by Edwin White
It is every manager’s dream to be able to buy a striker who will instantly hit the ground running. As January and February have passed allowing time for players to settle we will look at some of the instant hits throughout the Championship.
We begin with Chris Wood, who cost Leicester a mere £1 million pound. Since joining on January 1st he has already managed to bag 9 goals in 12 games to add to his tally of 11 goals in the first half of the season with Millwall. The instant impact has allowed Leicester to maintain their promotion ambitions even if they have taken a slight dip in form. Wood has all the attributes to succeed at the top level, his power, pace and predatory instincts have seen heads turning at the King Power Stadium and if the 21 year old continues in his rich vein of goal scoring form I’m sure there will be a few Premiership teams who will be looking to bring the New Zealand international to the Premiership should the Foxes fail in their attempts to get to the top flight.
Steve Bruce has bought stability and consistency to the KC Stadium since arriving in June, which has led to the Tigers being inside the top two of the Championship for the vast majority of the season. In order to carry on with the positive results Bruce needed to strengthen in the market at the beginning of the year and he added to his Egyptian collection by bringing in Gedo and Ahmed Fathy.
The former is on loan until the end of the season, costing Bruce £500,000 but despite the heavy price tag for 6 months, Hull will be keen to extend the strikers stay far beyond May. Gedo has scored 5 in his 6 matches he has played for Hull keeping up their good run of form, allowing them to reduce Cardiff’s lead at the top to just 5 points. The high tempo and physicality of the Championship left a lot wondering whether or not Gedo would be able to adapt to life in England but with him becoming an instant hit on Humberside.
After Leonardo Ulloa signed for Brighton Gus Poyet declared that it was a real coup for the club despite being relatively unknown. But the tall Argentine has certainly hit the ground running, just like his manager had promised. Scoring 4 in his 6 games he is certainly hitting a purple patch that has fired Brighton into the play off positions. With a hat-trick against Huddersfield at the weekend Ulloa is certainly building up a pedigree and with 3 of his 4 goals coming with his head teams will be looking to cut off any supply to 26 year old. Poyet will now be looking for the striker to help with their play off push.
With all three strikers being in great goal scoring form is there a certain formula for making players settle at their new clubs? I think we should firstly look towards their managers. Nigel Pearson and his recruitment staff consisting of Steve Walsh and Craig Shakespeare have always brought young, hungry and cheap players. Players like Anthony Knockaert, Danny Drinkwater and Ritchie De Laet have all impressed this season, a mix that has seen the Foxes looking towards automatic promotion. Chris Wood has the supply and the physical presence to cause defenders problems.
Gus Poyet has obviously been using his knowledge of the Spanish game with the signings of Vicente and David Lopez have really boosted the Seagull’s attacking options. With Poyet being able to speak Spanish the transition of these players into the English game is obviously going to be a lot easier attributing to their recent good form.
As aforementioned Hull have been in the hunt for automatic promotion all season and Steve Bruce has to be given a lot of credit for turning the play – off hopefuls into automatic candidates. The Egyptian influence of Fathi, Gedo and Elmohamady has certainly been a factor in their success. Elmohamady has been in inspiring form managing to get on the score sheet as well as chipping in with 8 assists, 1 behind leader Robbie Brady.
It just remains to be seen whether Wood, Gedo or Ulloa can fire their teams into the play-offs.