Monday, 27 August 2007

Goal Poacher Needed!

It's probably a bit naïve to be yearning for a goal-sniffer up front; after all, just about every team wants one. However, I can't help thinking that with a little more predatory behaviour in the box we'd have got off to a flyer this season!
That's not meant as a criticism of the current front two though. Neil Roberts has been as robust as ever up front, battling off all-comers and striving manfully to bring others into play, while Michael Proctor has already been hitting the net as well as showing all his usual qualities. Proctor is already a cult hero at The Racecourse, and quite rightly. His enthusiasm is endearing, but he also shows flashes of the quality which established him as a Premiership player with Sunderland, most obviously in the superb service he provided Matty Done with last Saturday.
The thing is, I see both Proctor ad Roberts as the sort of strikers a fox-in-the-box would love to feed off. They're both intelligent and creative, possessing the vision to spot movement and the touch to feed runners something they can run onto without checking their stride. The fact that they've scored all our goals this season is great, but if somehow we could get someone feeding off them we'd be laughing.
I admit I'm sounding rather naïve now. How do you accommodate these two and a goal poacher in the same side? I sound like I'm just calling for Brian Carey to pack his side with eleven strikers on the basis that we're bound to score lots of goals then, like a five-year-old or Kevin Keegan might reason. However, I was one of the few people who found the 4-3-3 experiment against Liverpool to be promising. I admit the way we chased shadows in the first half of that match wasn't too hopeful, and coloured most people's views of the system, but I'd like to point out that it was the same system which enabled us to win the second half 2-0 against a Liverpool side which was green but still packed with talent.
Of course the main beneficiary of that style of play was Eifion Williams, and I'd like to see what he makes of playing in a more central role. He looks sharp to me, and his strike rate suggests he's the most likely goalscorer Carey currently has available to him.
His next league goal will be his seventy-fifth, having scored more goals than anyone else in Carey's squad by some distance, as the next men in the list are Roberts, Llewellyn and Proctor on forty-eight, forty-four and forty-one goals respectively.
Williams' strike rate is better than the other three as well, so there's logic in playing the percentages and putting him in the middle.
Of course, it wasn't by accident that I said Williams is the most likely goalscorer available to Carey currently. It's not really healthy to speculate on the effect Juan Ugarte could make on League Two defences. After all, we've been asking that question for over a year now, so it's best to give him every chance to get fit again. However, when I saw the ball rolling time and time again across the face of goal at Darlington, Port Vale and Bradford I couldn't help yearning for the Basque to be making a typical run into the six-yard box. Roberts and Proctor are both fine strikers, but they're not that type of striker.
Even against Morecambe we missed chances in a tremendous first half performance. The fact that we hung on for a win rather deflected attention from the fact that we should have been three or four up at half time with the game already over.
There is another option, though. Jamie Reed is a player who has consistently scored goals at reserve level, and I wouldn't mind seeing him given a go at some point. He has looked lively when he's come on as a sub and missed a couple of six-yard box chances to win the game at Darlington last season. He might not have hit the net, but at least he was making the runs into those sorts of areas, and I'd like to bet he'd start putting them in give an extended run. Admittedly he's on loan toAberyswyth at the moment, but he's sing that opportunity to show that no matter where he goes he scores goals; did you notice that last weekend he scored a hat trick in a 5-1 win at T.N.S.? No mean feat! I never felt convinced by Andy Morrell when he first broke into the team; his endeavour and enthusiasm were undoubted, but he looked to lack a bit of class to me. However, he had scored consistently in the reserves and the Welsh Premier Cup, and eventually that innate ability to stick the ball in the net showed through in the Football League, with spectacular results. I reckon Red could well be on the same sort of career path.

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