Sunday, 30 December 2007
When Steve Evans went into attack against Rochdale we did make the ball stick a bit more up front; there were flicks an alert striker could latch onto (let me know if you find one!)
It was good in a way to see someone up front who might actually win some of the long stuff we've resorted to pumping up the pitch for the last couple of years, and there might be mileage in the tactic, but it's merely a sticking plaster rather than a solution to the problem of our total lack of creativity. I'd like to see how Proctor and Roberts would fare with a bit of decent service.
A couple of weeks ago I speculated about whether the type of raw, aggressive target man we had in Jim Steel in the Eighties was extinct. I don't think they are, on reflection, and I'd love to see Brian Little find one. There was speculation in the summer that we were after John Murphy, who went to Chester. He'd do the job, I reckon, but then anyone who can discomfort centre backs and keep the ball in the other side's box a bit more would be a big step in the right direction.
He doesn't have to be six foot three, although I think that would help! We only have to remember Andy Morrell to realise that a striker can get under defenders' skin to great effect without being huge. While we naturally remember his goalscoring exploits in the 2002-3 season most clearly; don't forget that he established himself in the side as a willing lieutenant for apparently more potent finishers.
When Lee Trundle was tearing it up during his spectacular opening spell as a Wrexham player, it was Morrell's enthusiastic running which distracted the defenders and helped to make him look good, while Lee Jones was quick to credit Morrell after his record-equalling five goal salvo against Cambridge United.
In term of style the closest we have to Morrell is Marc Williams, but I'm not sure I want to see him over-used this season. That's no comment on his ability as I suspect he has the potential to be a very good player for us. However, I feel he's at the stage of his career where he'd be best served by getting carefully-regulated exposure to senior football rather than being lobbed in at the deep end and charged with saving our bacon. We have no right to demand so much from him when more experienced players have failed to do the job, and putting pressure on him after every goalless game, replacing him in desperation if he can't swiftly come up with the goods, or subjecting him to the fans' frustrations could damage his development.
No, we need the new Jim Steel, and we need him now!