2016 squad review from Craig Bailey, who assesses, player by player, who should stay and who should goSat 31 Dec 16 by Craig Bailey
A while back, before I started sharing my thoughts on MFW, I used to periodically do a squad review via Twitter posts.
It was a combination of a light-hearted look at our squad and a serious analysis of each player.
It always proved quite popular. People didn’t always agree, but that’s one of the great things about football, we all have different opinions and it gets us talking.
So without further ado, as we wish farewell to an underwhelming 2016, here’s my pre-January transfer window look at our squad:
1 John Ruddy:
Still our best keeper by a country mile for me, but looks like he’s bulked up which may be the root cause of some of the issues in his more recent city history. Keep.
2 Steven Whittaker:
Kept as a spare left back due to uncertainty on Robbie Brady’s future according to Alex Neil. I think I’d rather see youth given the 3rd choice bearth. Move on, but probably at the end of the season now.
3 Martin Olsson:
A strange one this. He’s a serial relegation candidate, but probably the best left back in the Championship on his day. Has had virtually zero support from team mates all season, but also wanted to leave. If we look like going up I’d keep. If not I’d let him move on, which may be what the contract extension was about.
4 Graham Dorrans:
Another strange one is Mr Dorrans. When things are going well he can run the show at this level, when they’re not he all too often goes missing. Keep, but have a word!
5 Russell Martin:
I love Russ, but his time at City is over. I’ve nothing but respect for how he handles himself or how he has over-achieved and taken the chance afforded him by Paul Lambert, but it’s tough to keep that up. Move on with gratitude and thanks.
6 Sebastien Bassong:
I’ve always been one of Big Seb’s biggest critics, mainly as he thinks he’s Pele and more often than not he thinks this at critical defensive moments and gets found out. That being said, we’ve kept more clean sheets with him in the team than Klose this season. It’s time to move on though.
7 Steven Naismith:
One of the most frustrating transfers we’ve ever had – so much talent, but it’s just not worked here. I always rated him at Everton and was thrilled when he signed, however, I think it’s time to sell and move on for the benefit of all concerned.
8 Jonny Howson:
There are not enough words in the English language to describe how much I love Jonny; first name on the team sheet (in central midfield) and build the team around him. Keep.
9 Nelson Oliveira:
Big Nelson seems to finally found his feet after needing some time to settle in. He looks a decent option, as long as we get pace in and around him. Keep.
10 Cameron Jerome:
Started the season well, but was over-worked in my opinion and injury resulted. He can score at this level, but does need a few chances; we should be capable of creating them and he’s a decent option at this level. If we stay down, keep- if we go up, sell.
11 Matt Jarvis:
I’d love to see Matt play again play to his full potential, however, I fear what will happen is he’ll come back and be injured again. He’s handy to have around for the younger players to learn from, so I’d keep for now and evaluate in the summer depending on fitness.
12 Robbie Brady:
Slapping a £20m price tag on Robbie was mental. We should have accepted the £15m reported to have been offered and spent it on players that want to be here. He has undoubted talent, but we need to move him on.
13 Paul Jones:
14 Wes Hoolahan:
Started the season well, but drifted away I guess like most 35 year olds would. He still has the ability to spark that bit of magic that most do not, but this increasingly comes at a cost defensively. One more season, probably his last, is worth a shout, even if it’s as a bit part and to pass on to the younger generation.
15 Timm Klose:
Despite being our best centre back on paper he’s found the transition to the Championship tough. We probably should have sold in the summer while his stock was high. Would love to keep him, but suspect the further we are from the top, the more he wants to leave.
17 Sergi Canos:
Who? Oh yes, I remember him, him played near the beginning of the season and looked a real handful and full of energy. That got him demoted to obscurity. Still very young, definitely one to keep, and use!
18 Youssouf Mulumbu:
Recent displays have shown a glimpse of his former self, but is at the wrong end of his career and I’d prefer players like Thomson to get a shout. Feels like some fresh legs are needed in this department for me.
19 Kyle Lafferty:
Oh dear. The River End’s hero! I do feel he’s not been given much of a chance this season, but the failure to move him on if not wanted speaks volumes. Just go already for everybody’s sake.
21 Alex Pritchard:
I think we’ve finally found a long term Wes replacement here, should be playing ‘number 10’ every week for me. Also get him spending as much time with Wes as possible to learn. He’s a great prospect’ Keep.
22 Jacob Murphy:
The boy’s done good! He does however, like all young players need a rest now and again. 100% keep.
24 Ryan Bennett:
OK as a back-up centre back, not the answer in the first-team though. Keep on that basis.
25 Daniel Ivo Pinto:
Legend in the making! Great attacking full-back at this level, makes me wonder what we’d look like with him and Olsson as wing backs in a 3-5-2. Keep him for sure.
26 Michael Turner:
I expect he was kept as back-up due to uncertainty on Klose’s future and confidence in finding a replacement. This speaks volumes on the state on the club. It’s time to move on.
27 Alex Tettey:
I think age and the injuries are starting to catch up with Alex as it’s not been his best season. I mean he’s never been able to pass to a team mate beyond five yards, but has always swept up well and been full of energy. He’s not been this season, maybe time to move on.
30 Carlton Morris:
This boy seems more promising each time I see him. I’d love to see him given a few chances in the first team, and he’s hungry for it, unlike many of the first-team squad. Keep.
31 Josh Murphy:
Seems to have been the victim of his brother’s success, which has been the other way round in the past, but he’s essential to keep for sure. I look forward to the day the first-team has both Murphy boys in it. They can play in the same team you know Alex!
33 Michael McGovern:
Okay, kind of, as a back-up keeper, but should not be first choice. I’d keep him, but only as a number two keeper.
34 Louis Thompson:
This boy looks really promising and his injury was really unfortunate timing for him and the club. I’m looking forward to seeing him alongside Howson once fit again. Keep.
Started well on loan in Scotland but seems to have fallen off a little; that being said, I’d love to see him start to play for the first-team competing with Pritchard. While we have Pritchard, Naismith, Wes and Howson ahead of him in that role though, a loan may be the best place for him although if Naismith moves on I’d recall him. Keep.
Felt a bit sorry for Harry, he had a tough game early season and got loaned out almost immediately after. Not seen enough of him to have an opinion, but I’d rather he got a chance over older players when Olsson inured.
Seems like a better backup to me, so I’d bring him back and tell him to beef it up a bit, maybe he could borrow some from Ruddy.
Too early for a real opinion so loan the best place for him currently. Keep.
Weirdest signing ever, time to move on!
Seems to have been converted to a centre back from midfield. Promising youngster with lots to learn as yet.
So there we go, I think that shows that we maybe need better back-up options at fullback, better options all round at centre-back, better options in defensive midfield and perhaps a better striker. We also need some more power and pace. That aside we’re looking good