Sprout is back……
Hi and welcome to the latest edition of something for the weekend. Unfortunatley I was unable to get anything together last week as things were pretty hectic at work dealing with the delights of the auditors, but I am back and ready to go.
Well last Saturday was better again. Perhaps not as good as some would hope, but maybe the baby steps will soon see us walking tall as a team. I thought we were easily the best team in the 0-0 draw with Fleetwood and only some good save from the opposition ‘keeper and a poor finish from David Clarkson stopped us winning comfortably. Clarkson seems to be getting a mixed response at the moment, but I do feel he is a decent player. Not everything he tries comes off, but he is always trying to make something happen and what he really needs is a good strike partner to work with (more on that later on). I also thought the often criticised Joe Anyinsah worked hard without much luck or success, but perhaps showed he can still be a useful player in the squad and I was also pleased with Ollie Norburn`s performance. In his brief cameo earlier in the season he certainly looked a strong lad but one who had a decent range of passing and he showed that again this past weekend and I think he really has a chance to make that midfield spot his own.
For me though and I guess quite a few was the performance of Gary Kenneth at the back. I was worried that his lack of matches might affect him and he would get off to a rocky start, but he played really well on Saturday and the reports from Plymouth were also good. Obviously he still needs to get fitter and occasionally I thought he was a bit club footed, but he also showed that he was more than capable of spraying a pass out from the back. On the one game I have seen of him and Tom Parkes they look like they could make a real solid partnership which will stand us in good stead and perhaps ease some pressure on the front men, and talking of front men that leads me nicely into….
After the Fleetwood game Mark McGhee said he would be working hard to get a couple of strikers in and this Thursday two arrived. Firstly a welcome to Rovers to Tom Eaves and Derek Riordan and they will add some needed depth to our front line. It was sad to hear Matt Harrold would be ruled out for the rest of the season and I wouldn`t wish that sort of injury on anyone. I am sure all Gasheads wish him a good and speedy recovery. We needed another striker when Matt was fit and his injury really necessitated the need for two and now Messrs Eaves and Riordan have a chance to show what they can do. I don`t know much about Tom Eaves, he`s signed on loan for 3 months and it seems he is a big lad and if he can hold the ball up and brings others into play and offers some good movement he could be a useful and decent player in this division.
On the other hand, Derek Riordan I know of from watching quite a bit of SPL and he has been a proven goal getter at that level and if he can recreate anywhere near that form in division four we will get some goals out of him in his short 3 month contract (which who knows if it will lead to anything more). However he has had a few issues in the past and recently too and to be kind, ‘Maverick` might be the best description of Riordan. On his signing it was good to see Mark McGhee give an honest appraisal of the player and sugar coat it saying
“Derek is a bit of an enigma, some supporters will wonder about him because he is not the most industrious of players. When it comes to creativity, however, he can be brilliant. He has great feet and offers us fantastic shooting, passing and crossing ability.”
‘Some people will love him and others will hate him, but he will certainly bring something different to our squad.”
My initial reaction to the Riordan signing was he will either be brilliant or complete rubbish, but really I just hope he is relatively fit physically and mentally and does himself justice in the quarters. If he does that, then even if he is here for only 3 months he can easily become a bit of a cult hero. Here`s hoping.
That`s just about it from me, but I hope those of you heading to Exeter this weekend avoid the bad weather that has been about and can bring back 3 points with you. I think the new signings and the improved performance from last week have buoyed a few fans and now hopefully, finally we can capitalise on this and pick up our first win of the season.
Whatever you are up to have a great weekend. UTG!
Simon ‘Sprout` Phillips