Monday, 20 February 2012

A Striking Situation

With the recent lack of goals coming from the forwards department in recent weeks, The View From The Red Zone looks back at a selection of strikers from past years that have shone (or not) in front of the Oakwell faithful.

In my eight or so years of watching Barnsley play, I have never seen a striker who I believe can score 20+ goals and perform at a consistently high standard throughout the season, and I believe this is what is holding us back at the moment. Kicking the list off is a striker who we have to go all the way back to 2005 to see in a Reds shirt...

Paul Hayes

The first man on the list is Dagenham-born Paul Hayes, who came to Barnsley with high expectations after a magnificent 2004-05 season with Scunthorpe United, scoring 20 goals in 51 appearances for The Iron. A hard-working striker who gave his all for the club and scored seven goals in his first season, helping the South Yorkshire club to play-off final glory at the expense of Swansea City. He was always a grafter but never had the end product, despite scoring the opener in that famous victory over The Swans in Cardiff. He never really settled in to his surroundings at Oakwell and found himself shipped back to Scunthorpe in March of 2007.

Hayes went down in Barnsley folklore with this volley.

Three years after leaving Barnsley, Hayes found himself pulling on a Reds shirt again in 2010 - but this time to an unsuccessful loan spell in which he failed to find the net in seven games. In his time back at the club he did however show the same effort that he did in his first period at Oakwell and was very unlucky to wrongly have a 94th minute equaliser ruled out away at Swansea.

Istvan Ferenczi

Deemed as Paul Hayes' replacement, 'Stan' started his career in England with a bang, scoring six goals in his first seven games. The pick of these goals being a lovely curling effort in a televised game against Stoke City. Ferenczi made a name for himself due to his ability in the air. He scored a fair few headers in his time with the Yorkshire outfit - notably against Blackpool and Preston in which his goals helped the team to victory.

Although he had great power and strength, he never really took off and only chipped in with six goals in the 37 games after his impressive scoring run, which eventually saw him transfer-listed by then manager Simon Davey. This baron run may have been down the fact that his attacking partner, Peter Rajczi, had gone back to Hungary after his loan deal had expired. Had Rajczi not gone back to his homeland, we may have seen more high-calibre performances from the tall Hungarian.
Rajczi (left) and Ferenczi formed a formidable partnership when playing together.

Kayode Odejayi

Odejayi joined Barnsley in May of 2007 from Cheltenham Town. He went through a rough spell in his first season at Oakwell, being booed off the pitch at half time at home to Southampton after missing three one-on-one chances to score. Despite being publicly backed by defender Bobby Hassell and manager Simon Davey, Odejayi failed to recreate the form that earned him a £200,000 move to Barnsley.

A big build meant that Odejayi was never easy to knock off the ball and his electrifying speed caused defenders no end of problems, but his finishing left something to be desired. His terrible inability to put the ball in the net on a regular basis lead to him being labelled a donkey by a majority of fans. However, in March 2008, the 6 ft 3 in striker went down in Barnsley folklore as he rose highest to head home a superb Martin Devaney cross in the quarter finals of the FA Cup against Chelsea at Oakwell. This goal eventually proved to be the goal that knocked the holders out. His prominence was short-lived though, as in the semi-final of the competition he missed a glorious chance to equalize having been put through on goal by Brian Howard.


Scoring against Chelsea in the FA Cup quarter-final tie at Oakwell in 2008.

Iain Hume

A £1.2m signing from newly relegated Leicester, Iain Hume came to Oakwell with sky high expectations and started off in astute fashion, scoring just five minutes into his debut in 2-1 loss at QPR.
Effort was never a thing he lacked and this was shown in his performances through 'til the beginning of November - chipping in with three more goals vs Derby, Doncaster and Sheffield Wednesday. A downside to Hume's game was his inevitability to always be found offside. However there were more advantages than disadvantages to his game, until that game.

On November 8th 2008 in the 35th minute of a heated derby between Barnsley and Sheffield United, Chris Morgan purposely elbowed Hume in the head leaving the Canadian with a life threatening fractured skull.

Hume, moments after he sustained his injury.

