Whilst my opinion is just one of many thousands at this moment in time, due to recording a pod and running this site I do get asked from time to time who I’d like to see us sign and why.
The big one lately is the fabled ‘number nine’, a player who can come in and either share the load with big John, or offer something different. Let me be very clear about this; I do not think John needs replacing. He was our leading scorer last season and the benefits he brings are suited to League One. I’m not naive enough to think we don’t need two for every role though and Matt Rhead, as good as he is, will not be one to start 20 games next season.
Instead, we need a player who can bring a goal threat, keep John on his toes and maybe even look to get into the first team. Strikers cost money and I don’t think we’ll sign someone permanently, I just can’t see the budget stretching to the sort of player we need. I’ve decided to nail my colours to the mast and talk openly about two players I would like to see in City shirts. After that, I’ll compare them for you.
The first, rather obviously, is Tyler Walker. I don’t believe last season he would have done the job big John did and I stand by that claim. However, he did score goals and perhaps he would have finished on 17 or 18 for us, even if the dynamic of our attack would have changed.
Why would it change? Because Walker is not the big lump John is. He wouldn’t have offered the physical element which might have cost us in away games. He might have brought a little more guile at home, perhaps we would have seen a few more goals at the Bank, but he is different to John.
It’s hard to say he’s anything other than effective too though, is it? He bagged a shed load and putting aside his silly red card and the penalty shoot-out miss, he had a cracking season with the Stags. he’s a wanted man too, Coventry have expressed an interest, but if Forest trust us with Grant, might they do the same with Tyler Walker on a loan spell?
He would certainly add energy in the latter stages, he might even work as a player to tire a defence out for sixty minutes before John is brought on. The two are different, but they would complement the squad very well.
The other player I would like to see at the Bank is Sam Surridge. Now, he’s not been mentioned much this summer but he caused a real furore in January. He was close to a deal to move to Sunderland, but it got pulled and he stayed with Bournemouth in the Premier League. He even made a couple of appearances for them in the top flight, but he’s going to struggle to be near the first team this season.
I first noticed Surridge during a loan spell with Yeovil back in 2017/18. He was a little raw, but he offered them flexibility up front and was incredibly lively whenever I caught highlights of their games. He started 21 matches for them, came off the bench in 20 and scored eight, which wasn’t bad for an 18-year-old.
Last season he bagged 12 in 20 for Oldham, eight of those coming in ten starts in League One. What I really liked about him was his endeavour in a side clearly struggling for an identity. Frankie Bunn got sacked, Pete Wild took over and yet he remained very focused and did well. Walker was playing in a successful side remember, but Surridge was turning out for a club in an apparent decline.
He was particularly impressive against us in the 1-1 draw at Boundary Park back in November. You may recall it being a game in which Ismael Miller was sent off just before half time and we struggled to break down ten men. The reason we struggled was a determination from their remaining players and the outlet Surridge gave them. He caused our centre halves enough trouble to make it feel like 11 v 11, he held the ball up well and bought his side time when they needed it. That night, he convinced me he was more than an exciting young talent.
He didn’t get the winter loan he seemed destined for and now we’re at the level he might feel he needs to prove himself in this coming season. I’ve been told of a relationship between us and Bournemouth, could Surridge be a target? If so, how does he compare to Walker? There’s only one way to find out.