The news Swindon fans had been dreading came to fruition today with the announcement leading scorer Eoin Doyle had returned to his parent club, and League Two promotion rivals Bradford City.
Doyle scored an incredible twenty-three goals in twenty-two games for the Robins and earnt the nickname ‘Ginger Pele’ during his hugely successful stay in Wiltshire. The Irishman had signed a season-loan in the summer, but the Bantams have recalled the EFL’s leading scorer early even though the striker had publicly stated he would be disappointed to go back.
Doyle is out of contract at Valley Parade in the summer, and despite being welcomed back with open arms by Bradford boss Gary Bowyer, doubts remain over his future. Many fans of the Bantams are wondering how the forward will fit into Bowyer’s system and how Doyle will perform given he was not happy to return.
Having appeared for Bradford earlier in the season, the only option they have, if they do not want to risk losing Doyle for free in the summer, is to sell him to Swindon because players are prohibited for playing for three clubs in the same country in a single season. That is, of course, assuming Doyle’s return to Valley Parade proves troublesome.
It is an intriguing situation and hopes that Doyle may yet end up at the County Ground on a permanent deal was not ruled out when Swindon boss Richie Wellens faced the press this afternoon. Speaking to the Swindon Advertiser ahead of the Robins crucial clash with fellow League Two promotion hopefuls Crewe at the weekend, Wellens said this when asked if there is a chance Doyle could return: ‘We’ll see. See how the next week develops.’
When pressed further on whether the club was actively trying to get him back, Wellens apparently smirked and replied: ‘Let’s just see what happens.’
Swindon fans will no doubt be saying stop messing about and get the deal done; we want promotion.
However, the deal is a complicated one at Bradford’s end. They will be hoping Doyle carries on scoring; they also want a promotion, but if the player is not happy because he wanted to stay at Swindon, will he perform?
Bradford also have to be careful of the message letting Doyle go to a promotion rival sends to their fans.
It’s a very intriguing situation, and with 23 days to go, it will be fascinating to see how it pans out.