City take keeper on trial

Last updated : 11 August 2007 By Ben Collins
The Blues were looking for a senior keeper with Andreas Isaksson out injured for upto two months, leaving rookies Joe Hart and Kasper Schmeichel as the only cover.

Yet the best Sven managed to come up with was Richard Martin on a month-long trial period. The 19-year-old is a former Brighton trainee and played for the reserves against Accrington Stanley last week.

But the youngster is yet to make a senior appearance, so he's hardly ready to be thrown into Premiership action. This is a chance for him to develop with a Premiership club - and maybe earn a permanent contract - but surely he's not going to be in contention for the first team.

At one point it looked like Sven had signed him exactly for that purpose when it was announced on the City website that Martin had signed a month's contract and that he'd been tracked by Arsenal and Liverpool scouts.

However, the story was soon corrected to show that it was a month-long trial instead, with no mention of interest from other Premiership clubs.

Martin will add extra goalkeeping cover while Isaksson is out, but Hart is now set to be given the nod to face West Ham and make his second Premiership appearance.

It all represents a disappointing week's work by Sven and his aides. I wrote in an earlier piece that I doubted any decent keeper would be available just a week before the start of a new season.

However, that didn't prove to be the problem - Craig Gordon left Hearts for Sunderland in a record £9m deal while Liverpool's Scott Carson agreed a season-long loan deal with Aston Villa.

City were linked with both keepers at the start of the week but it doesn't appear we bothered to make a serious move for either Gordon or Carson.

Why not? According to reports, we still had enough money left to buy Gordon, while joining City this season would surely have been a more appealing prospect for Carson than going to Villa.

Instead we've settled with bringing in an untried keeper, who has less experience than the two keepers we already have.

So Hart will get his chance after all, and good luck to him, although the whole situation casts doubt on Sven's ability to handle a crisis. No doubt he'll face many similar tests ahead.