New Blue: Paul Smyth

This one had people excited from the moment it was announced by Mr Jonny King, esteemed editor of the legendary Wanderer fanzine, on Twitter last Friday afternoon. I mean, just

take a look at some of the GIFs in the replies…

The buzz is justified. The Northern Ireland international arrives in South Bucks following an impressive loan spell at Accrington in the latter half of 2018/19. He registered three goals and five assists in 16 appearances for John Coleman’s side, including strikes at the Stadium of Light and…Adams Park (let’s not revisit that one).

Smyth isn’t exactly inexperienced in the Championship either, having turned out 16 times in the division for his parent club, scoring twice – including the winner on his debut against Cardiff just under 18 months ago. He’s also played in the Champions League (second qualifying round) for Linfield against Celtic.

A fair few QPR fans seem rather puzzled as to why he’s been allowed out on loan again. Hopefully, for our sake, their bemusement is well placed. Securing his services could turn out to be quite a coup.

Billed as a forward, Smyth played off Billy Kee in a 4-4-2 at Stanley. There are few better hold-up men to partner with at this level – and we’ve got one of them 😊. Skilful and nimble – as he exhibited in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Brentford, setting up trialist Josh Parker’s opener – he should equally pose plenty of threat in a 4-3-3, whether he’s cutting in from the left or lining up on his natural right-hand side.

Clearly highly creative and fond of a (sometimes special) goal, Smyth could become a Wycombe hero in no time. He’s mentioned how Ebere Eze spoke positively of his time here, and it has been suggested by one or two of a hooped persuasion that he possesses even more potential than his R’s teammate. Look at it this way: he’s played 893 minutes more for Mark Warburton’s (well, Steve McLaren and Ian Holloway’s) men than the 18 Eze had when he joined Wanderers. That doesn’t just happen. Indeed, he ended up being named the club’s Young Player of the Year in 2017/18.

Given how much higher level game-time he’s already got under his belt and the range of qualities he’ll bring, it’s hard to see him playing anything less than a key part in proceedings. 22 in just over six weeks’ time, he ought not to be too far off his prime. There’s every reason to believe we’re in for a real treat over the next nine months – assuming we’re able to hang onto him for that long*.

Quick Facts & Stats

Born: 10th Sep 1997 in Belfast

Nation: Northern Ireland

Position: Forward

Former clubs: QPR (2017-present), Accrington (loan (2019)), Linfield (2015-2017)

Senior club record: 59 appearances, 19 goals | Debut: 26/12/15, Glentoran 1-2 Linfield (NIFL Premiership) | Last appearance: 04/05/19, Portsmouth 1-1 Accrington (League One)

Senior international record: 2 caps, 1 goal | Debut: 24th Mar 2018, Northern Ireland 2-1 South Korea (friendly) | Last cap: 30th May 2018, Panama 0-0 Northern Ireland (friendly)

*As per EFL regulations, players on a season-long loan can be recalled in January if there’s a recall clause in the loan agreement, or after 28 days and in a transfer window (so January again in this case) if there’s a mutual written agreement between the parent club, the receiving club and the player.

Photo: Jrppezza via Wikimedia Commons. Used under license. Cropped to fit.

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