Monday, 25 July 2022

Strikers Needed!

Less than a week to go before the season kicks off. How is the team shaping up in what for owner Thomas Sandgaard at least is a very critical one?

Not great is my immediate view. The summer has seen quite a turnover in players with more going out than coming in. Ironically, given the current industrial unrest we seem to be the only ones unable to attract any strikers!

Burstow, Washington and Davison have all departed with no one coming in to replace them.

Having known we’d still be in the third tier well before the end of last season, I fail to see why we have not addressed this. After all, we knew Burstow and Washington were going before we kicked off against Ipswich in the final game.

Sandgaard made much of not repeating the recruitment errors of the previous summer but here we are again looking desperate in our need to get at least one attacked through the door.

Surely we had identified several players but we haven’t secured anyone. This may be down to Thomas being reluctant to spend a realistic amount of money to do so. After all, we haven’t spent a penny on any player in this window.

Garner has stated that we may well not get anyone in before the end of the transfer window. What preparation is that!

The best and in fact (due to Aneke’s injury) only striker we have striker we have seems uncomfortable in the gaffer’s preferred formation.

That we have failed to score in the games against Sutton and Swansea (you can’t count an O.G.) is a real cause for concern.

As promising as Miles Leaburn is and we all, particularly those of us who recall his dad’s playing days with great affection, want him to succeed. However, it’s unrealistic to expect him to play week in and week out. He needs to be played sparingly.

I hope that he and Kanu aren’t viewed as cheap options when neither is fully ready for full campaign in the League One.

Whilst I think Garner’s desired style of play is admirable and when successfully deployed will be pretty on the eye, it does need to right personnel.

Man City and Liverpool etc. are successful with it but they do have rather good players that are capable of implementing it. What I’ve seen several times frightens the life out of me and we look likely to give the ball away all too easily in and around the box.

There are some big clubs in this division again this season but we probably couldn’t have wished for a tougher start than Accrington away. Without doubt they will press and harry us all over the pitch.

If we are serious about challenging up the top of the table then we need a good start. Devoid of the firepower up front that seems unlikely.

Should things go really Pete Tong then Sandgaard will come under greater scrutiny than he has been afforded to date. He recruited Garner and has a lot to say on the style of play and promised much in return.

Both he and Martin are playing massive parts in the recruitment too. The buck stops with him if it doesn't work. He would need to explain why his much lauded son has not been able to deliver.

I hope my negativity is misplaced as we so need to vastly improve on the pitch and we all need to be cheered up by the distraction that our club is!


  1. As a fan I have a sense that this season will be difficult. In the close season we have appointed a new manager and led by the owner adopted a football philosophy which I cannot see bringing anything other than mid-table ups and downs. We are not Liverpool who have the time and money to indulge and build a side but a League 1 team looking to get promoted. Pragmatism is the name of the game or so it should be. I have supported the team since 1968 and in all that time we have never been known as a team that plays negative football. This new philosophy is trying to fix a problem that does not exist.

    All fans know that in order to get promoted a few maxims apply:

    1. Concede as few goals as possible ( last year Rotherham only conceded 34 in League. We conceded 59).

    2. Have forwards that can take one chance when it presents itself and who also can head the ball. We have a potent centre forward who thrives on balls into the box in the air. This new way of playing will not play to his strengths. Jason has only scored one goal in warm up matches which is not an encouraging sign.

    3. Have at least 3 good forwards. We have one. Chuks could be a second but he is injury prone and not able to offer 20 games a season let alone more . We have not so far strengthened this part of the team. Relying on young 18 year old Academy players to fill positions is not sustainable over a season especially playing two games a week and when winter weather takes its toll on pitches and fitness levels.Young players need time and have to encouraged and managed.

    Ben Garner was not first choice this summer to replace Jacko and yet now he is held up as the manifestation of a philosophy that from his track record has delivered nothing other than some statistical trends that show possession football and playing out from the back let's in a fair few goals and does not deliver promotion. I fear once we meet the hardened pragmatism of teams such as Sheffield Wednesday, Ipswich, Bolton the wheels will come off and Ben Garner will be gone by November.

    Sorry to be negative at the start of a new season but I wanted to get this off my chest

    1. Anon, agree with all you say. Like you I'm trying not to be negative but at the same time one has to be realistic. Stockley is recognised as one of, if not the best striker, in the league and yet, as you say we are not playing to his strengths. I really hope Sandgaard isn't pinning his hopes on Kanu and Leaburn, that's not realistic or fair on them. I can't believe that Gallen didn't have short list of strikers back in May. Why the hell haven't managed to secure at least one of them? Your view of the teams you mention is spot on and like Accrington on Saturday they know what getting results in this league is all about.

  2. I disagree on one thing to sign a player on a free contract you have to pay them a fee but not like millions sorry to say sangaard does not want to spend money another con merchant must have made on 2 mill on 3 players being sold on and then loans he taken out really

    1. Anon, fair point but one assumes not as much as a transfer fee. Sandgaard's apparent reluctance to spend is a concern. I do wonder how committed he is and the ongoing saga of not owning the Valley and training ground enhances that concern.