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Forum Home > Scandinavian Blades Forum > English Blades' opinions on poor start

Bergen Blade
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Posts: 54

 

 

All views taken from http://s24su.com/forum/index.php?threads/replacing-3-best-players-patience-required.35590/

 

 

 

The Bohemian:

 

Maguire, Brayford and Coady were widely recognised as last season's top Blades performers. Murphy was another name included on some lists. For various reasons, none of my 'top 3' are available this season.

 

Blades fans have become accustomed, since at least the 1960s, to seeing the club's best players sold off for short term gain, to the long term detriment of the team. The loss of the three key players in question was only more palatable because two were loanees and the other made it clear he wanted to leave, but this does nothing to alleviate the problem of replacing them.

 

Cloughie's transfer market dealings to date provide cause for confidence in his ability to identify players - for example Brayford, Harris and Scougall - who can improve the team. The three named all replaced inconsistent and/or limited performers - Hill, McMahon and McGinn et al. Replacing consistently outstanding performers – for example Maguire, Brayford and Coady - is an altogether more challenging proposition.

 

It is too early to confidently assess how effective Cloughie has been in replacing these three key players but a few early observations can be made.

 

McGahey certainly looks the part and evidently carries the confidence of the coaching staff given his selection ahead of Butler and Collins. However, he is an 18 year old rookie with very little Football League experience so it would be foolhardy to expect him to perform regularly to the level Maguire was at in the latter part of his Blades career. Butler looks currently as though he has been signed as a cover player. It seems reasonable therefore to assert that the team has been weakened in central defence.

 

Cloughie's decision to play Ben Davies at right-back ahead of Brayford's assumed replacement, Alcock, suggests either or both a lack of confidence in Collins and a lack of conviction in Alcock's attacking qualities. Davies is a useful utility player with a talent for delivering dead-balls. He shows very little appetite (probably justified given his {lack of} pace) for running at opponents and his defensive positioning is weak. Consequently the team looks far weaker at right-back and this is a big problem if Cloughie intends to continue with a counter-attacking approach.

 

Finally, Liverpool's insistence on a significant fee for Coady was trumped by Wallace's availability on a free from Tranmere. There is no reason, at this point, to believe that Wallace won't prove to be a capable player but there is every reason to be concerned about his recent injury record and ability to withstand the rigour of a 50-60 game season. The emergence of young Louis Reed provides further options in this department and he is clearly a player of great potential. But, as a just-turned seventeen year old boy lacking physical stature, he cannot be expected to play two games per week over an extended period. No such doubts existed concerning young Coady, who proved his resilience and ability over the course of a full and very eventful season. Here was a player at the start of his league career who scored goals, made assists, had a great engine and very rarely wasted possession. If we are to believe the comments attributed to the player it seemed that Coady was keen to return to the Blades and I can't help but see the decision not to re-sign him as a blunder that will return to bite. Until Wallace and/or Reed prove otherwise it seems fair to assume that Coady's loss has weakened the team from an attacking midfield perspective.

 

The team is about more than 3 players and it can be confidently argued that Cloughie has improved the team in other areas - Higdon for Porter springs quickly to mind. But, as stated earlier, it is easier to replace under-performers than star-performers and it is star-performers that make the difference between automatic promotion and also-rans. At this point it is unclear whether any of Cloughie's other signings are likely to develop into the 'star-performers' needed to secure a top 2 spot.

 

Had the Blades been able to keep Maguire, Brayford and Coady, whilst signing a decent striker and a few cover players, promotion favouritism would have seemed fully justified. Now it seems much less clear.

 

Like most Blades supporters, I remain very confident in the manager's ability to build a promotion winning team. It may just require a little more patience.

 

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Woodwardfan:

 

Clough tried to replace your 3 best players last Saturday. He also tried to replace Collins, Doyle, Baxter as well, by choice. Not only that, he replaced them with a 17 year old, an 18 year old and a defender who fancies playing in midfield, not defensive midfield but attacking midfield.

 

Far too much to change at once and disruptive. He must have felt this necessary on pre-season form and attitude and why that should be the case is quite worrying.

 

New captain, a centre forward too, while he was at it. Astonishing really.

 

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Latters:

 

We've been waiting two and a half years for us to replace Ched. It was even longer for Brown and McCall (if you can say we ever really did). With the number of bodies coming in, I'd fancy it being a similar period of time before we replace the three you mentioned. I think Clough has already tried.

 

Like you, I'm happy enough with Magahey in place of Maguire. However, we have tried to replace Coady, who managed fifty odd games last season, with Wallace, who has yet to manage 90 minutes for us, to my knowledge (how did he pass a medical?) and Basham, who Blackpool fans describe as a destroyer with poor distribution, and we've replaced Brayford, an attacking full back with excellent stamina, which is pivotal to how we play, with Alcock, who is not renowned by Peterborough fans for his attacking prowess, and Davies, a slow, ageing wide midfielder who delivers the odd good corner or free kick.

 

Quality, not quantity was the mantra prior to the signings, but the evidence on display flies in the face of this statement. I would have preferred fewer, better players coming in.

 

Unfortunately, "steady" is a word that has been used too often to describe the players we've signed. We don't want or need steady, we want above average at this level.

 

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August 19, 2014 at 4:06 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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