Striking Out at Last

a mid-season assessment by WAGGA MOON

New Year transfer window open and more players required. That is surely the message for Colin Cooper and Craig Hignett after a run of two wins out of the last ten matches.
The annoying thing about this is that there is not a good team in this division. No outstanding team to run away with the title and everyone much of a muchness. Not blaming Cooper for this but the fact is that we have needed a decent striker for three years and the world and its wife knew this. 

Steve Howard was clearly not the answer and to give him a two-year contract at 36 years old was absolute folly. It would be nice if whoever was responsible for this were to hold their hand up so the fans knew exactly who to vent their frustration at. 

Now we have Dan Jones, Jordan Richards and Jack Compton on the injured list and Andy Monkhouse suspended we are really down on numbers. 

If Nialle Rodney was worth a contract then surely now is the time to give him a run in the side. He had a promising debut against Morecambe. But we had 21 shots and only two goals, stressing how much we need some genuine firepower. What Cooper has been doing in the barren run is continually play two holding midfielders in Matty Dolan and Simon Walton in a bid not to lose a game rather than trying to win it.
Funny how when he replaces one with young Brad Walker the youngster scores a candidate for goal of the season within five minutes of coming on. 
"against Morecambe ...we had 21 shots and only two goals, stressing how much we need some genuine firepower."
We had to endure the "don't lose the game" defensive tactics of John Hughes for the second half of last season. I had to laugh when one "expert" on one of the Pools messageboards was congratulating Hughes for steering Inverness Callies to second place in the SPL. Not that this had anything to do with Terry Butcher who put the side together and put them into this postion after 15 games. Make no mistake about it, Cooper is a far better proposition than Hughes would ever be. Let Hughes ply his trade in the goalposts for jumpers league, which is about his true level. 

It looks like we are getting to keep Christian Burgess and Matty Dolan for the rest of the season, which is good news. I would like to see two strikers brought in, one experienced and one youngster from a Premier club using the salaries of Howard and Hartley. And sending Antony Sweeney and Sam Collins out on loan would free up money to bring in a left back, as Neil Austin is way off the pace at the moment, giving wingers far too much space and not trying hard enough to prevent them getting a cross in. This is the Fourth Division in case he has forgotten and the players in this league are not as good as they were last season. 

Letting the opposition get their noses in front has been a major problem in the last six weeks and means we are continually chasing the game. The need to start on the front foot is vitally important. We are not a million miles away from a play-off place and cerrtainly have nothing to fear from the teams above us.

A pity we went out of the FA Cup to Coventry as a few lucrative matches would have brought in some much needed income. What is puzzling is how Coventry, in and out of administration, can pay strikers like Leon Clarke, Callum Wilson and Carl Baker, and still bring in high earning strikers like Chris Dagnall on loan. 

Surely it is not that Pools are one of the few clubs abiding by the FFP rules while most other clubs are openly flouting them? That may be a question to bring up at the next Fans' Flannel meeting, or have they all been cancelled due to lack of interest?