When it comes to strikers two words sum up the whole sorry tale; Kristaps Grebis. It’s not Grebis himself that sums the season up, it was the desperate decision to sign him. We floundered for goalscorers throughout and there seemed to be something conspiring against us from finding one. Could it be the fact that Jim Smith’s first move when he came in was to sign Andy Awford as a defensive coach and Scot Gemmill to look after the strikers. Gemmill, of course, quickly moved on leaving Awford in charge – the lack of anyone showing the strikers the whereabouts of the net was evident for all to see.
You could argue a case to release any of the strikers. The Queen Mum of strikers; Steve Basham was the most obvious choice to go, his salary, fluctuations in form and general fitness all played against him. It’s a shame to see him go, few could dislike him, but there’s a greater force at work here.
On the other hand, not many would want to see Yemi go, he offers something which is raw and unpredictable which helped break up the set patterns of play which dogged us mid-season. He still lacks end product and in particular the predatory instinct players you expect from players with his pace. It’s his lack of goals that prevented me from naming him my player of the season (though I can fully appreciate why so many did). There’s no doubt he improved hugely as the season progressed, most notably his stamina which turned him into a 90 minute player. If he could finish, he’d be dangerous.
This leave the big Zebroski, Marvin Robinson and Rob Duffy; who have all played that target man role up front. Zebroski has a bit of pace, application and occasionally the finishing. Duffy got the goals early in the season (though lots of penalties), but lacked pace, was petulant and sometimes looked like he was lacking that extra 10%. Robinson was an obvious battering ram and a useful weapon to roll out when things looked ropey. Each offered something different, but were required to play the same role. You wouldn’t need three, especially if, above all, a new goalscoring forward is needed. Zebroski, if he can be kept, still has a lot to offer, whilst Duffy, coming off the bench offers a different challenge. For me, Robinson wouldn’t make the final cut.