For much of the autumn and early winter of 2017, the deficiencies in the Dunfermline midfield were highlighted and discussed (including on this site), due to a glaring lack of athleticism and mobility, in addition to players being shoe-horned into central midfield having spent their careers up to that point playing as strikers or wingers. Following the unfortunate injury to Aaron Splaine (who was never a first choice player in any case), the club was left with one actual central midfielder - Big Nat - supplemented by Dean Shiels and Michael Paton. These players all have ability but as a combination were easily outpaced and bypassed by opposition teams.
This was corrected in the January transfer window when Allan Johnston brought in 3 new central midfielders - 2 on loan (Tom Beadling and James Vincent) and James Craigen, signed after being released by Falkirk. Although it has already become something of a myth that the team's results improved instantly - this did not happen - once the new players bedded in, they were instrumental in the unbeaten run that propelled the Pars into what at one point had seemed an unlikely play-off position.
Beadling - his Sunderland contract now ended - was signed permanently at the end of the season, as was Craigen. Vincent was still under contract to Dundee for a further year and although it was clear that both he and Johnston wanted to be reunited for the following season, weeks passed without a deal being done. Dunfermline then brought in Willo Flood (the least said about how that ended, the better) but when Flood exited, Vincent was brought back to EEP and confirmed on a 1 year loan deal yesterday. This is excellent business, in stark contrast to last summer's midfield transfer dealings. Vincent now joins Beadling and Craigen to reunite the trio, with new signing Joe Thomson also in the central midfield mix. It's also refreshing to bring in players such as Vincent who want to be at Dunfermline - the club is a good fit for him and he was always positive about his time as a Par last season.
For another take on the Vincent deal, please see Ben's video below, posted yesterday on his YouTube channel, which you can subscribe to here.