Done Deals Daily #16
The most sought-after non-league player in recent memory gets a Championship move.
Stokes, Warner... but this certainly isn't cricket.
Welcome to Done Deals Daily.
Josh Stokes (AM) - [Aldershot Town - Bristol City] - Undisclosed
Josh Stokes (AM) - [Bristol City - Aldershot Town] - Loan
Bristol City have won the race for arguably the hottest property in non-league football, picking up Josh Stokes from Aldershot Town for a fee believed to be around 250k. Stokes had strong interest from at least one Premier League club, and several across the three EFL divisions.
This move just feels right. Bristol City have done a brilliant job developing talent in recent years and Liam Manning's coaching background means this should continue. As an aside, Manning and Stokes are both sons of Ipswich Town.
Stokes, 19, is enjoying a rapid rise, stepping up three divisions last summer and thriving thanks to an insatiable work ethic, ability to take on new information (including a change of position) and take his opportunities - he has scored 16 goals in 26 appearances and has shown the sort of goal-scoring knack from a #10 position that brings the current Championship top goalscorer Sammie Szmodics. He'll hope to add to that back at Aldershot, before making his mark in the second tier next season.
AFC Sudbury → Aldershot Town → Bristol City is a jump of seven levels in the space of a year. It’s everything we love about the mobility of the English football pyramid.
VERDICT: LOVE IT
Corey Blackett-Taylor (LW) - [Charlton-Derby] - Loan
Derby haven't exactly been goal-shy – last weekend's 0-0 draw at Lincoln was their first blank in 15 league games – but that stalemate did show a need for a greater variety of options in attack. They'll benefit from a bit of extra vitality in the short term and regeneration in the long term: James Collins (33), Nathaniel Mendez-Laing (31) and Tom Barkhuizen (30) are not a young front line.
So, here comes the most prolific dribbler in League One to liven things up. Corey Blackett-Taylor should suit Paul Warne nicely as a direct, physical, relentless winger who is content to cut inside and shoot. A lot.