A Cardiff and a Bolton fan’s view of Adam Le Fondre

 

 

Wigan Athletic yesterday announced the loan signing of 29 year old striker Adam Le Fondre from Cardiff City. The loan is until the end of the season, when the player’s contract at Cardiff is due to expire.

The 5 ft 9 in tall Le Fondre is a proven goalscorer with a tally of 175 in his professional career, including 14 for Reading in the Premier League in the 2012-13 season. Although he has been through some lean times in the last couple of seasons he is eager to get back to his best. On signing for Latics he said:

“This move is going to give me a platform to perform again and consistently play football. There is a lot of hard work in front of me and a lot of goals to score, but that’s what I am here to do.

Le Fondre was born in Stockport and joined his local club. He made his debut for County in September 2004 as an 18 year old, scoring a goal in a 3-1 League Cup win over Bury. He went on to make 63 appearances, scoring 18 goals in three seasons there. In January 2007 he went on loan to Rochdale, the move becoming permanent that summer. He went on to spend two more seasons at Rochdale making a total of 96 appearances and scoring 34 goals.

Rotherham United paid an undisclosed transfer fee for Le Fondre in the summer of 2009. He stayed there two seasons with a goal tally of 54 in 96 games. In late August 2011 he joined Reading, then in the Championship, for a fee of £350,000. Reading were promoted that season , with Le Fondre scoring 16 goals in 38 league appearances. The 2012-13 season saw him break the Premier League record for goals as a substitute, also being voted Reading’s Player of the Season. The 2014-15 season saw Reading back in the Championship, Le Fondre scoring back to back home hat tricks in January 2014 against Bolton Wanderers and Blackpool.

Le Fondre left Reading in the summer of 2014 having scored 42 goals in 110 appearances in all competitions, signing for Cardiff City for an undisclosed fee. In January 2015 he joined Bolton Wanderers on loan, finishing their top scorer for the 2014-15 season with 8 goals. Le Fondre spent the 2015-16 season on loan at Wolves where he made 26 appearances, scoring three goals. He had made a total of 23 appearances for Cardiff, scoring three goals.

In order to learn more about Le Fondre’s time at Cardiff we contacted Ben James of the View from the Ninian site.

Here’s over to Ben:

The signing of Adam Le Fondre promised so much and delivered very little. A shaky start under Ole meant ALF was either played out of position or not given enough game time. While fans were expecting goals, he couldn’t deliver and was quickly shipped out on loan around Christmas of that first season.

And after that, he’s never really been back. I had very high hopes for him but he’s not fulfilled any of the promise and I think it’s more the clubs fault than his.

I hope he can turn it around at Wigan because he’s talented, no doubt. It just feels like a case of right player, wrong time for Cardiff.

 

To learn more about Le Fondre’s time at Bolton we contacted Chris Mann of the Burnden Aces fan site http://www.burndenaces.co.uk (Twitter @BurndenAces ).

So, Adam Le Fondre joins the ever-growing list of former Bolton players to pitch up at the DW Stadium.

 Le Fondre – Alfie as he became to be known – has a record that speaks for itself. He’s scored goals at every level, including the Premier League, but appears to have hit a sticky patch in his career.

 Wanderers fans were first introduced to Le Fondre when he netted a first-half hat-trick in our dismal 7-1 defeat at Reading in January 2014. Luckily for you, Adam Bogdan avoids embarrassment due to being an unused substitute that day, as was Craig Davies. Sanmi Odelusi got 25 minutes though…

 He joined Cardiff City at the end of that season but struggled to hit top form for the Bluebirds, before finding success once again during a loan spell at Macron Stadium – netting eight times in 17 games and claiming the Golden Boot award, despite signing midway through the campaign.

 Le Fondre struck up a superb partnership with the emerging Zach Clough at the time and hopes were high that a permanent deal could be struck, before the full extent of our financial problems became public knowledge.

