The season start away to Cardiff is very quickly coming closer to starting. Do people still feel the need for some signings, or even expecting people to leave? I personally answer Yes to both of these questions.
As I mentioned last time out, I feel we have a side who should be good enough for the play-offs. I still believe this is true, but at the moment I just cannot see where the majority of our goals are going to come from, especially if we continue to play this 4-1-4-1/4-5-1 hybrid formation.
To me Carlton Cole doesn't score enough goals, we should be a good target man, but I find he never knows when to shoot or pass, which causes a major problem. If we are to play this formation then we rely on goals from midfield, as well as our front man, we know Sears can finish, he's shown it time and time again and I feel given the chance for us next season, he could well prove this to everyone, but it could quite easily go the other way, let's hope not! Stanislas is also a fairly good finisher and I feel the same about Matt Taylor, who I believe is a fantastic signing. Barrera on the other hand hasn't really seen enough action to prove his true worth, but he may well be amazing after a couple of games. I feel Nouble should always be sub to Cole up front (if we keep hold of Cole), fair enough Nouble also isn't a proven goal scorer, but he does have strength and pace, so he will always be lively and good enough to bring others in to the game, he just isn't a starter yet. So I would be trying desperately to sign a striker who is known for scoring and would happily say goodbye to Piquonne, who seems to go through spells of being good and awful. I would also sell Cole if a decent offer came in, but that would increase our need for forwards.
If we sign a striker who is more likely to get us goals then I could see our formation needing to change, so that we have a target man and then the goal scorer feeding off of him, which leaves less space in our midfield, if that happens then I think that could see Barrera move elsewhere unless we keep rotating Taylor/Sears/Stanislas/Barrera. Our central midfield should be fine with or without Parker, he is a brilliant player but I feel Noble can comfortably play in a holding roll, he can pass and he is never afraid to put a tackle in, then I would have Collison and Nolan in front or rotate Nolan and Collison if we use a 4-4-2. I'd also like to see Montano play a bit on the wings this season, he's been playing really well in pre season and definitely deserves a chance to prove he can do it. We should also sell Boa Morte, we signed him when he was past his best and he never seems comfortable on the ball anymore.
Defence is another tough decision, will we see Illunga play, will we see Faubert playing? I personally think our starting line up at the back will always have Spence and Tomkins as they should be good enough for this level, I'd always have Faye alongside Tomkins as he has the strength and height that Tomkins lacks, but I feel we need another full back to start, whether it's left or right (preferrably left if I was asked) Illunga just hasn't looked like the same player when we signed him so I think if we get someone who can play there we would be fine, as Matt Fry can come on the left or Spence, but I'd feel Spence is better on the right and then we could sell Faubert and Illunga and use the money to get a right back as well, we could also do with another central defender, unless Reid suddenly becomes incredible...we shall wait and see.
In goal I personally expect Green to go, he is far too good for the Championship, but I defnitely wouldn't buy a new replacement, Stech and Boffin both look like they are more than comfortable to step up to the plate and I feel they should be given a shot. We also have Kurucz still to come back from injury and he could be just as good.
So out of the 4 signings I've heard we apparently need I would say a Left Back and Striker are the 2 most vital that we need, I would also say the others are another Striker and Centre Back, although I would have 5 and add a Right Back on to the list as cover for Spence.
I have faith Allardyce knows exactly what he is doing though as the signings we've made so far all seem very sensible, so lets just wait and see what he does.
Before our new season kicks-off we still have a big friendly against Zaragoza, which I feel will be a true test of our team and will hopefully see us using our main starting line up at first.