04 January, 2007

New Year, same old problems

It seems as though the resolve, team spirit and (let's be honest) good fortune that got us to the top of the table has evaporated somewhat. Rather alarmingly, CC's warriors are starting to resemble Megson's merry men, which is not totally surprising as it is the same bunch of prima donnas who failed so dismally under the previous regime.

What should be done? Firstly, the squad is far too large, and quantity is no substitute for quality. For the record, with the current bunch, my first choice team would be (and note, it is 4-4-2, not 3-5-2, 3-4-3, 4-3-3 or the 7-2-1 employed against Bristol City in the last 20 minutes):

Curtis Breckin Cullip Bennett
Southall Perch Clingan Commons
Holt Tyson
Given current form, I would probably have Wes playing instead of Cullip, although Danny offers much more than just defensive ability - he is also an organiser and the nearest thing to a natural leader that we have. The bench would probably also include Jack, Rune and Thommo, none of whom have really shown that they are worth a place in the team, although all should be more than capable of providing decent cover at this level. Junior Agogo needs to show that he really wants a place in the team, after a bright start his recent displays have been lazy and lacklustre.
Players out, in no particular order:
Gary Holt: Apart from a brief purple patch under Charlie'n'Frank, he has played more like a pensioner with one lung and emphysema, rather than the "Three Lungs" of Carrow Road folklore. Before the operation he played like he was injured; after, he has played like he is not really good enough for this division.
Nicky Eaden and Gino Padula: What's the point at keeping them here when they patently don't have the ability?
Scott Dobie: Barring a miracle, I just cannot see him getting a sustained run in the team, and he won't score goals unless he does. In fact, he might not score goals even if he does.
Ross Gardner: In the matches I have seen, he has tried, but it doesn't really seem as though he has a future at the City Ground. Good luck for the future though.
Neil Harris: I wish him all the luck in the world - yet another striker with a previously decent record who has found the City Ground to be a poisoned chalice (his spell at the Gills last season proves that he can still score goals).
Kevin James: I have only seen him play a couple of times. The fact that under various different managers, he has been farmed out on loan suggests that the rumoured attitude problem exists and that he is best away from the club (did you know that Marlon King is his best mate?). Shame, he could have been good.
That is seven players out. We need cover for both wings, maybe another full-back and another centre-half, but most importantly we need a commanding midfielder. If the rumours are true and David Prutton is available for £250-500k, then we should get him in. He is the kind of young, passionate player who wants to grab each game by the scruff of the neck - exactly what we have been missing. I like Perchio and Sammy a lot, and when they have been out of the team we have missed them, but neither of them really stamp their authoritah on a match in the way that Prutts usually does.
A good team will usually have leaders through the spine of the team - Smudge and Cullip (when on form - both have been shaky recently) at the back, and Holt Jr is capable of doing the same (in his own way) up front - if we can get the hole in the middle filled, I think it will lift us to be the best team in the division, bar none.

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