 Clearly, Le Fondre was out of our price range, as was pretty much every professional footballer on the planet, and he instead spent last season on loan at Wolverhampton Wanderers. Again, he failed to impress, but any player would struggle to score goals when restricted to the substitute role he was largely given.

 For whatever reason, his time at Cardiff hasn’t worked out. Le Fondre is too good to be rotting away in the reserves of any Championship club.

 If his time at Bolton is anything to go by, Alfie may take a couple of games to get into his stride. If so, stick with him and once that first goal arrives and the confidence begins to return, Latics should have one of the division’s top goalscorers on their books and, if you play your cards right, a man who will be available for free next summer.

 

 

 

Fan views – Part 4: Reece James and Craig Morgan

Given that we now have a wider readership than in our earlier days we will occasionally republish articles from our archives, that some may not have seen. We ask our long-established readers will bear with us on this. We will continue to put out our stream of current articles.

Our site stats have shown that our readership has been particularly interested in perspectives of Latics players from fans of their previous clubs. Thanks to contributions made by bloggers on the fan sites of those clubs for these articles from our archives.

Click here for our previous fan views on Yanic Wildschut and Jordy Hiwula.

Click here for our previous fan views on Andy Kellett and Haris Vuckic.

Click here for our previous fan views on Will Grigg and Craig Davies.

 

A Huddersfield fan’s view of Reece James.

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Written by: Marko (Twitter @marko2807) is a Huddersfield Town SC holder & ATT Town Fans Panel Member and Matthew (Twitter @mtthwrks).

Published: July 30, 2015.

 

The 21 year old Reece James joined Wigan Athletic just over a week ago on a three year contract for a fee of around £1million. Within a couple of days he was to play his first game for his new club, playing at left wing back in the pre-season game at Dens Park, Dundee.

James had arrived at Wigan with a good reputation and his display in Dundee did not disappoint. In fact he was arguably Latics’ best player that day, being a constant threat to the home team, showing a fine technique and putting over quality crosses and corner kicks.

The 5 ft 11 12 in tall James was born in Bacup and began his football career just five miles away at Rossendale United as a youth player. He enjoyed brief spells at Preston North End and Blackburn Rovers before joining Manchester United as an 18 year old in July 2012. He went to Carlisle United on loan in summer 2013, but returned to United in September due to injury. He was to be one of the outstanding performers for their under 21 team that season. He made his senior team debut in July 2014, scoring two goals in a 7-0 victory over Los Angeles Galaxy.

In November 2014 James went to Rotherham on loan, making 8 appearances before returning in late January. In late March 2015 he joined Huddersfield Town on loan and played with them until the end of the season, making 6 appearances and scoring a goal directly from a corner against Derby County.

In order to find out more about James’ time at Huddersfield we contacted a couple of Terriers’ fans.

Here’s over to Marko (Twitter @marko2807):

Huddersfield Manager Chris Powell swooped for the loan signing of Reece James from Manchester United following the long term injury to season long loanee from QPR Jack Robinson. Robinson who suffered a serious knee injury after steadily growing into a very competent full back left a big hole in the Town back line which was already known for shipping too many goals.  Powell tried in house to fill the gap but soon brought in James on loan until the end of the season as it became evident following Robinsons injury and Paul Dixons return to Scotland, that was a problem position for us.

 Being brought up through the United academy, you would always expect players to be of a certain level and James was no different.  This was James third loan spell after previously making just one senior appearance for Carlisle in 2013 before a 7 game spell at Rotherham.  

James made just 6 appearances for the Terriers, scoring one goal,  but made a very favourable impression. With no recognised first choice left back, many Town fans assumed that the club would go in for James either on a season long loan or a permanent transfer.

 It’s unclear if Town did make enquiries into the possibility of a return for him but then instead swooped for Australian world cup star Jayson Davidson from West Brom.  Whilst being pleased with the signing of Davidson however It was met with some surprise by many fans that James made a move down the divisions into League one when it’s clear that he is more than capable of playing at a higher level. 

