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Former ASE Players Feature In Transfer Deals

There may not have been as much money spent during the January transfer window as in years gone by.

There may not even have been any major big name moves but the bi-annual frenzy of deals has once again presented some ex and current Apprentice players with new challenges.

For some it will be a chance to showcase their talent at a higher level. For others it’s sideways step or move down the leagues in order to kick-start a promising career.

Whatever the future holds at least a dozen former ASE players woke up today to a new beginning at a new Club.

The biggest deals involving ex Apprentices saw Marvin Sordell and Ryan Bennett move to Premier League Clubs.

Owen Coyle will hope that Sordell’s goals (he’s averaged 1 in 3 games this season) will help Bolton Wanderers steer clear of the Premier League drop zone even if the youngster will have to sit out tonight’s home game with Arsenal after being registered too late to play.

Similarly Bennett will not feature for his new Club Norwich when they face Sunderland at the Stadium of Light this evening.

The England U21 international who began his career at Grimsby Town, left Peterborough yesterday to sign a three-and-a-half-year deal with the Canaries but is being immediately loaned back to the Posh to help ease them through their current injury crisis.

Former Crewe Alexandra front-man Nicky Maynard could join Bennett and Sordell in English Football’s top flight next year.

Maynard who has been a revelation at Bristol City made the move to Championship table toppers West Ham last night in a deal thought to be worth around £2m. The 25-year-old has signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with the Hammers with the option to extend that by a further 12 months.

Meanwhile Fulham have completed the signing of 18-year-old winger Ryan Williams from Portsmouth. The Australian, who is one for the future has made six appearances for Pompey this term.

“This is a good opportunity for Ryan to move to an established Premier League outfit. We wish him all the best,” said Portsmouth boss Michael Appleton.

Last season’s Football League Apprentice of the Year in League Two, Kadeem Harris became a Championship player overnight after joining Cardiff City in a deal that is reportedly worth an initial £300,000.

West Bromwich Albion defender Joe Mattock also finds himself back in the Championship today. The former Leicester City apprentice joined Brighton on-loan last night.

In other moves to involve ex Apprentices Matty Whichelow switched from Watford to Wycombe on-loan while Crawley Town’s search for a replacement for Matt Tubbs ended with the recruitment of Billy Clarke from Blackpool.

Roy O’Donovan left Coventry to head up the road to Scottish Premier League outfit Hibernian but travelling in the opposite direction Lee Cox joined Swindon after a spell at Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

Further afield Colin Kazim-Richards, once of Bury left Galatasaray to join Olympiakos until the end of the season while former Nottingham Forest youngster Robbie Gibbons gets a second chance in the English game with Scunthorpe United.

Gibbons returns to England after spending just 12 months in the Cypriot League at Alki Larnaca.

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