Ah, 2014. Already giving us losses and putting your editor on a sickbed. Still, at least it’s been better than 2013 thus far…
The transfer window is open, and we’ve already made a loan signing – welcome (for now) to Charlie Wyke, from deepest Smoggyland. A young striker, which right now we need pretty much immediately.
He’s obviously quite highly rated, and Hartlepool thought he was League One standard last season. Even if they, er, weren’t in the end. According to the OS, he can go straight into Wycombe tomorrow, he’s not costing us a lot, and perhaps intriguingly the headline says he’s here on an initial month deal.
According to NA, he’s also an out-and-out striker, which helps. And the point that has been made in the past on here and elsewhere still remains – if you’ve been given a pro contract by a Championship club after coming through their ranks, you obviously have to be a bit good.
Actually, reading the Boro website profile on him, it seems that being:
A very adaptable player … A very good technician with a sound football brain, he is able to adjust his game according to the circumstances to pose a threat in any of those forward positions.
Is an archetypal NA-esque type signing. Those wanting an Akinfenwa human wrecking ball type will have to put aside their sloganised t-shirt money away a bit longer.
Also, it appears that he’s been a pro there since 2011, and (like Michael Smith) his pro deal ends this summer. Perhaps he’s here to play for a deal as much as he is to get us out of the striking hole we’re in right now?
And it is a hole. Since your editor’s last game, at Brizzle Rovers, we’ve managed to score just one goal. And that was from a player who’s gone back to SE London.
A couple more goals here and there since then, and we wouldn’t have lost at Daggers (by the sound of it), or be put in the position we found ourselves in against Plymouth (by the sound of it).
Our forward line is to this season what our back line was last time out. The latter is a lot more solid these days, thank fuck, but it’s clear we need something new and different now.
That’s why I’m not massively bothered about Wyke being a promising youngster – our main goalscorer this campaign was one as well, and it’s our more experienced goalscorers who have let us down this season.
It’s far more important for Wyke to find the net in actual games, rather than being somebody with a longer CV. How many times have we been let down by the latter? Jason Euell, Byron Harrison, Grazioli are three that have had better reputations, yet singularly failed to make much impression.
We’ve seen the return on loan of Mo recently, and he just seems to be a waste of a wage given how much he’s changed things. And needless to say, our “proper” strikeforce of Midson and Sheringham should be sued under the Trade Descriptions Act…
You have to think if there’s going to be more goings on with the forward line. Wyke coming is obviously partly covering our bases if Smith doesn’t return (which IMO he won’t – I reckon he’ll do a Mambo and go on loan to a L1 club before disappearing off the face of the earth).
If our current top scorer did return, presumably for the rest of the season, and our newbie remains with us too, that’s practically a new strikeforce there.
There are so many unanswered questions though, and we’re only at the 3rd January. Will there be another loanee coming in up front? Or even a permanent one? I’ve no doubt the management would love a Gary Alexander type to return, though perhaps not the man himself.
We can forget about Brennan Dickenson returning, although anyone who remembers the Meet The Manager shindig last July would have felt a sense of deja vu in reading those comments.
But even so, that just proves that with him replacing Smith (for now?), and Dickenson even getting mentioned in passing, there is still a lot of young talent out there that we’ve never heard of.
Perhaps Wyke could start clicking with our existing strike force, getting them to play better now? It would make our lives easier if that happened, because it’s better to get your existing squad to perform rather than getting new ones in.
This all said though, this month may finally see what happens with regards J Midson. I say “may”, because let’s face it – this whole situation is as puzzling to work out as the final episode of Mad Dogs.
It seems conventional wisdom that he’ll be off before this month is out – Cambridge United is the rumour mill’s destination of choice the past day or two. But then, conventional wisdom also suggested he would be off with his stock at his highest in the summer – and nobody came in for him.
Perhaps Midson could stay after all? Especially if Wyke starts performing, we keep him for longer and he and our Herbalife distributing number 10 find a common bond on the field.
Things have worked against him this season though. Smith was the only one scoring goals, and you don’t drop the striker who is finding the net in place of one who hasn’t done enough this season to warrant starting anyway. Even if there’s a sense that Charlie Sheringham has the same photos of NA that Sam Hatton had of TB.
There’s a lot of speculation (and perhaps wishful thinking) that Midson and NA have had a row that has lasted the best part of a year. We will never know the politics of the dressing room, but Midson isn’t exactly persona non grata – he’s still here, he wasn’t put on loan in October, he comes on more games than not* and he may simply be a square peg waiting for the hole to become the same shape again.
* – of course, there is a third bit of scurrilous making-up about why he doesn’t play – perhaps he can’t simply last 90 minutes? If his training fitness levels, so important in contemporary professional football, are constantly lower, that suggests an issue.
This might explain why nobody has come in for him in two summer transfer windows and why Chris Wilder was so content to get shot of him from Oxford. And let’s face it, this scenario is about as plausible as any other.
So the AFCW version of the West Lothian Question might finally get answered, or equally it may not.
Either way, we need goals from somewhere, and we just need that win or two – I still think we’re too strong to get into a relegation scrap, not that I believe we should be in one to begin with, but we do need to stop fucking about now.
NA himself has admitted as such, and maybe Daggers on NYD has been the penny dropping moment that Oxford at home last season was? At least we’re now in a position we can do something about it, without having to rebuild in so many areas.
And who knows, maybe Charlie Sheringham will one day find himself on the scoresheet…?