Owls need a proven goalscorer

Jacques Maghoma
Jacques Maghoma
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Milan Mandaric and Dave Jones do not need anyone to tell them that the Owls need an additional striker, writes Paul Thompson.

It is getting one that has been the problem all summer.

The Owls did not have £4m to spend on Charlie Austin, whose move from Burnley to QPR on the eve of the new season proved that money talks.

But the difficulty of landing an affordable and suitable player plus the defeats in the first two matches of the campaign gIve no cause for panic, especially with three weeks to go before the summer transfer window closes.

August, 2012, saw a flurry of activity: including the arrival of a big-name striker on loan on August 31, which at the time seemed a welcome development.

He was of course Jay Bothroyd; though that move did not work out as planned, it showed that the month can bring major changes, and it is only full transfers, half-season loans and full-season loans that must be completed during the summer window.

The emergency-loan system makes it possible to borrow players on a shorter-term basis at almost any time during the season.

Jones has confirmed that he expects to use the loan market again.

Moves by the meddlers at FIFA to ban emergency loans are not welcome by the Football League or managers such as Jones, who believes in free trading at every level and abhors the windows.

There has been a suggestion that this could be the last season in which emergency loans are permitted.The league’s chief operating officer, Andy Williamson, regards the windows as a “straightjacket” that has reduced clubs’ incomes and says that if emergency deals were barred then clubs would have to carry bigger staffs and therefore come under greater financial pressure.

It seems a safe bet that Jones will get somebody in before September - and he wants another midfield player. The equation includes having to get players out, in order to balance the books.

Two excellent goals in the first two games, by Atdhe Nuhiu and Rhys McCabe, did nothing to alter the verdict that the team need a goalscorer who is proven at Championship level, maybe a poacher such as Leroy Lita.

Nuhiu is new to England so has no track record, though that does not mean he cannot establish one. I still remember that Kenwyne Jones had not netted a league goal until he came on loan to Hillsborough.

McCabe, of course, is a midfield player not a goal-scorer by trade, though his two so far for the club have been spectacular: his volley in the 2-0 win against Charlton in December and his long-range free kick at Rotherham.

One of the problems at the New York Stadium was that the team struggled to make any chances.

They created more and played better football at QPR. Maybe a true poacher would have put away the clear-cut opportunity that Michail Antonio missed.

Jacques Maghoma was prolific in League Two last season, with 18 goals; can he reproduce that in the Championship? He very nearly got off the mark with the shot that hit the post at Loftus Road.

Gary Madine’s restricted opportunities seem to suggest that Jones does not think he is the answer at this level.

Everybody found it hard going against an effervescent Rotherham side, and it is a bit of a worry when the manager has to pinpoint defensive shortcomings at vital moments, in each of the first two games. Conceding goals too easily was one of the problems in the early part of last season.

Still, there was very little difference between Wednesday and a costly QPR side packed with Premier League experience, and the outcome would have been different if the referee had got two penalty decisions right..

What happened next happens many times every season: a team come up against lower-division opposition in the Cup and get knocked out. Defeat for the Owls was looming before Jermaine Johnson got himself sent off.

Others losers included Middlesbrough, who were beaten 2-1 at home by Accrington Stanley.

Boro manager Tony Mowbray said: “*If you don’t stick the ball into the net when the chances come, you’re always vulnerable.”

That’s why the Owls need a scorer.