Saturday, 25 February 2012

The 2012 Squad

So it seems like the squad has now been fully assembled and I can't see anymore signings in the next week so here is a run through what we think so far:

Oscar Jannson: The on loan Spurs youngster has impressed in his performances to doubt and although he hasn't been tested much in terms of shot stopping he certainly looks like a guy who commands his box, comes for crosses and looks like a safe pair of hands. His constant communication with the back four is evident and he is always available to receive back passes from his back four. His positional sense in realtion to the back four is superb and I think he could be a real hit with Rovers fans and a great addition to the squad.

Reyaad Pieterse: Seems set to be signing after impressing against us for the Nike Academy during our week in England. Excellent reports about the promising young South African but we haven't seen him first hand yet. Work permit issues may scuper a deal but hopefully this won't be the case.

Conor Winn: Another youngster who was trust in at the deep end last season for dismal Galway United and although he performed well against us in Terryland he made a number of mistakes costing goals but the 19 year old has impressed enough to earn a contract and will surely improve working with goalkeeping coach Stephen O'Brien and Oscar Jannson, won't be afirst team regular but maybe one for the future.

Kerrea Gilbert: Quick, strong and an attacking full back true to the Stephen Kenny style, troubled career to date but hopefully a fresh start will see a new Kerrea and we can see his potential finally fulfilled. Expect overlaps galore when Kerrea plays.

Sean Gannon: Looking more impressive everytime I see him in action. Needs to get himself to the gym to catch up physically but the youngster will be pushing Gilbert all the way for first team selection this season and we can expect big things from Sean in the future.

Conor Powell: Probably the best attacking full back in the league two seasons ago but moves to Colchester and Sligo didn't work out well and with lack of games and confidence Powell looks a shadow of his former self. Probably our worst position in terms of strength in depth so Powell needs to improve soon but has shown enough in the past to suggest he can be an important player for us.

Craig Sives: Last seasons player of the year and probably the best defender in the league but the question is can he stay injury free for the season. Unfortunately he probably won't and luckily we have cover in this position, a lack of pace his really his only flaw, would also like to see him add more goals this season but first choice in this position for me.

Ken Oman: Very impressive first season with us last year after a disappointing final year at Bohs. Strong, aggresive and no nonsense, Ken doesn't quite have the quality on the ball that Sives and Gartland have but defensively and aerially he is second to none.

Graham Gartland: Great to secure Grahams services for this season after an injury prone spell at St. Johnstone he has a chance to become a local hero at Rovers. For me he would get the nod alongside Sives for his quality on the ball and more importantly because of the balance he would bring to the back four being a left sided centre half. Needs to curb his aggression and not pick up needless suspensions.

Colin Hawkins: Plenty of eyebrows raised when Kenny brough Hawks in but he impressed we with his willingness to carry the ball out of the back four and contstant attempt to play through midfield in pre-season. Looks fitter and sharper than I expected and will keep the other 3 on their toes and fill in when need. His main role will be on the coaching staff and he will bring valuable experience to the dressing room.

Conor McCormack: Top player, great professional and we did very well to secure him on a 2 year deal. Showed some real glimpses of quality last year and his versatility proved very useful, still young enough and certainly capable of a career in England. I would expect a big season from him with a possible move at the end of the year.

Chris Turner: A player who divides opinions amongst fans but has plenty of quality and potential. Always looks to play forward and attack and adds vital goals. Switches off defensively and will probably not be first choice for me but only because we have real quality in this area.

Stephen O'Donnell: Will always be a hero for the penalty in Belgrade but another who seemed to be a better player against us than he has been for us. Great vision and range of passing but lacks pace and will struggle to make an impact this season unless we have injuries in this area.

Stephen Rice: Everybodys favourite player and longest serving players at the club, best workrate and attitude at the club and this makes up for flaws technically. Would not be first choice for me as we shouldn't need to defend enough to make Ricer useful but will be needed in big games and has a big part to play as a squad player.

Ronan Finn: Amazing ability to drift past players and keep possession in tight areas, last season he frustrated me in the final third by constantly playing passes wide instead of having the real quality to split defences and create chances for our front me. If he adds this to his game he can go far, would start the season as first choice for me along with McCormack.

Billy Dennehy: Scored alot of goals last year and added a number of assists but still frustrated me beacuse for somebody with so much pace he disappoints in 1 v 1 situations by not going past players enough, when he plays on the right he is so one footed that he is easy to defend and his delivery from set-pieces is not good enough for the amount of chances he gets.

Killian Brennan: Poor season by his standards last year but I was still delighted to see him join. Hasn't set the world alight in pre-season but has real quality and would be my first choice in the left wing position. Set piece delivery is superb and could be a make or break season for his career.

Gary McCabe: Start so promisingly last year and had sporadic good performances throughout the year but wouldn't be my first choice this year and needs to become more consistent and effective to gain a starting place.

Aaron Greene: Late signing in place of Dean Kelly and a shrewd one by Stephen Kenny. Greene improved drastically as last season went on and now looks like a real star. Impressed on his debut last week as a front man but for me he would be first choice as a wide right in an attacking 4-4-2 line up.

Gary Twigg: Goalscoring record has been astonishing since joining us. Only problem that Twiggy creates is if he plays we really need to play 4-4-2 to accomodate him but if he keeps scoring 20+ goals a season then we need to play to his strengths. Was at his best with Dessie Baker playing off him and I can see O'Neill or Kavanagh doing that role this season.

Daryl Kavanagh: Was superb for Pats last season as a striker, number 10 and wide man but I think he will be primarly used as a second striker for Rovers or playing as a 10 behind Twigg. Excellent goal against Waterford last week and it will be interesting to see how he settles in at Rovers.

Gary O'Neill: Was the butt of many jokes from Rovers fans last season due to his lack of goals and more importantly lack of fitness. Started so promisingly last year but drifted out of favour, looks much fitter and sharper this seasona and I think he will be the type of player Kenny will use a lot this season due to his compatability with Twigg. May start the season as first choice and then its up to him to keep himself in the team.

Ciaran Kilduff: Flattered to deceive last season after an excellent season at UCD in 2010. Best when playing as a loan frontman but all to often we reverted to long ball tactics when he played. Kilduff is better with the ball to feet linking up with midfielders and playing on the shoulder of defenders. Unlucky to miss most of pre-season with injuries and will find it difficult to establish himself this season.

So thats our review of the squad and what a squad it is, with strength in depth in every position.

Keep on Hooping!

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