Best buys

There were plenty of moves in the January window but only some players look like making a major impact for their new club both in the long and short-term. Nick Hext looks at some of the more eyebrow-raising transfers from the Football League.

Kevin Phillips: Has followed Ian Holloway to Selhurst Park


Chris Wood (West Brom to Leicester, undisclosed)

Chris Wood: Loving life at Leicester

By far the easiest of the top picks from any of the divisions. Wood has already scored seven goals for the Foxes with a double on his debut in the 6-1 victory over Huddersfield on New Year's Day continuing straight on from a fabulous loan spell at Millwall. The striker bagged 11 goals during his time at the Lions for the first half of the season and that was more than enough to persuade Nigel Pearson to add the New Zealand international to his squad. Expect the 21-year-old to carry on finding the back of the net for the rest of the campaign and that should be enough to take Leicester to promotion and more than justify an outlay of around £1million to West Brom for the 21-year-old.

Jeremy Helan (Manchester City to Sheffield Wednesday, loan)

This loan return is an unexpected boost for Wednesday after boss Dave Jones was resigned to the midfielder making a permanent switch to Watford. That deal didn't happen and the Owls refused to wait as the Frenchman arrived back at Hillsborough before the end of the transfer window. Helan impressed during his 16 appearances in his initial spell in Yorkshire and can do more as he bids to help the club avoid relegation to League One.

Kevin Phillips (Blackpool to Crystal Palace, loan)

Wilfried Zaha attracted plenty of headlines during January before his deal to join Manchester United at the end of the season was agreed but could an old timer be the man to fire the Eagles to the Premier League? Phillips said "maybe I'll have another year in the Premier League" after arriving at Selhurst Park and Ian Holloway is certainly the man to get the best out of the 39-year-old after the pair enjoyed plenty of success together at Blackpool. The former England international has only scored two goals during the current campaign but his goal threat remains and that will be crucial for Palace at the business end of the season.

Matthew Upson (Stoke to Brighton, loan)

Remember back to the last World Cup when England were knocked out in the last 16 with a convincing 4-1 defeat against Germany? Nine of England's starting XI that day find themselves still playing for Liverpool (Glen Johnson and Steven Gerrard), Chelsea (Ashley Cole, John Terry and Frank Lampard), Manchester City (Gareth Barry and James Milner), Manchester United (Wayne Rooney) and Tottenham (Jermain Defoe), while 42-year-old goalkeeper David James is now in what must be the final stages of his career at Bournemouth. The missing man is Matthew Upson, who scored the Three Lions' goal in the Bloemfontein defeat, and he now finds himself at Brighton after just two appearances for Stoke this season. Seagulls boss Gus Poyet says the chance to sign players of the 33-year-old's quality doesn't "come along very often" in the Championship and it's now up to Upson to prove a point following a period out of the spotlight.

Best of the rest: Ross Barkley (Everton to Leeds, loan); Dwight Gayle (Dagenham to Peterborough, undisclosed); Lee Evans (Newport to Wolves, undisclosed

League One

Matt Ritchie (Swindon to Bournemouth, £500,000)

Matt Ritchie: Has swapped Swindon for Bournemouth

Ritchie was the best player in League Two last year and his reputation as a star performer in League One has already been made. Bournemouth were told to pay £2million for the winger in 2012 so it can't be argued that signing him for £500,000 as Swindon restructure their finances is an absolutely cracking bit of business. The deal certainly hasn't pleased Robins boss Paolo Di Canio but Bournemouth, already in scintillating shape since manager Eddie Howe's return to the club, will feel the benefits and promotion to the Championship looks likely.

Paddy Madden (Carlisle to Yeovil, undisclosed)

It's fair to say Madden is finding life much more to his liking at Yeovil than he ever did at Carlisle. The Irishman managed just a couple of goals during his couple of seasons at Brunton Park but his loan spell in Somerset reinvigorated him and now a permanent deal should ensure the good times continue. The striker has been bang in form recently, seven goals in his last four games more than proves that, and he's spoken recently of the Glovers' bid to finish in the play-offs. That is still possible and so is the 22-year-old's bid to finish the campaign as League One's top goalscorer.

