Thursday, 11 August 2016

Magennis and Botaka in to bolster squad size ahead of Valley debut

Defeat at Cheltenham Town on Tuesday appears to have spurred Meire on to two more signings. Russell will be pleased. The linked Josh Magennis transfer from a faux-reluctant Kilmarnock has gone through with Killie apparently getting two and half times the £100k initial fee and Josh clocking three Large a week. Undisclosed, of course. The second is a season long loan of hitherto Leeds-flop, Jordan Botaka.

I have seen Magennis play once before for Aberdeen and safe to say none of the Dandies I know believe this is a good move for us, although they don't appreciate just how desperate we have become. I will reserve judgement until I have seen him a few times more but we do need more attacking options - he is, at least, a ringer for the Brazilian Ronaldo! Botaka is a wide man and given our creative midfield problems, also appears a positional need if he's any good. He is a DR Congan international so will miss January at the African Cup of Nations but if he does a job before and after that helps us avoid a relegation battle, it won't have been a bad move in my view.

I reckon there might be one more incoming before the end of the month but I suspect that's Slade's lot. He was quoted today saying there would be no further 'major' player losses which might suggest Lookman will be retained and, hopefully, Texeira. I could see RD deciding to hang on to Lookman for another season if the offers for him thus far haven't met his valuations. Similarly for Tex, although given Relegation Roger's recent hystrionics, there may be concern about his longer term viability which could be an added reason for not selling the Portugese.

By my reckoning we now have 19 fit players with any tangible first team league experience and a further four who are longer term injuries. Other than that, we will need to play youngsters. Of the 19, nothing much has been seen or heard of Ba and nine of the others are new this season (Rudd, Foley, Pearce, Crofts, Holmes, Botaka, Ajose, Novak and Magennis) and have had limited or no game time together given our appalling planned pre-season.

There is some justfication , therefore, for Slade to claim we are a work in progress and that it will take time, like building a Rolls-Royce as opposed to a Nissan (his analogy). I honestly hope he's right and that there is enough quality in the squad to make us competitive. Bauer, Diarra and Kashi would certainly make a real difference if and when we get them back and Texeira will be an improvement over Johnson if he stays and is committed to the team. However, without them, we look vulnerable in midfield and already look susceptible to set pieces once again. If the relegation mood hasn't been lifted significantly, a few more poor results could well give us a bigger morale issue to overcome. Slade has been obviously irritable over squad depth and you wonder what affect that has on those who have played in two poor loses so far? I also wonder where the leadership and the team spirit is when the most vocal player to date has been the foul-mouthed and disrespectful Roger Johnson. You would hope for more from Jackson but he's probably been saving his breath to get up and down in the middle.

I fancy an opening goal from Nicky Ajose on Saturday but Northampton may feel they owe us one over the approach for Chris Wilder and their players might relish playing at the Valley. I still haven't shaken off the gloom of last season (in case you were in any doubt) and I can taste that feeling when we go a goal down at home and can't muster any cohesive or sustained response. If we don't play well and do fall behind, the mood in the Lower North, where most of our supporters will be, could quickly become hostile.

I have taken full advantage of my SE7 resident status to bag four free tickets ("do you want all four" was the naive question asked) so my quest to spend less than this year's season ticket costs have started splendidly. All those able to take advantage have the Boycotters to thank for forcing Meire to offer feeebies to avoid an embarrassingly small first home gate of the season. Tuesday's Shrewsbury (Shreve Tuesday?) encounter will be much smaller and if I am encouraged to go to that one, I will be looking to use the £10 deal via an existing season ticket holder.

Amazing to think that the next two home matches are already potential pressure-pot games. It may be a massive trial under Duchatelet and Meire but it's rarely dull given the antics and the continual change. I do think that alone is wearing people down and costing us fans, in addition to the obviously poor results, relegation and feeling of helplessness.

We want Roland out, say we want Roland out!


Tony said...

How do you go about getting the fre tickets Dave?
May get my mum to book some for me and the boy.
Then again, does he early deserve that level of punishment....

Dave said...

Tony - you need to be quick. Offer closes 5pm tonight. Need to fill out the form and get down there with ID and a utility bill....