The Green Niall

ARGYLE’S newest signing may have a penchant for clean sheets - but he has an eye for goal, too.

Niall Canavan arrives from Rochdale with roughly a one-in-ten record of goals in his 200 or so career appearances, which is really not bad at all for a defensive player. He also has a record of played two against Argyle, without letting in a goal. 

No doubt his 6ft3 frame helps in front of goal, but it will be at the other end in which Canavan will generally be judged. It is a bit of a departure south for the Yorkshireman who spent a dozen years, formative and beyond, at first club Scunthorpe, before eventually crossing the Pennines for a loan spell at Rochdale.

Dale liked what they saw, and after 173 outings for the Iron – and three in a brief loan spell at Shrewsbury – Niall made Rochdale only his second permanent club.

In the second year of a two-year deal, though, Canavan was struck down with an ankle injury, sustained in a Checkatrade Trophy fixture against Blackburn Rovers. An operation to reconstruct a lateral ligament essentially put paid to his season, and his Rochdale career.

At 27, Niall is a good age for a defender; experienced, and with plenty left in the tank. It is not unknown for defenders to come to Home Park and impress with their dominance at both ends of the park, and become heroes. 

Can Canavan?