Hume returned to action in the first home game of the 2009-10 season against Coventry City. He was never the same after returning to action and scored only five goals in his time with Barnsley after that. He'd lost many of his attributes and most notably he was pulling out of headers and tackles, wary of possibly suffering another injury. At the start of the 2010-11 season he was shipped out to Preston North End on loan and scored four goals in 14 games. He's since gone on to join them on a permanent basis.

Hume is a totally different player at Preston.

Daniel Bogdanovic

One of the most prolific men on this list, 'Boggy' started off in fine form with a goal on his debut against Ipswich. The tall striker had a little bit of everything in his game - strength, pace, finishing, awareness, and like a lot of foreign footballers in England, there was an element of greed. Bogdanovic looked to be the striker that the Oakwell outfit had been desperate to find for years, until the greedy side of him came out.

After scoring and impressive 16 goals in 45 league games for Barnsley, he rejected a new deal with the club to join South Yorkshire neighbours Sheffield United, whom he had 'supported as a boy'. Sheffield United were relegated the following season, with Bogdanovic scoring only five goals throughout the campaign and gaining the nickname 'Daniel Leagueoneovic' from Barnsley fans (This due to the fact that United were relegated to League One).

Since leaving Barnsley, his career has spiralled downhill, with his latest appearances coming for lowly League One team, Rochdale.

His career may have been so much better had he shown an ounce of loyalty.

Danny Haynes

Signed from Bristol City for only £200,000 in January, Haynes was another striker who had high hopes at Oakwell but never lived up to the expectations. He started off his Oakwell career in blistering form, scoring three goals in his first five games - including a brace in a 2-0 win away at local rivals Doncaster Rovers - as well as having two further goals chalked off for offside against Swansea and Leicester.

After scoring in the victory at Doncaster.

His main attribute was always his speed and was the main reason he was usually able to beat a man, by sprinting past with ease. His finishing was never the best it could be however he had a fantastic scoring record for the remainder of the 2010-11 season to say he was played out on the wing. He eventually left Oakwell with a record of six goals in 32 appearances. After only playing a handful of games in the 2011-12 season, he was shipped out to Charlton Athletic - of whom he played for as a youngster. This came after a supposed bust-up between the player's family member and another player's family member.

Craig Davies

The last player on the list, Craig Davies, has started his footballing career in South Yorkshire with a bang. A free agent after leaving League Two champions Chesterfield, he joined the Reds as Hill's second summer recruitment.

After picking up an injury at the start of the season, Davies didn't really start performing until late October, and when he did, he started with a blaze of goals. His first goal coming in a 2-1 home defeat to Bristol City. Following this, he hit another seven in seven to move him up to 3rd in the scoring charts. This run of form stopped after the new year and since then he's only scored twice. Davies doesn't do easy chances though. Having missed several 1-on-1s, he's more than made up for those with screamers against Peterborough, Leeds and Nottingham Forest. He is definitely looking like the striker that so many fans have missed gracing Oakwell in past years. His strength, height and ability to strike the ball so hard make him one of the most feared strikers in the league. All in all, another gem that Keith Hill has uncovered and will have to tie him down with a long term contract.

Scoring a contender for goal of the season against Peterborough.

The rest of a bad bunch

There have been contenders for other bad strikers on this list, but the two who offered nothing accept for the one goal each are a Peruvian ponce and a not-so-great Dane. Yes, the two players here are two acquisitions from the worst manager I have seen manage Barnsley, Simon Davey. Both signed by the Welshman at the start of the 2007-08 season, nobody had really heard of either of them which left thoughts pondering upon the Barnsley fans of whether or not they could perform to the standard needed at the Championship level. Evidently, the answer was no, they could not.

The Peruvian, Miguel Mostto didn't even look like a footballer, never mind a striker. His shooting was off, he was a slow starter and he just needlessly gave possession of the ball away. The only thing he ever contributed to the team was an equalizing strike in a home game with Watford which spurred the team to go on and win 2-1. His strike partner at the time was a Danish player going by the name of Kim Christensen. Another player who wasn't physically or mentally ready to play in such a demanding league but chipped in with a very important goal to give Barnsley a point away at Charlton Athletic. Despite his height of 6 ft 3 in, he failed to be a dominant presence in the air. After playing 11 times for Barnsley, he went back to his native Denmark where he has remained since.

Two of the worst strikers to play at Oakwell since promotion from League One?

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