Perhaps the lure of bigger wages enabled from the continuation of the rather unfair parachute payments was the case but either way, in my view, Wigan have signed an excellent young footballer who will only get better and should really shine in League One.

 I for one will be watching with interest at how he progresses. 

 Here’s over to Matthew (Twitter @mtthwrks).

It’s quite difficult to go into enormous depth as he only made 6 appearances towards the back end of last season after an injury to previous loanee Jack Robinson, but from what Town fans saw in just 540 minutes of football, the vast majority were impressed.

He seemed to be quite an attacking minded full-back, but in contrast to your modern day “attacking full-backs”, was more than capable of doing his defensive duties. It was evident to Town fans he was schooled at Manchester United and, albeit only a brief stint, we had our first decent left-back in years!

He takes a good set-piece, particularly corners. In fact, he actually scored directly from a corner in Town’s 4-4 draw with Derby, his first and only current senior goal.

What to expect? Not goals. But you can expect 100% commitment, tidy deliveries into the box from the left side and a pretty complete young full-back.

Put it this way, there wasn’t a Huddersfield Town fan about that wasn’t disappointed when hearing we weren’t going to be in for him.

Furthermore, there were a lot of shocked fans about when hearing he’d be playing in League One next season, as he’s more than capable of playing regular Championship football. Best of luck to him!

 

 

A Rotherham fan’s view of Craig Morgan.

 

Morgan

 

Written by: It’s Millers Time (Twitter @millerstimerufc)

Published: July 31, 2015.

 

 

Craig Morgan was Gary Caldwell’s third signing some six weeks ago, following on from David Perkins and Richard O’Donnell. At the time Caldwell commented that:

“He has great experience, having played internationally, but he also knows the division inside out. He is a quality defender, a real leader on the pitch who has been a captain, with a superb attitude and we are delighted to have him on board.”

Morgan surely knows League 1 well – moreover he was part of teams that gained back to back promotions to the Championship division with both Peterborough United and Rotherham United.

The 30 year old Welshman was born in Flint and began his footballing career some 15 miles away at Wrexham, making

his debut for them as a 16 year old. He was to play for the Welsh club for three years before allowing his contract to run down after 52 appearances.

In summer 2005 he joined MK Dons and made 47 appearances that season. He made his debut for Wales in October 2006, but a week later he re-joined Wrexham on a one month loan, making two appearances before being sent out on loan to Peterborough United at the end of November.

The initial loan turned into a permanent transfer in January 2007. He was to make 41 appearances in the 2007-08 season when the Posh won promotion to League 1. At the beginning of the 2008-09 season Morgan was made captain at the age of 23. The Posh finished runners up to Leicester City, gaining promotion to the Championship.

Morgan went on to make 125 appearances for them in three and a half seasons, before Preston North End paid £400,000 for him to rejoin his former Peterborough manager, Darren Ferguson. A few months later Ferguson was sacked and replaced by Phil Brown, Preston being subsequently relegated to League 1 at the end of the season. Morgan’s contract at Preston was cancelled by mutual consent on the transfer deadline at the end of August 2012. He had made 50 appearances.

Morgan joined Rotherham United and they gained promotion to League 1 in that 2012-13 season. The following season Morgan was made captain, with them beating Leyton Orient in the League 1 playoff final. Morgan continued to captain the side as the Millers managed to stay in the Championship last season. Despite having an offer of a new contract from Rotherham he chose to join Latics, turning down an approach from Bolton Wanderers.

On joining Latics Morgan said:

“The changeover of the chairman and the manager last season seems to have given the club a fresh start for this new season. The club hit a very low point last season, but the only way is north for us and that’s why I was excited about coming here. I played here at the start of the year for Rotherham. It’s a good place to play football and it’s in desperate need of having the feelgood factor restored to it.”

Morgan had made 83 appearances for  Rotherham. He has 23 caps for Wales.

In order to learn more about Morgan’s time at Rotherham we contacted fan site It’s Millers Time (Twitter @millerstimerufc)

Here’s over to them:

Craig Morgan will be the perfect signing for Wigan in League One.

