The January Sales
First and foremost, I`d like to wish you all a Happy New Year and hope that you enjoyed the festive period. The performances against QPR and Cardiff showed that I think several of the players enjoyed Christmas a little too much as the performances were very lacklustre.
We`re now at the halfway point of the season and with January now upon us, the sales begin in and outside of football - obviously we`re concentrating on the footballing sales. There have already been some moves and one regarding Watford with Gavin Mahon leaving. Despite the fact he is joining QPR I`d like to pass on my best wishes for what will be exciting times at Loftus Road. I`ve not always agreed with Aidy`s selection of Mahon, but you can never question the mans commitment or effort when on the pitch.
This week therefore I`m looking at where we need to strengthen now January is here, identifying targets and also, deciding whom we can let go. Goalkeepers
If it weren`t for the form of Richard Lee, I`d have to say we need to go out and bring in a goalkeeper. Loach is out on-loan again leaving us with two senior 'keepers, one of which seems to be showing the signs of age. I am of course talking about Mart Poom.
Certainly a dedicated professional but at the moment deservedly behind Lee in the pecking order. So far his communication with the back four has been sadly lacking, not for an inability in the lingo because he has been here for a decade now. His decision-making has been poor too, as his has kicking is fits and starts. His surprising agility, handling and reflexes probably compensate for this however.
The form of Richard Lee has delighted me though, I`ve always been a fan, despite mass criticisms and I think he is really establishing himself as a solid 'keeper. His kicking has always been poor, but has certainly improved.Full backs
Well, Lloyd Doyley has been excellent; bar his mysterious handball against QPR he hasn`t really put a foot wrong this season. On the other hand, Jordan Stewart has scarcely put a foot right, bar winning the Wolves game, accidentally. He won`t assign a new contract, he evidently wants to leave, and his performances have been lackadaisical, lethargic, and nonchalant. I`ll leave it at that because I`ve said it all before. We need a new left-back, that is definite, but in the mean time, I`d like to see Jordan Parkes blooded, he has never let us down when selected in the League Cup, and now he deserves a chance to play in the league.
Left Back Targets?
Mat Sadler: Birmingham, 500k?
Quinton Fortune: Free?
Paul Robinson: WBA, 2mill+?Centre Back
DeMerit + Shittu = Immense and virtually impenetrable. However, without one half of the duo, Matt Jackson looks shaky. Probably a lack of first team football and a lack of pace, something his experience should make up for but without Shittu we have looked poor. Mariappa hasn`t really been given a chance yet and that is a notion for the New Year, especially with Shittu going to the African Cup of Nations.
Out: Matt Jackson
Centre Back Targets?
Jack Hobbs: Liverpool, loan?
Anthony Gardener: Spurs, 2mill?
The wingers seem to have been the one constant thus far this season, Tommy Smith has been in flying form, albeit his failure to track Buszaky for the fourth goal against QPR. Jobi McAnuff has looked good in short spells, but seems reluctant to take people on.
Adam Johnson was of course superb, and someone we`d all love to see back, but in the mean time, give Anthony McNamee a chance! He`s out of contract, impressed in the League Cup this season and last time round in the Championship.Central Midfield
Considering the volume of central midfielders we have, I`m surprised that we cannot yet find a partnership that is consistent. Al Bangura is obviously injured but will hopefully be around long term - he is someone who deserves a chance upon return as is Gareth Williams who looked good last year.
Damien Francis didn`t convince anyone last year and this season started well upon return, but since, despite scoring has been poor. I`ve not seen anyone chase shadows so much since Dom Blizzard - but at least he had energy and got stuck in.
Central Midfielder Partnerships to try:
Williams and Williamson
Bangura and Rinaldi [The forgotten man, who like Williams, looks good but has been injured and given little chance]Strikers
Marlon 'The Ego` King scored a good goal yesterday, granted. However, 4/11 of his goals have been penalties and really, he hasn`t been that good this time round. People know what he is about and two men have generally been deployed to mark him this season. He looked overweight the past few weeks, but actually looked less chubby yesterday. His head is in the Premiership, get him sold and spend the money wisely.
Nathan Ellington really needs a run of games and perhaps even some reserve games to start hitting the net in and get his confidence back, once he does, I feel sure he will be lethal. Henderson has overcome everything to be probably our most popular and consistent marksman.
Out: King, 4mill+ Villa, Reading, Fulham, QPR?
David Healy: Fulham, 2mill?
DJ Campbell: Leicester, 2mill?
If any of these players sign or leave, call me a football genius eh?!
Keep the faith,