50 Shades Of Optimism -The Shaun Batt Story
Millwall have recently returned from a 3 game pre-season tour of Ireland from which they may have come home with 2 wins and a draw under their belts.
The Lions may also come home having filled one of the centre forward positions; a major concern before the trip; in the shape of Shaun Batt
After three good performances in Ireland, Batt has surely but himself in Kenny Jacketts’ mind for the upcoming season. Two goals in three games was a good return for the injury prone forward. Yes, they may have been against Longford Town, but goals are goals no matter where or how they are scored. Plus Batt would have been desperate to just score in a match since his horrific two year sidelining injury.
But the tour of Ireland did show one of the weaknesses that have now come into Batt’s play since the injury. Durability of a set period of games, three games in six days, and this proved too much for “BATTman’ as he limped off in the final game of the tour.
With the league calendar, especially in the final weeks of the season and around Christmas, being ever-so similar, three games in seven days, it could see Jackett picking and choosing which games for Batt to play in.
Despite the problem that may come about with durability over quick game periods, Jackett has describe Batt as “There are signs that he is getting back to the player we saw when he joined us from Peterborough,” which can only be positive for the team, and Batt himself.
I believe that Batt could prove to be a surprise player in the team this season. Since the injury, surprisingly he has got faster and a lot stronger. He is also huge so a big strong and fast player to play against, I wouldn’t fancy it. Batt is also a player who goes in 100% for every ball despite the previous injury he’s not carrying the stigma about getting injured again, a very good prospect.
The question is who would he play with?
Who knows if Darius Henderson will be at The Den come August, but I could see that as a good partnership due to Henderson power and prescience, epically in the air, this also added on with Batt’s blistering pace.
The obvious choice would be Andy Keogh as he will now be considered the Lions main strike point. But I see both Keogh and Batt as similar players, both “Real ‘Wall” type players – always chasing down lost causes and putting tackles in on the wing, whereas someone with Henderson’s positioning and style of play would suit Batt. Hendo upfront would leave Batt to chase when needed.
Despite this it also looks likely that Jackett will dip into the loan market in order to add tooth the Lions attack, with Arsenal youngster and England U-19 international Benik Afobe looking like being Kenny Jacketts’ main striker target after keeping an interest in him since the beginning of last season. Less then three weeks until the first competitive game against Crawley in the Capital One Cup, anyone else counting down the days like me?
Would you play Shaun Batt upfront?