Date:Friday September 1 2006
So we didn`t get Lee Williamson from Rotherham to gain central defensive cover, but let us examine the state of the team at this point in the season compared to last.
Marlon is another year older and struggling with a back condition, which is unlikely to get significantly better. Dean Brill looks OK, but until he gets more experience, which will mean mistakes in the short term, he is not regarded as first choice. Zac Barrett will be a cracker, but the same applies regarding experience and Premiership clubs are aware of his talents, and he may get snapped up before he makes it through to the first team.
Rob Beckwith has left the club, which is a shame. His injury really set him back and he was destined for great things before that.
Slightly weaker than last year, with Marlon not always at his best, but back up is equal to last season.
Full backs/Wing Backs:
Kevin Foley and Sol Davis are better than last year with a year of experience at this level. Keane and Underwood could deputise, as could Lewis Emanuel and Carlos Edwards. Chris Pendleton has been promoted to the to the first team squad, but has no experience of League football let alone CCC.
Stronger than last year with a real gem in new signing Lewis Emanuel.
With Coyney and Perrett becoming perennial sick notes, it is very fortunate that Leon Barnett has done a Curtis Davis and stepped up in class to cover a position. Markus Heikkinen is as strong as ever, but while on paper there are four central defenders with experience, two are going to struggle to be fit and need time to recover from their injuries/operations.
With Heikkinen recently back from injury as well, we are blatantly short in this department, and at least one player is desperately needed long term and perhaps two short term! Probably as vulnerable as we were last year when Curtis left!
The loss of ball winner Nicholls was a blow and we have not replaced him with a like player.
Richard Langley is a quality signing and he will get better and better as his confidence returns after two years in the doldrums. The crowd needs to get off his back and encourage him. Robbo is as vital to this area as ever. He is the main playmaker and we do not tick over as well without him or if he is off form.
Holmes, Brkovic, Bell, O'Leary and Morgan could all play there but only Holmes and O'Leary look comfortable in the role. Michael Leary seems to have disappeared from the radar, and I'm not sure why that should be. He was a first team player a couple of years ago and should have emerged by now. If we had two more available central defenders, Heikks would be the best replacement for Nicholls as a holding hard tackling midfielder. However, I predict that Stephen O`Leary will emerge in the Nicholls role. Watch this space!
So far we are weaker in central midfield without Nicholls, but as the style of play changes to accommodate the fact, or when O`Leary proves he can add a bit of steel there, I think it will improve.
This is where we have it in spades! We have so many players who can tease and use speed and skill and get in crosses from wide, that all we needed was some strikers who can get on the end of them.
Lewis Emanuel is quality at left midfield, and we have Unders to come back as well, which gives the option to use Emanuel as a wing back as a change, if Sol Davis is not getting forward in a match. Morgan is proving what he can do on both flanks and up front. Obviously, Carlos Edwards is on fire after the World cup, and it is great news that he did not leave yesterday. I also believe that Warren Feeney is a far better right-winger than he is a striker and, now that two strikers have been brought in, he may get the chance to show that in practice.
Ahmet Brkovic was a first choice last season but, this year, he hasn`t had a look in, which speaks volumes in how strong we are in competition for those places. With Holmes Bell and Stevens in the wings (pun intended!) and Foley and Keane able to play there too, we must have the strongest Wing section in the league!
Solid as a rock - perm any two from all that lot and we can still perform.
The loss of Steve Howard would seem on the surface to be a big one. However, the type of striker that he is tends to fade after thirty years of age. It is a hard life, and Stevo has taken a battering for the cause of Luton Town over the years. He must rank as the best £50K spent by the club in many a year. However, he did not score with the same ease in the CCC as he did previously in the lower divisions, and he has yet to score for his new club. Also, to obtain the services of Sam Parkin and Adam Boyd, and still have change from the Howard money, is nothing but sheer genius on the part of Newell. Remember Newell was a centre forward and, like Mick Harford before him, he knows a good 'un when he sees one. Considering the age advantage they both have over Howard, it was just good business, and the beleaguered board should be applauded for making the funds available this time.
Rowan Vine and Warren Feeney run their socks off for the team and, while they have not been prolific goal scorers themselves, their contribution in setting up goals for Howard in the past, and for almost every other position on the field should never be overlooked. Calvin Andrew also has to come back after injury and will no doubt be loaned out after Christmas to help facilitate this.
Adam Boyd and Sam Parkin will score goals; lots of goals; make no mistake about that! With the kind of service they will be getting from the flanks and through the middle, goals will come. They have to settle in and learn the way we play and achieve full match sharpness, but once they do, we will all enjoy the proceeds. As I have said before, Adam Boyd is a thinking player who does not waste energy chasing lost causes. He waits until the right opportunity comes then seizes it with skill and speed. He can use both feet and mix it with the best of them. He looks lazy, but I don`t think he is. Even so, I`d live with a lazy looking player who sets up or scores twenty or thirty goals a season!
Parkin is not the header of a ball that Howard was, but he can score with his head and is a strong shooter with both feet, though understandably not at the same time! Also, he does not get involved with referees and rarely gets cautioned, so suspensions are not the likely problem that they were with Stevo!
Far stronger in depth and quality than last season. Boyd for Enoch and Parkin for Howard plus the emergence of Morgan as a goal scorer means things are looking far rosier in the striking department once they all get full match fitness.
Quite a bit stronger in depth but lacking in central defence if the injuries turn out to be long term.
My team if all were fit would be:
Away from home: 4-1-3-2
Foley Barnett Coyne Davis
Edwards Robinson Underwood
Subs: Vine Feeney Morgan Langley Emanuel
Foley Barnett Heikkinen Davis
Edwards Robinson Underwood
Subs: Feeney Morgan Langley Coyne Emanuel
However, we now have a core of twenty-two players who would not worry us too much if they were in the team, whereas sometimes last season, the team picked itself and the bench looked like a kindergarden! Mike Newell now has to man manage those not in the team as well as those who are, and selection must be a headache that he will enjoy!
However, if there are players in the squad who do not feature in his plans any longer, then he should allow them to find new clubs and free up the wage costs and replace them.
What do you think?
Date:Friday September 1 2006
Luton to Entertain Aston Villa (Friday May 17 2013)
Tyler`s Staying (Friday May 17 2013)
I Wish It Was Us! (Wednesday May 15 2013)
Favourites (Again)! (Monday May 13 2013)
Keeper Ranks Bolstered (Monday May 13 2013)
Nielson Finds New Club (Monday May 13 2013)
Welcome to the Mad World! (Monday May 13 2013)
I Felt Physically Sick! (Monday May 13 2013)
What a Difference a Year Makes (Friday May 10 2013)
Something to Look Forward To? (Wednesday May 8 2013)
|Fairhurst Joins the Imps
» Lincoln : 17/05/2013 18:23:00
|Luton to Entertain Aston Villa
» Luton : 17/05/2013 13:37:00
» Luton : 17/05/2013 13:36:00
|Early bird attracts 1,105
» Stockport : 16/05/2013 13:29:00
|I Wish It Was Us!
» Luton : 15/05/2013 16:53:00
» Lincoln : 15/05/2013 14:55:00
|ST Early Bird Ends today
» Stockport : 15/05/2013 13:45:00