Our striking dilemma –
Well, I’m still on my holidays, but I am back in the United Kingdom.
Sadly I did miss out the Real Madrid, Coventry and Rotherham United games, so I’m still whinging and bitter about it all. But hopefully you won’t hear any more about it. I’ve returned and I feel better for it. After yesterday’s game I feel I chose the wrong time to come back.
Well, I couldn’t go another week without missing the opportunity to use my title above. I’m not obsessed, having used something similar last year. It amuses me.
But getting back to the underlying subject matter.
After an emphatic performance against Rotherham in the League Cup, scoring an excellent hat trick both fans and manager were put in the awkward position of wondering whether Schlupp should play a part in our first home game against Reading. Well we all now know what Sven’s decision was in the end. But was it the right one?
Schlupp is undoubtedly a young talent, and if he continues his fast progress we could well have an excellent player on our hands. However, as I write this I am thinking it was the right decision and the wrong decision at the same time.
There’s no way the confidence that was gained from the Cup game wouldn’t be on his mind going into game, but the step up, the expectation, and the opposition would be a heavy burden and difficult task to bear for a young player. Do I think this has done him some damage to his confidence? Probably not, but it has only emphasised more so the need for a proper experienced forward in our side.
It could be argued that we have Vassell and more so Nugent so we already have this attacking force, and Waghorn can play beside them in a 4-4-2, or take up the reigns himself given the chance, and the goals will flow once he gains his confidence back.
Then there’s Waghorn. I’ve been patient with Waghorn. I like his enthusiasm and was one of the fans who was excited and pleased with his signing, though I felt we over paid for his acquisition.
After his signing, he didn’t produce. I put this down to lack of time on the pitch, with other strikers doing the business ahead of him, keeping him on the bench, and perhaps the expectation and pressure of the price tag hanging above his head. Maybe he was trying too hard to please, and needed to calm down a little and things would become better.
For me though, the argument that he has not had enough time to produce, and find his feet is as tired and frustrating as watching him on the pitch. He snatches at shots, sending them sailing into the stratosphere, and whoever lets him take corners or free kicks really does need to their head examined. Maybe he is exceptional in training, and he just buckles under pressure in a match…everytime.
So if we take Waghorn out of the equation, who does that leave?
Well Howard is not capable of playing a full competitive 90mins, and when he does come on as a substitute, it becomes pretty obvious what style of football we will be reverting to, and with the way we generally play, to change that during a match to a negative form of attack, then the opposition can generally cope with this.
Anyone who thinks Gallagher can fit the forward mould might be very disappointed should he partake in that position more than say, one game. He lacks strength and any pace. In an emergency yes. Regularly hell no.
So that leaves us with the long list of players we’ve been linked to publically in the media (in no particular order): Craig Mackail-Smith, Robbie Keane, Nicky Maynard, Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Victor Anichebe, Ched Evans, Shane Long, Chong Tae-Se, & Ishmael Miller.
Now the reasons for not signing these have been varied. From signing for someone else in the Prem/CCC, to wage/value issues, to total mystery rejections, all the way to going to Hollywood as the wife says so.
Where does that leave us? Pretty frustrated. However, good strikers are like good goalies, if you have a good one you’ll hold on to them, and if you have to sell you’ll look for the most amount possible, as they’ll not be easily replaced. Look how Leeds are getting on without Kasper Schmeichel.
For example Bristol City will suffer without Maynard, undoubtedly if he goes, but the longer they leave in hope for a Premiership suitor to come in for him, the less time they will have to replace him, and the money from the extravagant fee will be pointless, literally.
Can we expect a loan player coming down to us to provide what we need? Only time will tell.
Do we need a winger in on loan or bought in? We lack a player who now can run the wings and provide that telling cross into the box. Lloyd Dyer has the pace, but his tendency to drift in the centre and then eventually lose possession. His crosses are woeful, and once a decent defender has worked him out, then pace his pace is his only strength.
All of the teams that were promoted last season had excellent wingers capable of providing that cross or all important pass. We are desperately missing that ingredient, and in my view we could really do with searching for that type of player, even if we have to go abroad to bring the obscure to the club. As long as they don’t come from Hungary of course!
The next weeks are going to be interesting. How we cope without a clinical finisher up front, and how we go about our business bringing one in.
More frustration and anticipation to look forward to then. More action and over-reaction too methinks.
Let me know what your thoughts are.
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