getting together the best squad Yeovil have had in that time.
The goal famine that has plagued the club has been sorted and Yeovil are now among the highest scorers in the League. After the opening day’s humbling 8-2 defeat at Luton, the defence has been tightened, although there is still work to be done away from home.
Midfield is where some sorting out seemed to be needed as a group of quality players take time to bed in together. The word ‘quality’ is used deservedly. New skipper James Bailey had four years at Derby County and also spells with Coventry and Barnsley; the combative James Gray cost a fee when Way signed him from Luton, and Connor Smith has featured in two back-to-back promotions, firstly with AFC Wimbledon and then with Plymouth Argyle where he made 31 appearances as they jumped to League One.
How Worthington will fit in with things remains to be seen, but it is important that Yeovil pick up points before the end of the month. The 2-0 defeat at Crawley last weekend was a disappointment that should have been avoided. It left the Glovers point-less away from home in three trips.
At Huish Park they went into yesterday’s match with Cheltenham with a 100 per cent home record, but no-one believes that ex-Huish favourite Gary Johnson has the 24th best team in the table, although that was what the League table was showing.
Next comes a home match with lowly Morecambe on Tuesday. Easy? Don’t you believe it. For the past two seasons Morecambe have come south at this time of the year with Yeovil fans anticipating com- fortable victories, but the Glovers have lost 4-2 and 1-0.
On Saturday, Yeovil rub shoulders with Grimsby Town and Russell Slade, the first manager to lead them to Wembley. He joined the Glovers at the start of the 2006 sea- son, co-incidentally from Grimsby.
Now, after a series of jobs around the Leagues, including a good spell at Brighton, the wheel of fortune has taken him back to one of his first clubs – and he’s working hard to keep their heads above relegation water following a spate of early season red cards.
Meanwhile, a final note on mid- fielders. It did not go unnoticed in Somerset that the canny Harry Redknapp has picked up Liam Walsh on loan from Everton until January.
Walsh was so impressive in a 17- game loan to Yeovil two years ago that Way tried desperately to engineer his return.
It was not be, and the signs are that Liam is very much on the way to bigger things. Could Birmingham be a stepping stone?