McLaren departs Valley Parade leaving Stuart with a familiar problem

Paul McLaren has today had his contract cancelled and departed Valley Parade, leaving manager Stuart McCall yet again facing that strawberry blonde-coloured hole to fill.

McLaren is the fourth different player to wear the number four shirt vacated by Stuart when he was released in 2002, but despite appearing the best prospect yet to take on the challenge of mastering the midfield dominator role City have struggled to replace, he will join Tom Kearney and Paul Evans in the nearly men section of the club’s history. Only Nathan Doyle has enjoyed success while wearing number four, but he was a right back.

Stuart has two central midfielders on trial ahead of the commencement of pre-season friendlies from Saturday in Grant Smith and Jordan Hadfield. Neither has been shy in expressing their disgust at previous managers overlooking their ability, both are hoping Stuart will be able to recognise it over the next couple of weeks.

Holes can be picked at their arguments for irregular football with their clubs last season – is Greg Abbott of all people a bad judge of a tiggerish central midfielder like Smith? Even allowing for some less than sophisticated tactics by manager Keith Alexander that make central midfield unnecessary, at the end of the day Hadfield couldn’t get in the Macclesfield Town team. Both have a lot to prove to give Stuart confidence they can succeed where others have failed in replacing Stuart the player.

As for McLaren, he started his City career looking like he was in second gear and rarely managed to climb any higher. He had moments where he looked to good for the division, but rarely battled hard enough to be able to show it.

The real disappointment of McLaren hanging up City’s number four shirt is that last season’s number 23 isn’t going to be taking it up.

Arnison on his way out of City?

Paul Arnison wants to move from City for first team football after falling down the pecking order at right back after Simon Ramsden arrived from Rochdale.

There are some schools of thought on Arnison with some picturing him as the third generation full backs that have disappointed although looking at results with the ranging former Carlisle man in compared to those without him City performed far better with Arni in the side.

Nevertheless rumour persist that Arnison and the rest of the squad have not “gelled” and such rumours continue on from the tales that he was part of a significant bust up after Carlisle United’s play ff win over Leeds two years ago which saw that team’s collapse.

In short it would seem that regardless of his abilities Arnison’s face does not fit at Valley Parade and the agenda of the summer – to build a team with more backbone and spirit – means that anyone who does not fit into the squad is on the way out.

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