We Must Preserve The Core This January

By Dan Buxton
Last updated : 17 December 2009

The Wigan game at the weekend demonstrated much in terms of how our squad is starting to shape up going into the transfer window and where we need to strengthen.  We had long periods of the game where we dominated proceedings, whilst at the same time we had little in terms of creativity in the middle of the park and often found ourselves lacking, linking up the defence and attack.

It was fantastic to see Tuncay score on his full home league debut and a well taken goal shows the class that we were all hoping for. Whether the fact that Pulis had opted to play Tuncay due to the off field activities with Beattie remains to be seen and should the striker move elsewhere in January it may add credence to the rumours that all has not been well between the player and the manager well before the Arsenal game.

One thing is plainly obvious for all to see is the creative hole that we have in central midfield. The hit and hope days need to dwindle rapidly if Pulis is going to give the fans what they want and give Tuncay an extended run in the side. Tuncay is a ball to feet player and the long balls up to him on Saturday showed that his strengths definitely do not lie there. Maybe this is the reason that we have not seen Tuncay in the side before, as the need to play a certain way meant that other players needed to be in the side, despite fitness levels and quality.

Evolution and not revolution is what is needed right now and changing our style of play rapidly will not be productive, but the transfer window coming up is an ideal time to add a couple of the right players to enable us to start making changes, with a creative midfielder and a striker at the top of my list. We need a midfielder who we can build play around and start to link up the three outfield areas without the need to launch the ball forward all the time and prove that with Stoke, there is more than one way to grind out a result. I don't know why, but I saw Tuncay starting on Saturday as a real turning point for us as a club and an indicator that the evolution is about to start.

The January sales can be a minefield, we could all reel off a list of 5 or 6 affordable, attainable options that we could go for and all be dismayed when we lose out on a couple, but we need to remember that to achieve what we need to, personality's need to fit as well as skill.  One example of this is Geovanni for Hull, he is an excellent player on his day, but we all saw too often when they were on their infamous slide last season the petulance of the player and this can definitely breed discontent.

Pulis definitely has a job on his hands, whilst we do need to evolve our style, we also must not forget what we are about and preserve the core. We need to remain solid as a unit both on and off the field, we need to maintain what we stand for, hard work and perseverence and we need to retain our never say die attitude. Like with most businesses, you have to adapt to move forward, but the core of what you are about and what you stand for needs to stay the same.

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