Winger Jason Banton boosts Plymouth Argyle
MANAGER John Sheridan hopes new recruit Jason Banton will bring some excitement to Plymouth Argyle.
Sheridan believes the 21-year-old winger (below) who has arrived on a one-month loan from Championship club Crystal Palace, has the pace to stretch opposition defences and make Argyle more of an attacking threat.
Banton will train with his new team-mates for the first time today as the Pilgrims' squad prepare for the game against Dagenham and Redbridge at Home Park tomorrow (3pm).
His arrival has coincided with the departure of left-back Robbie Williams and striker Rhys Griffiths, who have both had their Argyle contracts terminated by mutual consent.
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Banton signed for Palace at the end of October after a trial period and made his debut for them in a 0-0 draw at home to Stoke City in a FA Cup third round tie on January 5.
He was a second half substitute for former Pilgrims' winger Yannick Bolasie.
Banton had spells in the youth set-ups at Arsenal and Blackburn Rovers before signing for Liverpool in January 2011. He then completed a move to Leicester City on a one-year contract that summer.
He did not play for Leicester, however, and appeared once as a substitute for Burton Albion during a short loan spell in October 2011.
Sheridan said: "Jason has been at some really good clubs. I have seen clips of him, and spoken to one or two people who know him, and he can be a very exciting player.
"I thought it was important we got a player who is going to gain us that ground, 30 or 40 yards on up the pitch, quickly. He will get at people.
"He was involved in the (Palace) first team against Stoke only a couple of weeks ago. He's highly recommended and, hopefully, he's going to excite us, give everyone a lift, and play at a good tempo."
Banton, a former England under-17 international, is the sixth signing made by Sheridan since he was appointed as Argyle manager on January 6.
He has followed Ronan Murray, Guy Branston, Gozie Ugwu, Anthony Charles and Reuben Reid into Home Park.
Although the January transfer window closed at 11pm last night, Football League clubs can resume making loan signings from February 7.
Banton has scored three goals in 12 games for Palace's 'development side' this season.
His loan spell with Argyle is up to and including the visit of Barnet to Home Park on Saturday, March 2, a period covering six games.
Banton will wear the number 19 shirt after it was vacated by winger Joe Lennox, whose contract with the Pilgrims officially ended yesterday.
Lennox, on social media site twitter, said: "Thank you to the fans and everyone at #PAFC for the support they gave me. Had such a good time there! All the best for the future! #GreatClub."
Williams and Griffiths both parted company with Argyle after Sheridan told them they did not figure in his first team plans.
Each of them had deals with the Pilgrims until the end of the season.
Williams made 44 starts and two substitute appearances for Argyle, and scored five goals, after signing as a free agent in July 2011.
Griffiths was signed by former manager Carl Fletcher from Welsh Premier League club Port Talbot Town last summer after a short trial period.
He put his career as a firefighter in South Wales on hold to take up the chance of playing professional football for the first time.
Griffiths struggled to stay fit, however, making seven starts and 10 substitute appearances for Argyle, and scoring three goals.
Both he and Williams are now free agents and can sign for anyone they choose.
Sheridan said: "It's not a nice thing to tell people, but it's totally for the benefit of the lads. They are both experienced players and I don't think it's right for them to be sitting around at their stage of their careers.
"Hopefully, they will go and get somewhere else, which I'm sure they will. I have just got to look at what is going to be good for us.
"Having too many bodies and people not really doing anything is something I don't really need, and I don't think the players need it."
Sheridan has plenty of cover at left-back even after the departure of Williams, with Onismor Bhasera and Charles both capable of filling that role.
The Pilgrims' boss revealed there had been no inquiries for Bhasera, despite the Zimbabwe international being linked with Shrewsbury, Walsall and Northampton earlier in the month.
Sheridan also admitted he had been impressed by 16-year-old apprentice left-back Ben Purrington when he played for an Argyle XI in a friendly away to Saltash United on Wednesday.