The Maverick

THE match-winning qualities displayed by Jason Banton towards the conclusion of last season have stayed in the minds of many Pilgrims.

Vital goals such as the brace at Aldershot in a 2-1 win and a crucial winner in a Devon Expressway Derby against Exeter contributed to Argyle’s ultimate survival in a League 2 relegation battle in 2012-13.

It is not just with the Green Army, though, that Jason’s ability was appreciated.

John Sheridan –a pretty tidy player in his day, remember – saw something in Banton that prompted him to try to attract him back to Home Park at the beginning of this campaign.

That particular advance proved futile, as he instead joined Milton Keynes on loan until January. Persistence, though, paid off. Both John’s persistence in wanting to bring the 21-year-old Londoner back to Argyle, and indeed the fond memories of his time in green persisting in Jason’s own mind.

With Banton underutilised at Stadium:MK, and parent club Crystal Palace willing to release, John pounced.

“I’m very pleased to get him,” said John. “Everyone knows how well he did last season and he was a big part of us staying in the Football League. 

“He was really happy here last time and he was more than willing to come over here and get a contract sorted out.

“He’s a match-winner. He is a bit different; he’s a bit of a maverick, which I like. He is still learning the game and he has got to work very hard to try and improve. That’s what I’ll try to get out of him. We all know what he can do and I think he is a really good addition for us.

“He can not be in a game, but just show him that little glimpse and he can do something out of the ordinary. They are the players you need when the game is not going your way. He did it a few times last season, and he can end up winning you the game.”

Jason’s arrival coincides with the losses of Tope Obadeyi and Caolan Lavery, both recalled by their owners, Bury and Sheffield Wednesday respectively.

This, obviously, opens a space or two for Jason, and leads to some options as to when he could be utilised. The gaffer could play him alongside Reuben Reid up front, or perhaps on a flank, shifting Lewis Alessandra or Andres Gurrieri to suit the situation. Or, indeed, another variant within a squad replete with ability.

“I think he can play anywhere,” said John. “He can play left, right or down the middle. I am not too worried about where he’s going to be; it’s just going to add to what we have already got.

“Hopefully he will make us even better.”