• Dan Carter


Bristol City youngster James Morton joins Gillingham on loan for the remainder of the season.

Gillingham left it late on transfer deadline day to announce the signing of Bristol City midfielder James Morton on a loan deal until the end of the season.

The midfielder is a product of the Robin’s academy and made his first team debut this season in Carabao Cup in the 2-0 first round win over Exeter City.

With previous loan spells at Chippenham Town, Bath City, Forest Green Rovers and Grimsby Town the midfielder has experience beyond his years.

His time at Forest Green was his most successful making 17 appearances, assisting twice from midfield, catching the eye of then manager Lee Johnson often.

His most recent loan to Grimsby didn’t quite work out as expected, teaming up with Ian Holloway’s side in League Two only to make seven appearances with four starts.

There he was outshone by fellow City academy prospect Owura Edwards with both players being recalled after the sacking of Holloway and both have since made appearances on Dean Holden’s bench.

He’ll join up with Steve Evans’ side and he’ll have a familiar face in the dressing room as another City loanee Robbie Cundy is also on loan with the Gills until the end of the season.

The midfield is hard to break into at the Championship side, with new signing Henri Lansbury adding extra competition and almost single-handedly preventing any involvement for Morton this season.

However, Morton will recognise the opportunity he’s faced with, both Tyreeq Bakinson and Zak Vyner have found places in the Robin’s midfield since loans to lower leagues.

A few Gillingham fans seem underwhelmed by the signing, with most believing they require a striker rather a midfielder, a position they are already strong in.

There appear to be at least 10 players capable of playing in the centre of midfield for Evans’ side and the decision to bring in Morton only exaggerates this selection headache.

There was almost a second midfield outgoing from Ashton Gate, with the Robins attempting to sign Birmingham left back Kristian Pedersen, with Han-Noah Massengo possibly heading the other way.

But this didn’t come to fruition, meaning it was a quiet transfer deadline day for Holden and CEO Mark Ashton despite plenty of rumours heading into the final hours.

Senegalese frontman Famara Diedhiou’s link to Middlesbrough didn’t go anywhere, and the suggested replacement Britt Assombalonga reportedly had no genuine interest behind it.

This leaves Holden’s side slightly stronger than it was prior to the transfer window, with the recall of Kasey Palmer and signing of Lansbury adding another dimension to the attacking ranks in BS3.