Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Time to Ponder

I have stood back from posting of late as others have provided excellent asessments and time has been tight (and it was good to have the opportunity to assess these new players over a longer sequence of games). Here are a few views to date:

Hamer: not sure as yet: not doing too bad a job. Sullivan should not be forgotten and should challenge for a spot. (Pity Randolph is not still around);
Solly: still a reasonably solid player and developing; but others’ fears about sides identifying him as a weak link in the air seem to be materialising.
Hughes: not the answer to challenge for full back; lacks speed. Seems to be a general purpose utility man cover. Francis should be challenging. I assume that we want to move him on (transfer or loan) because he is too expensive (rather than any falling out with the management??). Pity, he could add something to the side based on recent form;
Wiggins: skilful player / footballer but distribution patchy, and too lightweight. Will be found out once the pitches get heavier, and against better sides than we have played to date.
Evina; good acquisition but prob. has more attacking virtues than defensive capabilities (like Wiggins), one for the future.
Middle of Back Four: Still not sure about current pairing; Taylor and Morrison don’t clear the ball properly or are dominant in the air. Who is the better of the two?; any slips to date seem to have come from Morrison.
We are wrong to set aside Mambo for the future alone; he could be bloodied sooner than later.
Doherty: though statuesque on the ground, is certainly more dominant in the air (both in defence and at corners, where our new pairing have not threatened).

Hollands: key player; aggressive / combative but also has vision. Will turn in the more consistent performances in terms of breaking up attacks and creative play;
Stephens: highly talented creative player, but on the evidence of the Sheff Wed game may be bludgeoned out of games by hard tackling midfielders who have been briefed to snub him out as a major threat. Remains a key player but do not expect continuous runs of good form;
Green: should be a key player leaving Wagstaff, who still cannot deliver consistently a final ball or cross, to fulfil a “super sub” role of some sort;
Pritchard: could be a real find, a Keith Jones look-alike in appearance and style.
Alonso: have not seen; cannot comment; Harriott; an interesting one for the future, but may not make it this year?

Is Benson staying? odds seem on him moving, though if Green delivers he could yet surprise a few if he stays with just what he can do. Assuming he does go out on loan:
Hayes: I was lukewarm pre-season but came around to him over recent games but was ineffective last night. Most frustratingly of all, fits into the mould of strikers we have had over the years who, even if they have height, cannot get their feet off the ground to win headers or at least challenge for the ball (even though he did score the other week from a close range header). Apart from good runs at Scunthorpe has never been a prolific goal scorer.
Euell: another who makes limited effort to get off the ground (albeit he also scored from a close range header) and spends too much time backing into the opposition (as he did when he last played for us). I have a feeling he could fulfil a role slightly behind the front two, but others doubt whether he has the legs for it. Should not be relied upon as an alternative target man.
BWP; an undoubted scorer, if we can keep him fit. I have questioned to what extent he can contribute if the rest of the team is not playing well and he is not scoring (maybe that needs yet to be fully tested). However, I have revised my view as he has improved in his running, distribution and laying off. A vital payer, but dangerous to pin all hopes on him alone.
Conclusions: We have not yet been that tested, more difficult fixtures are in the pipeline (Sheff’ United, Hartlepool, Rochdale and Stevenage away in the short term) when the credentials of our defence and forward line in particular will be tested.
We need a good quality striker in on loan (can one be found?),;Francis restored and another full back, perhaps a more conventional tough tackling variety (in the mode of Young, Bonds, Warman, Brown of old or CP himslef).
Of course anything else the management can come up with without rocking the boat and team morale would be gladly accepted.

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