There’s a saying in football that a team is only as good as its strikers, writes Craig Goldthorp.
In other words, if your strikers aren’t scoring goals, your prospects for success appear about as bright as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s if offered a two-hour stand up comedy gig at a local synagogue.
As I write this, Motherwell FC’s four first team strikers have scored the grand total of three league goals between them.
The hard facts read like this: Danny Johnson – four goals (two in the league); Curtis Main – three goals (zero in the league); Conor Sammon – three goals (zero in the league) and Ryan Bowman – two goals (one in the league).
So, having presented you with these depressing statistics, I think you’ll agree that you don’t need to be a footballing genius to work out that these lads must get their shooting boots on if Motherwell are to climb the Scottish Premiership table and latterly enjoy another positive run in the William Hill Scottish Cup.
Main’s lack of success in front of goal is the biggest surprise to me.
The powerful forward netted eight goals in 21 matches in the second half of last season after joining from Portsmouth in January.
But this term, although the work-rate and set-up play remains more than acceptable, his shooting boots have quite simply deserted him on several occasions.
There appears to be a panic to get the shot at goal away as quickly and as powerfully as possible, often producing attempts which are skewed off target.
Of the other three, Johnson has looked nippy and dangerous but still needs time to fully adapt to the rigours of Scotland’s top flight having played with Gateshead down in the fifth tier of English football for the previous three seasons.
Bowman’s season has been affected by injury problems but the big man has always been a fans’ favourite due to his unwavering work-rate, determination and physicality.
The jury’s out on whether the Sammon loan signing from Hearts was actually necessary. He looks a bit part player and I don’t think many ’Well fans will lose sleep about him being jettisoned back to Gorgie upon his loan expiry next summer.
So, all in all, the striking quartet must do better – starting with this Sunday’s trip to Rangers – and they are all certainly capable of it.
And, with youngsters Chris Cadden and David Turnbull providing the ammunition, there are certainly renewed grounds for optimism that the Steelmen can record their first league win over the Ibrox side since Boxing Day 2002.