Hullo Neeeyul! Hows Coooody durn? Cin we recall ‘im?
A familiar refrain for anyone who listens to Twat Call on a Saturday afternoon/Tuesday evening. The young scaffolder is a popular face in these parts, leading to the predictable nonsense every time we failed to pick up three points. Can we recall Cody? He’s scorin’ ghouls fir fun boy. He’d do a job dunt’ya think? Whether or not young Cody McDonald would have been able to contribute to the boys in yellow, though, will forever go unknown as the hotshot remains in Gillingham for the duration of the season as part of the deal that brought Jacko to Nelson’s County.
So how has he done? For more of an in depth view than provided by his goalscoring stats, I turn to Gillingham fan and editor of the tremendous Les Rosbifs blog, Gav Stone.
How much were you aware of Cody before he joined Gillingham?
Gav: We were quite aware of him, what with Cody really kicking off when he was at Dartford. There were a few stories going around, just before you signed him, that Mark Stimson (our manager at the time) was looking at signing him. 14 goals in 15 league matches at Isthmian Premier level was a cracking record and I don’t think I was the only Gills fan who yearned for Paul Scally (chairman) to get his moth-balled wallet out.
When we bought Jackson and sent Cody off in return, what sort of impact did you expect or hope he would play? Has he met or exceeded those expectations?
In all honesty, I personally felt Cody would thrive at League 2 level, and I think that’s certainly been the case. We had struggled to bolster the attack (although the size of Ade Akinfenwa is possibly equal to that of three other strikers), so to get a hungry one with plenty to prove, as well as him having the added comforts of home nearby, seemed like a good proposition. He has scored regularly, the fans love him and if it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t be (just about failing to make) the play-offs.
What has been his finest moment in a Gills shirt?
He went on this run either side of Christmas, where he scored 13 goals in 12matches, which was highly impressive and coincided with an unbeaten run of our own. Amongst that was a hat-trick away to Stockport, but for me the highlight was his two goals away to Cheltenham during March. Both came late and secured a vital away win for us )these things are as rare as men in Ipswich wearing yellow and green shirts), as well as all-but ending Cheltenham’s play-off hopes.
Given his comments about hoping to make the move permanent, how hopeful are you of making this a reality? Do you think other clubs higher up might come in for him?
I would love him to stay, but I think it is unlikely for a couple of reasons. Firstly, our chairman, Paul Scally, would not part with the cash Norwich can expect for him now. If we fail to make the play-offs, we will struggle badly next year, due to the apathy flying around the place at the moment. We have big debts, lots of players nearing the end of their contracts and a few players with poor attitudes still lying around. It is, however, really nice when a good player speaks highly of the club he is at.
I just think Cody is too good for League 2. He’s served his apprenticeship. If I was Paul Lambert, I would sign him on for a couple more years, loan him out to League One next season (too inexperienced for Premier League) and if you do get relegated in 2012, you will have a striker ready and willing to fight for you in the Championship. He has been difficult to handle in League 2; imagine how prolific he could be in League One, possibly even Championship.
Finally, how surprised are you at Jackson’s impact at Norwich? Did you or did other Gills fans always know he could make an impact, or has it taken you by surprise?
Personally speaking, I always felt he would make his mark in the championship. He’s quick, has good feet and played remarkably well running off and at defenders for the Gills during his time at the club. He is a late developer: let’s not forget we didn’t rate him when he came for his first spell at our club! His improvement this year has been great to see; especially so seeing how he has developed more sides to his game. The times I have seen Norwich play this season, I have seen a different Jacko; one who is more tuned in to his strike partner, and more willing to capable of pulling defenders out of the game, to make space for Holt and Hoolahan. It’s a side to his game that you guys have developed in him, so Jacko and Lambert have both illustrated their worth and qualities in that respect.
So there we go. As someone once said, it is better to have loved and lost, than never loved at all. I think it was Glenn Roeder.