Centre back: Barry Hunter
The Northern Ireland international centre back has been brought in on loan from Reading, probably to cover for the suspended Rob Newman. He cost £400 000 when Reading signed him from Wrexham in July 1996. He is the nephew of former Ipswich Town and Irish international defender Alan Hunter and ex-Newcastle United keeper Iam McFaul.
Two broken legs hampered his early career and he was 24 when he joined Wrexham from Crusaders for £50,000 in August 1993. He made an immediate impact at Reading, replacing former Elm Park favourite Adrian Williams as club captain, but missed the end of the 1996/97 season and the whole of 1997/98 season with a knee injury.
Matthew Weir comments on Hunter's first game for the Shrimpers:
Hunter is not a bad player but he is not what we needed. He is tall and a good tackler, but he has less pace than we've already got at the back if that is possible and he isn't a passer of the ball. We've already got 7 or 8 centre-halves in any case. The signing to me is reminiscent of Martin signing the over-weight dustman last season to fill a one match void when replacements already existed. What must David Morley feel? (He, night-Maher and Livett— obviously dropped because there is no point in a set-piece specialist without Newman— all went to the pub and were still there at least 15 minutes before kick-off).
It is reported that Lawrie McMenemy is seriously considering using Barry in Northern Ireland's European Championship qualifying game against Germany on 21st March so long as he has had enough match practice by then.
I've settled in at Southend and [am] really getting to grips with it, including solid tackling. I've set that German visit as my target. Now I'm in with a chance of achieving it.
© Luke Bosman Monday, 23 April 2007 at 21:11:08
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