With the FA now confirming that Yeovil Town’s number one Grant Smith will be out for the next two games after his sending off after the final whistle in the 3-0 defeat at Torquay United on Boxing Day, manager Darren Sarll has a choice to make.
Max Evans has been the back-up keeper for the past two years with his starting appearances limited to the Somerset Premier Cup and then the recent FA Trophy win over Woking, and is the obvious choice to fill in for Smith – but there’s also the option of bringing in a loan keeper.
We got BBC Somerset’s Yeovil Town reporter Sheridan Robins and Gloverscast regular David Coates to put forward the arguments for both options…
Going with Max
Nineteen-year-old Max Evans has been in and around the first team for two full seasons now, under the watchful eye of excellent goalkeeping coach Craig Wight and has worked with some excellent goalkeepers in Adam Smith and Grant Smith.
His professional debut against Woking in the FA Trophy was uneventful, but as a goalkeeper that is all you can really ask for. He has been consistently on the bench in the National League, and with how many sides do not even use a substitute spot for an additional goalkeeper, he is clearly well sought after.
In my view, if he is good enough to be the backup, he is good enough to take to the field for an FA Cup match and National League clash.
Grant Smith has been outstanding this season, but I am sure he would be the first to say his actions on Sunday fell short of his standards. A loan signing might be sensible to provide cover, but with the loans we already have in, and the bodies we have cover for elsewhere in the side, I am not sure it is necessary.
They always say a goalkeeper is better for having competition – and if Max Evans plays these games and impresses then Smith will have to force his way back into the team and that can only be a good thing for this ever-improving Yeovil side.
I was struck by Darren Sarll’s post-match comments about how he doesn’t think we are short for next week. A few weeks ago, that would not have been the case.
I do hope we see Evans take to the field – and impress. What a moment it would be for him to start against the Championship winners-elect in the FA Cup.
And if the worst did happen and Evans got injured, there is always Luke Wilkinson who can come in to save the day…. 😉
Sheridan Robins, BBC Somerset
Getting in a loan
In Max Evans we clearly have a goalkeeper of some promise and his selection in the FA Trophy tie recently makes it clear Darren Sarll has faith in him.
But – you knew one was coming – I do not believe that Darren Sarll has it in his DNA to write off matches as lose-able and therefore chucking Evans in feels like a risk.
We’re still smarting from a loss at Torquay on Boxing Day and the Gulls made it clear that they have the gamesmanship (let’s be polite about it) you need a bit of in this division.
The likes of Danny Wright will undoubtedly target an inexperienced keeper.
In the FA Cup tie with AFC Bournemouth in the second match of Smith’s suspension, there will be some very good players in opposition and a Red Button audience watching on.
Should things start to go against us, the last thing Max needs for his confidence is to be repeatedly picking a ball out of the net.
Let’s assume for the sake of this scenario that the finance is in place to get a loan keeper in, and his parents club (assuming they are still in the competition) are willing to let him be Cup tied.
For his own protection, my view is we should look to bring a more experienced keeper in on loan even if it is just for a couple of matches.
We are at the midway point of the season and undoubtedly there are some good number two (and probably number three) goalkeepers kicking their heels in the Football League.
There will be chances for Max Evans in the near future and I have no doubt he’s capable of challenging for the number one jersey – but is now really the time for a novice?
David Coates – Gloverscast
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