By Nathan Bees
It’s Friday January 31st and that means one thing - Transfer Deadline Day.
I am sure many of us will be glued to Sky Sports News and Twitter throughout the day to keep on top of the latest transfer developments around the country. It’s quite exciting to discover the big name players who may be making their way to the Premier League in the final hours of the window but the only thing I really want to read is: ‘Bristol Rovers have signed…’.
Little excitement has emanated from the Memorial Stadium offices on recent deadline days but today could be different given our obvious need for a striker - despite John Ward’s attempts to play down late activity.
It is no secret that the club have been searching for a poacher in the last few weeks with Chairman Nick Higgs and manager John Ward both admitting that things need to improve in forward areas.
We will all have our fingers crossed but it remains to be seen if anything can be completed before the 10pm deadline.
A lack of goals has been a problem for us all season and Tuesday night’s bitterly disappointing defeat to Accrington Stanley underlined our attacking deficiencies. Last summer saw us fail to bring in any strikers despite the fact Oumare Tounkara and Tom Hitchcock departed the club, however, you could argue our problems stem back to summer 2011.
Having suffered relegation from League One, Rovers sold top scorer and prized-asset Will Hoskins to Championship-bound Brighton & Hove Albion for a substantial six-figure fee.
Probably less than Hoskins’ market value at the time but not a bad profit on a player who signed on a free transfer from Watford 11 months earlier.
I don’t think any Rovers fan had an issue with the sale given Will’s desire to leave but we simply didn’t replace him and have paid the price ever since. That’s the frustration.
It was an impossible task to get someone anywhere near Will’s ability to come in and play League Two football but we required a player of similar ilk to take his place.
Goalscoring is by no means a new concern; it is an ongoing problem.
While all this is alarming, let’s not underestimate our manager here. Ward’s ‘reluctance’ to bring someone in today could well be a pokerface to ensure a deal he is pursuing crosses the line.
Managers have to be canny in the modern football world and this time of year is where decades of experience can pay off. I’ve learnt over time that what a manager says to the press and what a manager does are two completely different things. You should always take the things they say with a pinch of salt.
Our only January signing so far seems to be a shrewd one given their performances in the games against Newport County and Accrington. Kaid Mohamed was everything he billed himself to be: fast, direct and keen to score.
His goal against County was a tidy finish and he caused their back-line all manner of problems. Admittedly he did lack composure on Tuesday evening against Stanley but he did very well to work himself some opportunities on what was a difficult pitch.
Overall I think he has made a positive impact so far and his presence has provided us with much more width than we have had at any time this season.
His style of play will be a good weapon for us, particularly away from home, and I’m confident that the more games he plays the more menacing he will become.
The pace and power he brings to the team will be an important part of the way we play from now on and I’m looking forward to seeing him in action again tomorrow afternoon at league leaders Chesterfield.
It will be one of our toughest games of the season but we should be buoyed by our performance against Newport and the fact we held the Spireites to a goalless draw with a depleted squad earlier in the season. Confidence is all important and if we have that we give ourselves a chance.
I’m sure squad morale will be even higher if we make the trip north having signed the striker we all crave at some point today.
It may be a long shot but what’s football without hope?