Even in the aftermath of an historic 3-2 win in the FA Cup there has to be one eye on the future. Last night was amazing and it will live long on the memory, but for now focus shifts elsewhere. On the pitch it moves over to the FA Trophy and a very real chance of a wanted appearance at Wembley, off the pitch we will be looking at January and at strengthening the squad.
Although the transfer window doesn’t apply to us, there will be much more movement above which in turn could force managers hands at our level. One of the more obvious players to be involved will be Ricky Miller, and a move for him could set off a chain of events that mean recruitment across the National League.
Similarly it is possible that league clubs will be looking at our players and that may mean we have to dip into the transfer market. As we also know the club have pocketed a nice amount of cash from the continued FA Cup run, and coupled with the Jonny Margetts money we are bound to want to strengthen our ranks.
It’s a well respected opinion that we probably need to bring in a striker, certainly someone who is good foil for Matt Rhead. The said player will need an eye for goal, a good record at this level and most of all will have to work hard and be the right personality for the team. Premier League people Danny Cowley said. I think your favourite Imps blog has found the perfect candidate: Theo Robinson.
Since Theo has been with the club, we haven’t lost a game. Of course it isn’t solely his input that has got us through that run, but one key component has been us scoring goals. Since Theo made the starting eleven we have failed to score just once, and that was his first start against a strong Eastleigh side. He did have a mildly inconsistent start to his Imps career, but sine then he’s grown every week in stature.
For his first few outings he looked like a player who was match rusty. He was caught offside a fair amount, but then perhaps his style of play brings that on anyway. He hangs off the last defender, often not challenging for a ball but dropping off the recipient and hoping for scraps. Quick and energetic players draw offside decisions as they dart in and out of a defensive line looking for space. In recent weeks he has got much sharper and that has come about through consistent game time.
The goals have started to come and they will continue to flow. I don’t think you can expect a 25 goal haul from a season from Theo, but his role is so much more than just scoring. Now he is sharp and fully up to speed with the game, he offers another dimension we didn’t have earlier in the season.
Against Oldham last night two defenders sandwiched Matt Rhead as they do most weeks. That leaves a player over somewhere on the field, and if we are to continue to succeed we need to find where that gap is and exploit it. It may be one of the full backs coming in to challenge for the ball, if so we have threats from wide in place and ready to do damage. Someone may drop deep from the midfield, and if that is the case then again we now have that area covered. Alan Power has experienced a elevation in status over the past few weeks, perhaps the pressure of young Whitehouse chomping at the bit has helped. Irrespective of how it has happened we now have a combative and lively midfield.
What we need for continued good results and sustained success over the next six months is the pacey and livewire striker willing to pull the remaining defenders out of shape. If two drop onto Matt Rhead we need a player alert enough to get into spaces that are being left, and then quick enough to exploit those spaces and ask further questions. Last night was a perfect demonstration of why that man is Theo Robinson.
This might sound like a dumb statement but we don’t need a 30 goal a season striker like Miller, and certainly not one that costs a six figure sum. There is no certainty that a player like Miller would complement that style that we have, and a goal haul only tells part of a story. The real fix would be in signing up the (still only) 27 year old striker who just three years ago was representing his country. A fit and sharp Theo Robinson is a League One quality striker, but to get the best out of him you need to set up right. He may have come here hoping to catch the eyes of a league club and doubtless he achieved that last night. However, a look at Jonny Margetts shows that a move to another club isn’t always the best policy for advancing your career.
Theo Robinson can continue to thrive in our system and continue to see his name in the goals scored column. At only 27 I think his best course of action is to stay with us and get six more months alongside Rheady leading the front line. I’m sure his stock would rise even more in a promotion winning side, one that has a half decent chance of getting a result at Portman Road, and one that continues to create space for him to exploit. It’s better stealing headlines at National League level than it is stealing a spot on the bench halfway down League One.
Who knows, he might not even have to move clubs to find league football come the end of the season. You know it makes sense Theo, you’re an Imp now.
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