A Change of Attack?

Last updated : 28 April 2004 By Andy Green
Has the cruciate ligament injury to Ben Burgess now thrown the 'new striker' targets back into the melting pot? Prior to Saturday's terrible injury City looked destined to pursue another goal poacher in the mould of Steve MacLean, Lee Trundle or Leon Constantine. All of them are 'right place, right time' players who don't primarily rely on their physical presence and aerial ability to conjure up goals. Now that we have lost the only player in the Tigers squad with these attributes must we now set our sights on a similar type of striker? Assuming this player is not going to be a rookie from the Premiership or First Division, on the basis that we can't afford to risk an unproven player in this pivotal role, then we must turn our attentions to the Second and Third Divisions.

Having scoured the bottom two divisions I can find only three players that meet the criteria of:

- Experienced (mid twenties at least)
- Tall and muscular (over 6ft 1in in height and 14 stones in weight)
- Proven goal record (about 1 in 3)
- Available (club is not in a position to reject a good offer)

In short, a target man.

The following candidates meet all of these requirements:

Barry Conlon of Darlington has done very well to maintain a good goal record considering the struggling clubs he has played for. At 26 years of age he still has plenty of football ahead of him and at 6ft 3in, 14 stones has plenty of presence on the pitch.

John Murphy of Blackpool may be older (28) but he has an even better goal record. Slightly shorter than Conlon at 6ft 1in, he is just as solid.

Finally, there is Steve Howard of Luton Town. He is also 28 years old but at 6ft 3in and close to 15 stones he is the physical match of Burgess.

One thing is now certain: any new striker must be in Burgess's mould if we are to pursue our tactics of this campaign in the Second Division. A move for any other style of striker would also have to herald the arrival of a new approach.

Having said all of this, I am not oblivious to the fact that Peter Taylor may already have a strapping youngster currently plying his trade in the Premiership's reserve league, well within his sights.

As usual, the summer will reveal all.