AARON Nell admits the gap left behind by departed import Jonas Hoog is a tough one to fill, but has backed replacement Tomasz Malasinski to step up and deliver this season.
Hoog has moved back to Sweden after four years at the Link Centre, during which he was widely regarded as the best player in the EPL thanks to his prolific partnership with Nell which saw the duo lead the league in goals and points.
Polish international Malasinski is the man charged with filling the gap and, while Nell knows he’s not a direct replacement for Hoog, the Brit has backed his new partner to produce the goods.
“We’ve got a few new players and change is always good,” Nell said.
“Tomasz has been here a little while now and he seems to like it which is good, and I think he’s going to be a good player for us.
“Jonas has left and Tomasz is very different and also a better player in different ways.
“Jonas was great and his few years here he was the best player in the league, but in sport people move on and teams move on because nothing lasts forever.
“Just because Jonas has left doesn’t mean we are going to be any less good, we have Tomasz and Jan (Kostal) too who has taken that role as top import now. They are different players to Jonas but they are very good players so we’re very happy.”
Cats head coach Ryan Aldridge looked into signing Malasinski last season but eventually opted to bring in Jan Kostal, with Nell now pleased to have both alongside him at the Link Centre.
“Tomasz is a big lad who’s played for the Polish national team, and Ryan was weighing things up over him over him. The Polish national team beat GB this year, we would take a GB international so we feel like he’s going to be a massive plus for us,” he said.
“Ryan went to Poland last year to watch him but ended up getting Jan, but it’s worked out well now because we’ve got both Ryan’s targets in and he’s very happy with it.
“His English isn’t great and he’s a bit shy so we need to get that out of him, so I’m sure he’ll be fine after a few months.”
Cats begin their season at home to Chelmsford in the new look cup competition this evening before getting their league campaign underway tomorrow night in Manchester.