Date: 28th February 2007 at 4:08pm
Written by:

The debate over the future of Steve Maclean at the club rolls on and on – this time Vital Sheffield Wednesday contributor Carl Parkin has his say on the goings-on at S6…

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The last week has been dominated with news of the great Steve Maclean debate.

There are good arguments for and against Macca. His record for us is great, but take away his Penalties, and it it not anywhere near as good from open play. I know Pens are still goals, but he needs to be scoring more from open play to be awarded that new contract. The talk a few weeks ago was that he was looking at about £8000 a week for a new contract, this is about £3000 above the salary cap at Hillsborough, so what we have to weigh up is this :–

Brian Laws says he needs 4 new players in the summer, we need real high quality spending in Goal, at Left back, and in Midfield.

Now here is the big thinking point. A player who over last 3 seasons has spent as much time out injured as he has playing is wanting to get a contract that is £3000 a week more than anybody else. We can give him that and hope that he stays fit, and maybe even finds some pace from somewhere, or we can use that extra cash to secure some players in the crucialy below par positions in the team ?

One other argument is to find a position for Macca that suits his qualities. Those of us who went to Burnley saw a quite brilliant performance from Macca who dropped back into almost a midfield position and letting Burton and Small go beyond him.

He was like Sheridan at his best. He threaded passes all over, and held the ball up for the advancing players. Would Macca consider becomming the creative midfielder playing just behind the strikers? We all know how good Teddy Sheringham was and still is in that position, and like Macca, he has never had pace.

The problems that we have is that strikers hunt in pairs, and the best 2 players do not always make the best partnership. Look at Fowler and Owen at Liverpool a few years ago. Two of the best strikers in Europe in the same team, and they could not play with each other.

Most of us know that the best 2 strikers at Hillsborough are Tudgay and Macca, but unfortunately Deon Burton and Tudgay seem to have a better understanding, and so Brian Laws has to pick the right pairing, and unless Steve Maclean can forge an understanding with one of the others, then the best he can manage is the bench.

The thing that Wednesday have been lacking for years is good partnerships in the crucial areas. Remember how good Hirsty and Paul Williams were, then Trevor Francis decided that the fact willow only got ten goals a season was not good enough, so he bought Bright to get him 20 goals, but seemed to forget that a year before Hirsty and Willow had got over 40 goals as a pairing.

Brighty got goals, but him and Hirst never made a 40 goal partnership. The same team also contained Palmer and Sherridan, what a perfect pairing, Carlton did all the running, gave the ball to Shez, and he fed the strikers. Finally, King and Worthington, both fairly steady players, but as a partnership down the left they were amazing.

The King and Worthington pairing leads me onto the biggest weekness of the current team. The left hand side. Unfortunately there are too many fans at Hillsborough who do not know anything about the game itself, and seem to blame so many things on Brunty. He has more skill and ability than anybody else in this team, but when he has a bad game he looks terrible, but there is a good reason for him being frustrating. That reason is without doubt Tommy Spurr. Tommy is loved because he is a local boy coming through the ranks who gives 100%, buit sometimes 100% is not good enough if you can’t do the job !!

We need a Left Back before we buy a player for anywhere else Tommy does try hard, but he is a young centre back, doing his best in a position he cannot play. The game has changed over last few years. Full Backs have to be quick and strong, and when they go over the halfway line they have to be able to play as a winger and beat a man and cross in a ball. Look how Frank Simek has come on this year. He is strong and fast, and gets up and down, and causes trouble for oposition defenders.

Tommy Spurr does not overlap Brunty, so most of the time he has 2 men on him, we need a fullback who will draw players away from Brunty, and create space, so he can put those fantastic whipped crosses in more often. The one last Saturday against Soutend was a great example. Spencer Prior could do nothing with it, and it ended up in the net.

I am sure many people will not agree with some of what i have put, I hope that Macca does find his touch, and earns a contract, but he will have to work bloody hard to convince me that he is worth double his money.

Carl Parkin