 A leader by example, Morgan has plenty of experience of winning promotion in that division and will be a focal point of the defence.

 He’ll win his headers, he’ll make his clearances and be strong in challenges. He is also comfortable in possession and is not a hoof merchant.

 One thing he does lack his pace, but he makes up for it with his positional sense. He could also be better in the opposition box as he does not provide much threat from set-pieces.

 

 

A Cardiff fan’s view of Alex Revell

RevellIt was announced yesterday that Wigan Athletic have signed 32 year old Cardiff target man Alex Revell on a short term loan until January 23rd .

The 6 ft 3 in tall Revell was born in Cambridge and is a product of the Cambridge United youth system. After a four year spell with United in League 2, making 57 appearances and scoring 8 goals, he moved on to non-league Braintree Town. After scoring 39 goals in 65 appearances and helping Braintree get promotion to the Conference South, Revell signed for Brighton and Hove Albion in the summer of 2005 for £8,000.

After scoring 21 goals in 59 appearances in a two and a half year stay in Brighton, Revell moved on to Southend United in January 2008 for a fee of £150,000. In January 2009 Revell broke his leg in a game against Leyton Orient, missing the remainder of the season. In the 2009-10 season he was sent out on loan to Swindon Town and Wycombe Wanderers. During his time at Roots Hall, Revell had made 34 appearances, scoring 6 goals.

In summer 2010 he joined Leyton Orient, where he stayed for a year, and scoring 13 goals in 44 appearances. At the end of August 2011, Revell signed for League 2 Rotherham United. He went on to become a fan favourite as Rotherham climbed up to the Championship division under the management of Steve Evans.  In his four years there Revell made 150 appearances, scoring 28 goals.

Revell scored Rotherham’s first goal in the 2014 League 1 playoff first leg against Preston. He went on to score two goals in the final when they drew 2-2 with Leyton Orient, before Rotherham won the resulting penalty shootout. Revell’s second goal had been a spectacular effort from 40 yards out.

In January 2015 Revell  joined Cardiff City for a £400,000 fee. At the time Evans told the Rotherham Advertiser that:

“Without Alex I couldn’t have been a Championship Manager, not just because of his two goals at Wembley but his performances all the way through the last season. During my time here there has only been about two or three occasions when he’s not played when not injured. The greatest tribute I can give him is that the highlights he has given me as a manager will be in my thoughts on my deathbed – and I can’t say that about many players. He’s been stunning and he’s a great individual and pro off and on the pitch.”

On signing for Cardiff,  Revell was rejoining Russell Slade who had been his manager at Leyton Orient. However, he has had a hard time at the Welsh club, scoring just two goals in 15 starts and 10 appearances off the bench.

In order to learn more about Revell’s time at Cardiff we have once more reached out to Benjamin James of the View from the Ninian site (@ViewFromTheNin).

Here’s over to Ben:

Alex Revell kind of looks like a footballer in as much as he has the boots and plays professionally for Cardiff. I don’t want to be too harsh on him but I have spent the best part of ten months bemoaning his lack of ability. He’s never been a prolific striker and when Slade signed him, it was clear he was never going to anything other than a back-up to Jones.

Due to our lack of options this season, he has started more games than I thought he would but he’s never made a big impact. A big man up top, he seems to struggle to win headers. A willing runner who rarely threatens the goal, he’s only managed a couple in his time at Cardiff – one was a spectacular one at Brentford last year and he does seem to have the odd belter in his locker.

It’s an odd departure for us; another striker of ours has just been ruled out for six weeks and Revell leaving means Jones and Mason are only out and out strikers who aren’t injured or on loan. Either Slade is signing someone else or Revell is so poorly thought of, it doesn’t matter if he stays or not.

Saying this, he’ll probably smash them in for you lot. I’ll just be very, very surprised if he does. 

