By Chris Mills
As County announced the side to face Brackley last night, there was a sense of deja vu in the line up. With County adopting a 4-2-3-1 formation against Town, it was a throwback to the Gannon glory days of 2007/08, where Anthony Pilkington and Tommy Rowe supported lone striker Liam Dickinson in County’s attack.
This time, a slightly less glamorous front three of Felix, Lloyd and Amis took to the field with a clear aim of replicating the game plan that brought County so much success that season. But against a solid Brackley team the three struggled, especially after the break, to create any sort of impact.
The idea of a front three is not an anomaly in this squad, County have started matches using a 4-4-2 on a limited number of occasions this season, in fact the last time we did was against Hyde in the FA Cup 3rd qualifying round, where Odejayi and Spencer started up top.
Since then, Gannon has adopted either Amis or Odejayi as the lone front man and whilst both players put shifts in and have helped propel us towards the play-offs, it’s no secret that County are struggling for goals outside the prolific Lloyd.
Gannon has claimed in the past that Amis has been continually getting in the positions to score but has been unlucky, but if County are realistic with their aim for promotion we need somebody that can chip in. Whether that will be Amis, Odejayi or another striker remains to be seen but a number of fans will be sceptical of our long-term prospects if we are just relying on one player to score for us.
I still believe that Gannon is very close to creating a promotion winning team, we’ve got a solid back 5/6 and combative midfielders in Montrose and Stopforth (for the time being) and a fantastic winger in Danny Lloyd who will score 20 a season without fail. Ball is also a good young prospect and has chipped in goals on occasions this season. But if we’re going to get promoted I feel that we need either another pacey winger who can score and provide (Felix could be the answer but I’m not 100% sold yet) or a goal-scoring striker. Odejayi is a good team player but without a balanced front three we struggle to utilise his talents (laying off to either winger or scoring from crosses).
We’re on the cusp of the play-offs, I can’t complain too much. But whilst I fully believe that Gannon will get us promoted, I don’t believe that he’s quite cracked this team just yet.