Where do we need to strengthen?

With deadline day looming, there remain a few gaps to plug in our squad. Let’s have a look at them, and who might be able to fill them.

Starting at the back, we need another goalkeeper – one who can actually compete with and push Ben Alnwick. I quite liked Mark Howard because of the way he pushed Alnwick, and now Alnwick has gone from being a solid League 1 performer into rather a good Championship ‘keeper. A few names have come and gone this summer with Lee Camp the latest to fall off Wanderers’ radar. Camp has reportedly chosen Birmingham City due to an offer of first team football, with David Stockdale and Tomasz Kuszczak both out of favour with Garry Monk. While the link with Camp didn’t particularly please Wanderers fans, he seems to be rated more highly by Monk than Stockdale. However, I’d be keen for us to take a punt on Stockdale if we can afford him. He was very good for Brighton, as he helped them to the Premier League; he even received England callups under Fabio Capello. He’s only 32, so is at a good age to provide genuine competition for a first team spot.

It’s also clear that we need another left back. I’ve defended Andrew Taylor against popular opinion, because he really is not as bad as people believe. However, I’ve always said that we need more options in this area – having another left back with pace is especially important. While Antonee Robinson has headed to Championship minnows Wigan Athletic, we have recently been linked with Jay Dasilva. He was voted as Charlton’s player of the season last year, and would fit the Robinson mould quite well. I’m keen that if we sign another left back that it is someone different in style to Taylor – someone who could play as a wing back if we operate with three at the back. I think Dasilva would be a shrewd signing. If we are to sign Dasilva, this would not have the same time constraints, given that the loan deadline is at the end of the month rather than tomorrow.

I am still keen on another centre back, too. Perhaps this should also be a loanee as we need some more pace at the back, and would possibly represent better value for money. Who? Matthew Pennington has been linked (he can also operate as a left back), maybe even Nat Phillips could return? What a story that would be. I think we need another centre back as our backup, Jack Hobbs, has been very injury prone. We also lack flexibility if Parky wants to play with three at the back. However, once again, if this is going to be a loan deal then we still have time.

While our midfield looked strong against West Brom, I still believe we need a proper ball winning midfielder. Jason Lowe and Luke Murphy both fit the mould as sort of quasi ball winning and ball playing midfielders, but neither of them quite have the Karl Henry or Fabrice Muamba bite to them. Lowe and Murphy can function well together, however if just one of them is playing alongside a less physical presence, bigger teams could dominate us. Today we’ve been linked with Abdoulaye Sissako of Auxerre whom I know nothing about, but I think may be more of an attack minded player.

Many are also keen on another creative midfielder to compete with Oztumer. However, I do not see an obvious place for Oztumer in the team as it stands, given Vela’s dominance of the more attacking central role. Therefore, I don’t know if we need competition for Oztumer. Luke Murphy was a creative force at Crewe who scored lots, so maybe he could push up if needed with O’Neil/Wilson coming in for him.

I think we have four good options on the wings, and so I think another winger is lower down on our list of priorities. However, it is known that we’ll be looking for more enforcements up front. Joe Garner has been touted for a while, and provided that we could get him for the right price, would be a good addition. He scored goals in what was not the strongest of sides last year, and is the sort of player who I think Parky could really push on and improve. We’ve apparently bid for him, along with another striker, so this could be interesting. Links to Kyle Lafferty and Apostolos Vellios have been rubbished today, so we’ll have to watch this space.

An interesting day and a half awaits.


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