GLF75: Graham looks at the comings and goings between since season.
INS AND OUTS
As always at this time of year it is good to compare what we lost at the end of last season and with what has come in to replace the replacements.
Goalie John Ruddy returned to Everton and then moved to Norwich for £300,000. He was a stand out for us last season and kept us in a number of games, particularly with his triple save at Tannadice. He commanded his area and was a good shot stopper.
He has been replaced by former Charlton man Darren Randolph. The big man has become a cult hero already, as much for his relationship with one of The Saturdays, leading Peter Elder to say he was the only player delighted our first three games were on a Sunday as he didn’t like Saturdays! So far he looks as though he will be capable of stepping into the shoes of Ruddy as he too looks to be a bit of a shot stopper, as his early point blank save v Celtic showed. He also dominates his area pretty well as Sissoko of Kilmarnock will be prepared to tell you!!
Further forward we lost Jim O’Brien to Barnsley and for a long time it looked as though we were struggling to replace his ball holding and strong running skills. But I think the late signing of Alan Gow will see him fill the role of JOB last season BUT at the time of writing it is hard to compare the two. It would also appear that Chris Humphrey will also get more time wide on either flank, and if he can sort out his crossing then who knows if we will miss JOB and if we need to keep Gow beyond his six months.
In midfield we lost Giles Coke, who at first we thought wouldn’t be missed but he’s gone on to score almost every week for Sheffield Wednesday from midfield! Again no one has really been brought in to replace Coke, maybe as a result of Brown and Knox only picking him on an irregular basis preferring to go with Lasley and Jennings in midfield with two wide men.
Up front we lost top scorer Lukas Jutkiewicz back to Everton and then on to Coventry for £1 million, the hardest of the leavers to replace given the goals and all round quality movement and hold up play he brought to the side.
Once again it looked as though we were going to see the season through with Murphy, Sutton and McHugh as our strike force. Thankfully Craig Brown felt this was not the way to go and has brought in Nick Blackman and Esteban Casagolda. Blackman scored a decent goal at Killie but could’ve won the Odense game on his own, therefore the jury is still out. Casagolda will be a hit if he can score the same number of goals he did in Belgium (about 1,000 I believe).
Sadly I don’t think either of these two will match the Duke and turn into a million pound player – but overall we have done not too bad in the ins and outs stakes.
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