'Plenty of promise' - lowdown on former Doncaster Rovers man who is set to sign for Chesterfield

Chesterfield are understood to be closing is on the signing of defender Branden Horton.

By Liam Norcliffe
Tuesday, 14th June 2022, 11:54 am
Updated Tuesday, 14th June 2022, 11:55 am

As exclusively revealed by the Derbyshire Times this morning, the Spireites have held positive talks with the young left-back, 21, who is a free agent after being released by Doncaster Rovers.

We spoke to journalist Paul Goodwin, who covers Doncasters Rovers for Doncaster Free Press, to get the inside track on Town’s potential new signing…

Was it a surprise that he got released by Rovers?

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Branden Horton, pictured playing for Doncaster Rovers, has been in talks with Chesterfield over a move.

Yes and no to be honest. Branden had a difficult season - like the majority of players at Rovers - but may have felt more comfortable at League Two level. He would have also offered Rovers another left-sided option on a very modest wage. As it stands Rovers now have no out-and-out left back, which indicates that Gary McSheffrey feels he can bring in an upgrade on Horton this summer.

Why do you think it hasn't worked out for him at Rovers?

Timing, possibly. He's been thrust into a struggling, losing team over the last 18 months at a club on a dramatic downward spiral. That is something a lot of young players would struggle with. He'll probably admit himself, though, that he didn't really do himself justice with some of his performances last season.

How did he cope in League One?

He got his chance during the back end of the 2020/21 season and showed plenty of promise. Last season he again showed flashes going forward - chipping in with three goals and a couple of assists - but defensively he was found wanting on too many occasions. The better sides with quality right wingers would often target him. He had a torrid time up against Kieran Sadlier in the defeat at Rotherham for instance.

Do you think he will be able to cut it in the National League?

Yes, I think that's probably the right level for him right now. He only needs to look at how Danny Amos, another former Rovers academy left back, has performed at Grimsby Town for a little bit of inspiration. It's a good move for him. A decent level and a realistic chance to get back in the EFL.

What would you say are his best attributes?

His athleticism, balance and ability to get forward. He did show last season he can pop up with a goal or assist.

What does he need to improve on?

The defensive side of his game, positionally, as well as smelling and reacting to danger. He also needs to stick his chest out and believe in himself a bit more.

What formation do you think best suits him? In a flat back four or wing-back?

He can do either but at Rovers he was more exposed at left back and benefited more at wing back with more defensive cover behind him.

It sounds like he is a bit versatile as well?

A few times he filled in at centre back and did okay actually. McSheffrey also tried him on the left wing which was understandable in a way but it wasn't something he persisted with.

Do you think he has got the potential to make it back to the Football League?

There is a player in there somewhere but Branden now needs to knuckle down, kick on and show what he's capable of. Time will tell, but a move to Chesterfield - which is also still close to home - is a good platform for him.