Nicky Ajose (Peterborough to Bury, loan

Ajose topped my list as the top signing in League One last January but it's fair to say that selection didn't work out - his time at Chesterfield saw the forward make 12 appearances with the return of just one goal. Now he's left Peterborough on loan again, following time with Crawley earlier this term, and already has a terrific reputation at Bury. The 21-year-old scored 13 goals to help the Shakers win promotion to League Two in the 2010/11 campaign and he's already up and running during this spell with a strike in Saturday's 2-0 win over promotion contenders Doncaster. Bury need him to shine as there is a long way to go in the battle to avoid the drop.

Ben Chorley (Leyton Orient to Stevenage, free)

Stevenage boss Gary Smith has done a very canny bit of business to add Chorley to the centre of his defence. The 30-year-old has signed a two-and-a-half-year deal at Broadhall Way and his vast Football League experience will be a big plus for The Boro during that time. Leyton Orient are sure to miss the former Tranmere and MK Dons man and it will be interesting to see whether his new or old employers enjoy the better end to the season in the third tier.

Best of the rest: Leon Clarke (Charlton to Coventry, free); Jamie Murphy (Motherwell to Sheffield United, free); Chuks Aneke (Arsenal to Crawley, loan)

League Two

Cody McDonald (Coventry to Gillingham, loan)

Cody McDonald: Popular at Priestfield

A bit like Ajose, McDonald is a player back at a club where he has plenty of good memories. The 26-year-old scored 26 goals in 41 games for Gillingham during the 2010/11 season and that helped persuade Coventry to sign him from Norwich. His time at the Ricoh Arena hasn't quite gone to plan, although not much has for the Sky Blues in recent years, but returning to Priestfield should see the goal-getter prove his qualities once again. Two goals in his first two games back in Kent proved his quality in League Two and the race for the title remains very much on despite Monday night's surprise 1-0 defeat against Wycombe.

Ryan Brunt (Stoke to Bristol Rovers, undisclosed)

Bristol Rovers are in much better shape following three wins on the spin and there's no doubt Brunt's arrival has played a key part in the revival. Arriving after the 3-0 victory over Fleetwood, the striker has already made a big impact with the winner in last Friday's 2-1 win against fellow strugglers Barnet. Three points at Rotherham on the 19-year-old's debut sandwiched those two games and boss John Ward will be hoping his "old-fashioned centre forward" can pull the Pirates further clear of relegation danger.

Jamille Matt (Kidderminster to Fleetwood, undisclosed)

A fee of around £300,000 is a heck of an outlay for a club in League Two but I fully expect Fleetwood to recoup that money and a little bit more when Matt eventually moves on. A break between February and November because of work-permit issues certainly didn't seem to affect the striker when he returned to action with eight goals in eight league games for Kidderminster. The Conference club will be better off for the fee they received but his goals will be missed in the battle for promotion to the Football League. It will now be interesting to see if he makes the difference in what could be a battle to finish third in League Two behind Port Vale and Gillingham.

Chris Hussey (Coventry to AFC Wimbledon, free)

Hussey, like Cody McDonald, is another player making a return to a former employer in League Two after time with Coventry. The full-back made 31 appearances for the Sky Blues in the Championship last season but hadn't been a first-choice this term since Mark Robins' arrival at the club. The 24-year-old enjoyed success during his initial time at AFC Wimbledon in the Conference and his return can only be a good thing in what is a very tight battle to avoid relegation.

Best of the rest: Jason Taylor (Rotherham to Cheltenham, free); Byron Harrison (AFC Wimbledon to Cheltenham, undisclosed); Asa Hall (Shrewsbury to Aldershot, loan)