The Price of Fish
For a couple of seasons now it’s been a common thread in all Derby County related discussion that “we just need that £1m striker”. So in August this year when we finally got one, hopes were high that Conor Sammon was the final piece in the jigsaw. A barnstorming home debut, a cracking goal and a 5-1 tonking of Watford did nothing to quell anyone’s enthusiasm.
However just 19 games into his Derby career, its fair to say that Conor is a player that splits opinion amongst the DCFC massive.
Based on what I’ve seen of Conor so far, and I accept Cloughs comment that it probably took him 10 games or so to get fit and up to speed, he’s almost the polar opposite of Rob Hulse, another player who split opinion (yet strangely seems more popular since he left than when he was here) .
Hulse was a player who had zero nuisance value, would often disappear for 20 minute spells and was regularly bossed by your average championship centre half. Having said that, he knew his way around the penalty area and was a cracking finisher. Built like a gypsy bare knuckle boxer, Sammon on the other hand is almost constantly involved in every game, running himself into the floor for the cause and generally giving most centre halves a rough afternoon. The debate begins when you look at his finishing and decision making.
At the time of writing, Conor has scored 4 goals in 19 games for the Rams, so just short of 1 in 4. He certainly could and should have had more than that but Simon Cox, widely lauded as what you could get for real money, only has 5 in 17. Billy Sharp also only has 5 in 17, and he’s a player where you really do get nothing outside of finishing.
If there’s one area where Conor does frustrate me at times it’s his decision making around the box. Lots of times, I’ve seen him try to play someone in or check back when he could just have a crack. Witness also his rabbit in the headlights moment at Leicester when he had Schmeichel in all sorts of problems and then just stood still and got tackled. Herein lies the problem, having waited so long for a million pound striker, Rams fans were waiting for Ricky Lambert or Grant Holt and that’s not Conor at the moment and, arguably, not his natural game either.
Our friends at www.derbycountyblog.com made a great point recently in that, if Glick had signed Conor 18 months previously for £650k (just £200k more than Chris Porter Tom!) as he should have done, then there is no doubt Sammon would now be a full on cult hero, probably tearing up the Championship. However having sat on Wigan’s subs bench for 18 months (ignore that 1 goal in 32 stat for Wigan, its nonsense, most were sub appearances), he’s got to re-find the purple patch he was on at Kilmarnock and also battle with the weight of expectation that a £1m price tag brings.