Thursday, 1 November 2012

Could the Sparrow Poyet has cast aside be the answer for the Seagulls?

When Brighton & Hove Albion released their list of squad numbers earlier this season there were more than a few eyebrows raised when certain players were left out.

Will Hoskins, who Gus Poyet paid a sizeable wad of Tony Bloom's hard earned to sign from Bristol Rovers, and Matt Sparrow were both nowhere to be seen. Mr Utility Romain Vincelot was also conspicuous by his absence.

These were three players who Brighton fans would have headed into the new season expecting to see in or around the first team squad, if not initially demanding a starting spot.

Hoskins is on the road to recovery after a nasty injury and a loan spell at Sheffield United and, with the Albion struggling in the final third, will be knocking on the door of the match day 18 sooner rather than later.

A striker of undoubted potential who showed what he was capable of by coming off the bench to notch an impressive goal in the Seagulls' 3v1 away win at Cardiff City last term.

Craig Mackail-Smith may be Poyet's first choice central striker, but with the Albion looking decidedly lightweight in attacking options from the bench, Hoskins must be hopeful of at least getting a glimpse of first team action over the coming weeks.

Vincelot has taken the other route to first team football, opting to join Gillingham on loan. Some fans would have been surprised to see him drop down to the bottom tier of professional football but the Frenchman opted for a move which would guarantee him his preferred midfield berth. He scored on his inaugural appearance.

That leaves Matt Sparrow. A player who arrived from Scunthorpe United with a solid reputation and immediately endeared himself to the Albion faithful by chalking up both goals in an opening day win away to Swindon.

Sadly though, for both Sparrow and the Albion, his time on the south coast has been somewhat stop start since that opening flurry. In fact, most recently, it has been very much stuck in a 20 mile tail backed traffic jam stalled. And, some might argue, unfairly so.

Poyet has recruited a small entourage of midfielders in recent months but has generally struggled to find a central three who can play alongside each other and dovetail successfully.

Dean Hammond, Andrew Crofts and Liam Bridcutt appear to be Poyet's trio of choice but there have been calls to bump Gary Dicker up the pecking order to provide someone more capable of string-pulling in the often congested midfield.

And, despite the fact he is currently running out with the development squad, Matt Sparrow should also be considered.

A neat and tidy footballer, Sparrow operates best in the attacking areas in which Hammond and Crofts look uncomfortable operating in and his occasional performances last season - including a star turn in a 3v0 home win over Southampton alongside Jake Forster-Caskey - surely deserve consideration. Many fans will be thinking that if Ryan Harley still merits a slot in the first team squad, Matt Sparrow surely deserves as much.

A goalscoring threat with both feet and someone who is adept at making runs ahead of the ball and occupying defenders who in turn relax their attention on the likes of Mackail-Smith, Sparrow could be the attacking linchpin Poyet has been looking for since Vicente last limped away from action.

All we are saying Gus, is give Sparrow a chance.

1 comment:

  1. I've never seen what Hammond offers us that Sparrow doesn't. I didn't want him back anyway, but not just because of that celebration at Withdean - he lacks mobility and can be a passenger. Sparrow carries more threat going forward and covers more ground than him, and I simply can't see what Poyet sees in Hammond over Spadge.

    Looks like he's heading back to Scunthorpe, anyway. Good luck to the lad.