Batth time for Boothroyd

NEW Colchester United boss Aidy Boothroyd has boosted the careers of many young players, over the years, and he is set to do the same for Wolves defender Danny Batth.

Carl Marston

NEW Colchester United boss Aidy Boothroyd has boosted the careers of many young players, over the years, and he is set to do the same for Wolves defender Danny Batth.

Batth became Boothroyd's third loan signing yesterday, following in the footsteps of midfielder John-Joe O'Toole (from Watford) and Kayode Odejayi (from Barnsley).

O'Toole arrived on the day that Boothroyd was appointed, 16 days ago, while target man Odejayi was snapped up a three-month loan from Oakwell on Wednesday.

Now Batth has joined them, and the 18-year-old is expected to go straight into the squad for tomorrow's visit of Hartlepool, which will be Boothroyd's first home game at the helm.

“I've know Danny (Batth) for a while. He's a young boy from Wolves, and I believe that now is the right time to bring him in,” explained Boothroyd.

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“He's 6ft 3ins, and is very quick and athletic. He's good at one-on-ones as a defender. He enjoys defending and he will bring competition for places.

“Sometimes a player can come to a particular junction in his career, when he can't break into the first team because of the league (Premier League) that his club is in.

“And I've worked well with young players on loan in the past, getting the best out of them, players like Gabby Agbonlahor, Adam Johnson and Ben Foster,” added Boothroyd.

This trio were all brought in on loan while Boothroyd was the manager of Watford, and all have since gone on to make big names for themselves in the top flight.

Boothroyd recruited talented striker Agbonlahor on loan from Aston Villa when he was a raw 17-year-old in 2005, handing him his league debut. He has since gone on to play for England twice and scored 34 goals in 124 league appearances for Villa.

Current Middlesbrough winger Johnson scored five goals in 12 outings for Watford two years ago, while keeper Foster had two separate year-long loan spells with the Hornets from Manchester United in 2005-06 and again the following campaign. He has also gone on to play for England.

Boothroyd is therefore not afraid to give young players a chance.

Although Batth is yet to make a first team appearance for Wolves, he has been at Molineux since the age of 10 and has been a regular in the Reserves in recent seasons. He was one of seven Academy graduates to sign professional terms at the end of last season.

Also on Wolves' books are former Colchester players Chris Iwelumo and George Elokobi.

If Batth does make his league debut against Hartlepool tomorrow, then it will be reason for a double celebration over the next few days - because he celebrates his 19th birthday on Monday!

Before Batth's arrival, U's boss Boothroyd was down to his last two fit centre-halves. Paul Reid (recovering from a broken knee-cap) and Lee Beevers (shoulder injury) were joined in the treatment room by Pat Baldwin following the goalless draw at Southampton a fortnight ago.

Tomorrow comes too soon for Baldwin, who is making steady progress after being stretchered off with a sore knee and ankle just before half-time at St Mary's.

The U's skipper, who initially feared that he might have broken his leg, suffered a slight strain to his knee, and has some bone bruising.

Matt Heath came into the team at Swindon last weekend, and impressed alongside Magnus Okuonghae in the heart of defence. Now Batth has increased Boothroyd's options at centre-back.

Midfielder Kem Izzet, who was sent off at Southampton for violent conduct, serves the second of a three-match suspension.

And Ashley Vincent, who injured himself in scoring the opening goal in last weekend's 1-1 draw at Swindon, is also set to miss out.

“It's touch and go for Ashley Vincent on Saturday,” confirmed Boothroyd.

“He took a bad knock when he scored, but that shows just how brave he is.”