DEANE Smalley will be a big asset for Argyle, says Pilgrims’ manager John Sheridan.
The 25-year-old forward has joined the Pilgrims from Oxford to link up with the Greens’ gaffer for the third time in his career, much to John’s delight.
“I am very pleased to get him,” he said. “I think he’ll be a really big player for us.
“I’ve been after him for a while. I tried to get him last season, but Oxford wouldn’t let him go.
“He was in and out at Oxford – he had one or two little injuries – but, when Oxford were doing well last season, he was in the team.
“If we can get a really good pre-season out of him – get him nice and strong, get him fully fit – he will be a very big asset for us.
“He’s turned down one or two other teams to come here, which I am pleased about. He knows me; he knows what I am like. So that is beneficial to him; and I know him, which is beneficial to me.”
Teenager Deane was given his debut in 2007 when John was manager of Oldham Athletic, and the pair joined forces again when John was in charge at Chesterfield and borrowed Dean from the Latics. His 12 goals in 22 starts helped the Spireites win the 2010-11 League 2 title
John said: “I had him at Oldham when he was younger; I had him at Chesterfield; and he was a really good player.
“He is very good in the air; he’s quick; and he can play in one or two positions. At Chesterfield, we used to play him on the wing at home and down the middle away, so he gives you that little bit of variety.
“He’s played at a higher level and I thought he should have done a lot better than he has done. That’s something I have got to work on. I think I can do that.
“I want him to come in and fight for his place, to prove his worth his place in the side.”
John will not be the only familiar face at Home Park for Deane. He and Lewi Alessandra were contemporaries at Oldham, while Luke McCormick and fellow summer signing Lee Cox played alongside him at Oxford.
“I hope can get something out of him like I have with Lewi,” said John. “They know each other very well and are good friends.
“It’s good that players know each other. It’s difficult when you come to a club and don’t really know anyone. If you have people around you that you know, you feel settled earlier than you may have thought.
“Coxy did really well for me when he was here last year and really liked it here. Again, he’s a character who will give us that little bite in midfield.”
With Lee and Deane already added to the ranks, and Luke and Curtis Nelson having re-signed, John’s 2014-15 squad is taking shape. However, he is not finished yet.
“I’m hoping one or two others will come in sooner, rather than later,” he said. “There are a lot of players out there and a lot of clubs that are chasing players. I’m speaking to players and want to get one or two positions filled early; then, throughout the pre-season, other players will come in.
“We have got to improve next season. I think I am bringing a better quality of player in, and I know what I have got to do.”