Monday, 6 June 2011

436 Chris O'Grady

Position : Forward

Played : 2009-10  ( initially  on  loan  from  Oldham )  to  ?

Appearances : 90  to  date

Goals : 34  to  date

Chris was signed in September as the replacement for Lee Thorpe. He made his League debut for Leicester at the end of 2002-2003 but his next appearance was on loan at Notts County in September 2004. He played 9 games for County without scoring. The following year he made 13 substitute appearances for Leicester and scored his first League goal but made 22 on loan at Rushden and scored 4 goals in their final League campaign. After 10 more games for Leicester he signed for Rotherham for £65,000. Chris enjoyed regular first team football scoring 9 goals in 38 games but the move turned sour in 2008 when Chris refused to agree to a wage deferral as Rotherham went into administration. A transfer to Oldham was quickly arranged but he never established himself at Boundary Park. He made 13 mainly substitute appearances before three loan moves in 2008-09 to Bury ( 6 games no goals ) , Bradford ( 2 games, no goals ) and Stockport ( 18 games, 2 goals).

With his chequered record no one was expecting him to be brilliant and Keith Hill said we should view him as a provider rather than a goalscorer but the caution proved unnecessary. He made his debut at Rotherham and looked good with his strength on the ball and excellent touch. It soon became clear that no defender in League Two could really handle him and soon afterwards he started scoring. He did provide some goals for Chris Dagnall but if anything the relationship worked the other way round and COG eventually out-stripped Daggers to finish top scorer after a season-long battle. Despite being 6 foot 3 Chris was indifferent in the air and all his goals were scored with his feet. With Oldham fans getting increasingly agitated about the number of goals he was getting while they were struggling to score, the pressure on the Board to sign him permanently mounted until they gave way and he signed a two and a half year deal in January 2010 for a reported £90,000.

Chris celebrated days later with a hat-trick at Cheltenham in an awesome team performance. Then of course it fell to him to get the winner at home to Northampton a good finish which finally sealed our promotion after two stutters against Torquay and Darlington. Some might argue that in hindsight it was actually the third goal at Accrington that took us up but as Chris scored that one as well the glory is his either way.

Last season in League One Chris came up against tougher defences and didn’t manage to get into double figures. However some of this was down to more cautious tactics which often required him to play out wide. Chris is actually a very good winger where the combination of skill and strength makes him difficult to stop but he’s still more valuable attacking a cross than delivering it. Towards the end of the season he’d become just as effective a target man as he’d been in League Two but unfortunately he didn’t have a convincing strike partner to take advantage.

It’s to be hoped we can resist offers for him in 2011-12 wherever they might come from as he’d be very difficult to replace.

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