Pratley is Swans’ top scorer, but it mustn’t stay that way

Posted on September 18, 2010

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By Tim Harris
 
DARREN Pratley is currently Swansea City’s top scorer, joint with youngster Scott Sinclair.  But the Swans desperately need a vast increase in goals from their strike force.

Pratley has netted 3 goals already this season, proof that the Swansea midfielder has managed to continue the good form that he showcased at the Liberty Stadium last season.

Darren Pratley - Mr dependable

And while Pratley is a great asset for the club, and a player that can always be relied upon to put in a performance, the longer he remains on top of the scoring charts, the more it underlines the fact that the Swansea strikers are really struggling to find goals.

Pratley netted 7 times last season; which was more than any other Swans player. 

In the 09/10 campaign Swansea only scored a mere 40 goals – the least of any team in the Championship.  Incredibly, they still managed to finish 7th, and only narrowly missed out on the playoffs.

This feat was partially down to infallible performances of goalkeeper Dorus De Vries and the Swansea City defence.

However, and to great concern, it also drew attention to Swansea’s torrid time in front of goal.

Shefki Kuqi, who regularly featured in the Swansea line-up as the main attacking option, struggled to produce a significant amount of goals for the club.

Kuqi was far from prolific last season

Lee Trundle managed to score a number of times, but only in the limited appearances that former Swans manager Paulo Sousa allowed him.

The remainder of Swansea’s goals were spread across a number of players, with barely anyone coming remotely near Pratley’s total of 7.

And this has to change if Swansea are to stand any chance of chasing a playoff finish this season.

New manager Brendan Rodgers has his work cut out if he is to prove himself capable of hoisting Swansea from their goal drought.

Scott Sinclair has arrived from Chelsea as the first step towards this target.  And the 21-year-old forward has made a decent start at the club, now joint top scorer with Pratley.

Swans fans will also hope that Stephen Dobbie, who has returned to the Liberty after a loan spell at Blackpool, can find some more Championship goals in the coming fixtures.

But Rodgers will need a very substantial return from his players if he is to demonstrate to the supporters that Paulo Sousa’s ‘defensive style’ of football is firmly in the past.

The new Swans manager must find the best in his forwards

Swansea currently sit 13th in the table, and consistently scoring points will be essential to ensure that the teams at the top don’t stray too far from sight.

The next two fixtures against Scunthorpe this afternoon, and Peterborough on Tuesday, are absolutely critical with testing away trips lying just around the corner.

It feels wrong to identify Darren Pratley’s success in front of goal as a negative thing.  Pratley is an outstanding player, and a fantastic talent for Swansea.

And should his form continue to flourish, more and more questions will be asked regarding a potential return to the Premier League.

Pratley was on the books at Fulham several seasons past, but only ever featured as a substitute.  Since then however, the 25-year-old’s development as a player has helped him creep into the peripherals of other clubs.

Would it be too farcical to suggest that Fulham were unfortunately hasty to part company with Darren Pratley?  I could definitely envisage Pratley lining up alongside Clint Dempsey, Simon Davies, and Dickson Etuhu.

And he doesn’t look out of place.

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