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Dickov backs striker to end goal drought

Date online: 13 March 2012

SHEFKI Kuqi has received the renewed backing of his manager as he bids to end his open-play goal drought.

Athletic’s leading scorer has 15 goals to his name this season, putting him fifth in the overall list in npower League One.

Jordan Rhodes (33) of Huddersfield leads the way, ahead of Sheffield United’s Ched Evans (25), Bradley Wright-Phillips of Charlton (19) and Wycombe's Stuart Beavon (17).

While his is a creditable return, Kuqi has not hit the net other than from a pair of penalties since scoring with a header against Bradford in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy back in early December.

Ahead of tonight’s tricky clash at Stevenage, Athletic boss Paul Dickov, though, is backing his luck to change.

“Shefki knows and I know that as a forward, if you are not getting into goalscoring positions then there is a problem,” he said, as Athletic search for a second successive away win at the Lamex Stadium (7.45pm kick-off).

“It is happening — he is getting chances — and it is the old saying that he needs one to go in off his backside, his back or his shoulder to get him going again.

“If he had scored against Yeovil, people would talk about what a fantastic performance he put in.

“He is experienced enough to know that you get your head down and keep trying to do the right things.

“It will come eventually. And though Filly (Morais) has chipped in with a few recently, with the attack minded players we have in the team the goals should be spread out a bit more than they have been this year.”

Athletic’s fit players all came through the Yeovil game with nothing more serious than minor knocks and there are no fresh doubts for tonight's game.

Dickov, who said that captain Dean Furman (knee) is set for a return to full training early next week, is determined his side match up to a Stevenage outfit enhanced by recent loan signings under new manager Gary Smith.

“We have to stand up and be counted, man for man,” said Dickov said. “It is like a lot of away games this year.

“They are a good team and have changed slightly the way that they play.

“If we match their work rate and desire — which I felt was missing on Saturday — then we have a really good chance of winning the game.”

Jean-Yves Mvoto, described as being “jaded” after a long run of games and not in the side against Yeovil, could return to give the defence a physical boost.

Athletic (probable, 4-4-2): Cisak; Lee, Mvoto, Diamond, Mellor; Morais, Brown, Adeyemi (???), Taylor; Reid, Kuqi.

Stevenage drew 2-2 at home with Chesterfield on Saturday, having been 2-0 down at one stage.

Scott Laird and Craig Reid grabbed second-half goals for Boro, who have modified their style to play a more patient game under Smith’s charge.

The line-up is unlikely to be changed, as Smith bids to build an understanding up front with on-loan duo Jordan Slew and Patrick Agyemang.

Stevenage (probable, 4-4-2): Day; Wilson, Laird, Ashton, Roberts; Shroot, Byrom, Bostwick, Freeman; Slew, Agyemang.


Following on from my comment last night, just how long does the Kuqi saga have to go on? Kepping him in the team when he fluffing chances like Saturday's is holding back the development of Matt Smith, who may not be as mobile but who is still capable of scoring and setting up chances and is young with a lot of potential. In recent years there's been a dreary saga of our own young players being edged out by an endless stream of loanees. PD's lack of vision in this respect is very disappointing.

I see stevenage havent won any of their last 7 games in all comps and only picked up 3pts out of the last 15 avaliable...... surely not again ?

Of course he has to back him, he is the only real striker we have!, Morais and Reid forget it!. Get Smith on the Park for a change!.

I am just reading some of PD's comments here, and have to wonder if he is at the same matches as the fans, or does he have the likes of MarkH, Lookerstandandy etc whispering in his ear by the touchline lol, thats probably why Dux and Gerry sit on the bench, they are probably talking a master class to PD!. If we play like we have done of late i do not give us much hope tonight, and no i will not be making the trip wasted enough money this season!.

Ok but what about anyone else scoring? theres a few should have bagged half a dozen this season that havent!

"Dickov backs striker to end goal drought"
Another happy night for the Bookies then as the goal drought continues.

So predictable !

And the drought goes on. Stevenage win. Latics are becoming accustomed to losing. What will PD offer as an excuse after this latest defeat?

When you take on a green manager there is a element of a gamble :- Chris Powell,Keith Curle,Martin Ling,Paulo Di Canio all succeeding & playing good stuff.Unfortunately our gamble has failed & we are in a major relegation fight.Teams around & below us a producing wins & we are not and dont look like we will.One team allways goes in freefall & drops could be us if things dont change rapidly.As said before think PD backing of certain players will cost him his job or the clubs 1st division status.

Joe Royle's first 2 seasons ended just above mid way and 4th bottom (one off relegation). It took him 5 years to get us in the top 6 and 9 to get us promoted. I guess he'd have been sacked by a lot of you moaners on here. MikeyMike, MikeH and I however would have enjoyed better times!

lookers joe made very few bad signings.PD very few good ones.Joe new the importance of signing strikers,R Palmer,F Bunn,A Ritchie and I marshall.Big Joes teams never gave up and even if we were 2-0 or even 3-0 down we still had a chance often did turn it around.I look at the 40+ mins and 80 plus mins and worry we will conceed a goal.Unfortunately we often do.Both JR and I Dowies teams were fitter and concentrated more.PD is a poor manager the sooner it is excepted and he replaced the better.

scott, only two weeks ago we were two nil down at sheffield. Did we give up?

phy4jpk we give up quite a lot usually around 40-45 mins and or 80-95 mins. The manager is too soft and pally with the players. It would not have happened if Dowie or Joe was in charge. Sheff UTd was a freak result don't forget the fab own goal and sending off. The season it not based around 1 game watch the next 6 and you will see what I mean.

phy4jpk do I need to say it? Told you ..


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