Christmas/New Year is a very expensive time to be a football fan. Games are flying at you thick and fast and before you know it all your Christmas savings have been spent on a mid week away day on the south coast in which you took a stuffing. The new year also marks the half way point of the season. This weekend marks the 23rd game of the campaign so I’ve decided to start my mid-season evaluation of the squad:
Chris Weale: Goalkeeper.
Chris Weale started the season with a nightmare performance against Leeds in the capital one cup. He dropped a shot straight into the path of Becchio early on and was clearly at fault for a later goal as well. Whatever Graham Turner said to him after the game must have worked because he returned to team for the start of the league season and has been a revelation. His performance against Walsall two months ago which I wrote about was nothing short of phenomenal. He has made a few mistakes since then, notably a goal against fellow survival hopefuls Oldham a month ago but overall his performances have been solid.
I must admit that with Weale I do occasionally fear it when he comes out for a ball, as we’ve seen he does have a mistake in him every now and then but overall a solid first half of the campaign for our number one.
Joe Anyon: Goalkeeper
Grade: U (Lack of attendance)
I can’t give Joe Anyon a rating due to having not yet seen him play. He made a 20 minute cameo in our first round JPT game against Crewe but was subbed off due to an injury. Perhaps we will see him play at some point this season but with us being out of all the cups it seems unlikely and I can’t see Weale losing his place between the sticks anytime soon.
Joe Jacobson: Left Back
Joe Jacobson was one of the key performers for our side last season; he was a rock at left back and was very dangerous going forward. Unfortunately this doesn’t seem to have carried forward to League One,though I don’t think this is necessarily his fault. An injury kept him out of the starting 11 at the start of the campaign and therefore meant he found it very difficult getting back into the team once he returned to fitness. His performances haven’t been quite to the same standard that they were last season and he has been caught in possession a lot this campaign but when he’s be good he’s been fantastic. Hopefully we can see a bit more of him in the second half of the campaign.
Jermaine Grandison- Right Back
Grandison is another player who in my opinion has not quite been as good as he was last year. I’m sure many Shrewsbury fans will disagree with me on this one but he looks as though he lacks organisation, showing his inexperience at times when he has been caught out of position. The lack of a real leader at the back has shown and he has tendencies to wander off on his own on occasion. His goal away at Notts County has been one of the highlights of the campaign so far this season however and he is still one of the first names on the team sheet having been relatively consistent over recent weeks.
Darren Jones- Centre Back
For me the verdict is still out on Jones. He has proven that he can win balls in the air and occasionally get stuck into the odd decent tackle but he lacks any real sort of leader ship ability which surprised me considering he was captain of a pretty solid Aldershot side last season. He is clearly struggling to adapt to life in League one and is not one of the best signings of the summer though he did have a very difficult job to do when it come to stepping into the shoes of Ian Sharp. He has improved considerably in recent games and hopefully he can continue to do so in the second half of the season.
Connor Goldson-Centre Back
It’s very difficult to rate Connor Goldson as he only made two outings for the side so far this campaign. However he has particularly impressed me in those two outings so hopefully I can see more of him in the second half. With our squad being very thin at the back Goldson could not have made an impression at a better time and we are yet to lose a game with him in the team. His lack of experience has not been obvious as he made his centre back position his own so far and has made the step up to league one seemingly quite easily.
Lee Collins (Loanee)- Centre Back
Collins was brought in from Barnsley in to give us more options at the back and whilst he started quite well he soon went off the boil. His initial loan was extended and fans were very pleased however it soon became obvious that he just wasn’t quite good enough. His partnership with Jones lacked any sort of organisation and some lacklustre performances soon saw him sent back to Barnsley.
Michael Hektor (Loanee)-Centre Back
Hektor was loaned to us from Reading and we were promised great things, he had just had a successful loan spell at Barnet last season and one of their fans even told me he expected him to play in the premiership one day. We must have been sent the wrong player. After a solid pre-season Hektor looked as though he could live up to his reputation however this was not to be the case. A series of mistakes soon lead to him being sent back to Reading despite the fact that we had a serious shortage of defenders in the squad.
Julian Bennett (Loanee)-Left Back
Bennett came to us on loan from Sheffield Wednesday with a heap of experience and despite what many of our fans had to say about him I was pretty impressed with him. He showed leadership qualities though he was often caught out of position. I’d have liked to have seen him stay longer but that was not to be. He made a handful of appearances for us making it difficult to rate him any higher.
In the second part of my mid season report I will take a look at the midfielders of our squad.