 

 

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Relying on other teams’ results

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They are five points adrift in a relegation struggle, with just seven matches to go. Failure to win points in the next couple of games could practically seal the saddest of ends to a troubled season for Wigan Athletic.

Moreover one of those games is against a Middlesbrough team currently one point from an automatic promotion place with the joint best home record in the division. The second is a home game against a Derby County team that many of us thought was the best in the division, but has suffered a series of adverse results over recent weeks. Derby too will be desperate for a good result to get themselves back on track. Eyeing a Latics home record of W2 D8 L10 they must fancy their chances.

Supporters of many clubs would have psychologically thrown in the towel at this stage, given such a scenario. But optimism still remains among many Wigan Athletic supporters. There are people who believe that Malky Mackay’s patched up team of journeymen and short term signings can get the results needed to avoid the drop. After all, as supporters they have faced adversity before and given their full weight of support to their struggling teams with startling results. The neutral observer would be well advised never to count out Wigan Athletic.

It was looking ominous in the 2006-07 season when Latics went into the last match at Sheffield United needing a win to stay in the Premier League. But a fine finish by Paul Scharner, an ice-cool penalty from David Unsworth and gritty backs-to the-wall defending in the closing minutes helped keep the Blades out, consign them to relegation and keep Latics up.

The 2010-11 season also had a remarkable finale. Latics had gone into their penultimate game at home to West Ham, three points adrift of safety with a goal difference that was inferior to the teams above them. The Hammers were 2-0 up after just 26 minutes and Latics were a shambles. But they kept plugging away and scored two good goals through Charles N’Zogbia and Conor Sammon. However, the scores were tied as the game went into time added on. Four minutes later West Ham keeper Robert Green allowed a weak shot from N’Zogbia to squirm under his body to give Latics an invaluable three points, consigning his own team to relegation in the process.

Latics went into the last match of the season at Stoke level in 19th place, level on points with Blackpool and Birmingham, but with an inferior goal difference. Wolves and Blackburn stood just one point above them. It looked like Wigan had to win at the Stadium against a home side that had only lost four out of the eighteen home games they had played. But Hugo Rodallega’s header from Maynor Figueroa’s cross was to prove sufficient for a remarkable 1-0 win. In the event a draw would have been sufficient to keep Latics up as Blackpool and Birmingham both lost on that fateful day.

The following season Latics were once more locked in a relegation struggle and by the end of January they were in bottom place. Then came a slight upturn in results over February and March, but relegation looked certain. The revival that took place from late March onwards was nothing short of miraculous, with wins following against Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United. Latics were to win 7 of their last 9 matches to finish in 15th place, seven points clear of relegation.

Can Wigan Athletic achieve yet another great escape this season? Can Mackay inspire his team to get the results needed to avoid the drop in the same way as his predecessors Paul Jewell and Roberto Martinez? Fan support was crucial in such situations in the past. Will it be an essential element again? Will “Believe” come to the fore once more?

The current situation is serious. Latics remain 5 points behind 21st placed Rotherham and 8 points behind Fulham a place above the Yorkshire outfit. Either of the two could drop into the relegation zone should Latics get a good run of results. The pressure is on all teams in that relegation zone at this time of the season and teams can often go into freefall.

The last round of games was certainly eventful. Latics got a point through a 94th equalizer against Bolton, Fulham won 2-0 at Huddersfield with Nakhi Wells missing two penalties for the home team and Rotherham went down 3-2 at home to Sheffield Wednesday despite leading 2-1 after the regular 90 minutes.

Prior to that win Fulham had only won one of their last 13. It remains to be seen whether their win at Huddersfield will have boosted their sagging confidence sufficiently to end the season well. Like Latics they were one of the teams favoured by the bookies for promotion at the start of the season. Moreover they had paid around £12m for the striking duo of Ross McCormack and Matt Smith.

Rotherham’s defeat after being so close to a vital victory must have been hard for them to bear. After being beaten at home by Latics in mid-March they lost at Nottingham Forest before that fateful game with Wednesday. The question is whether they have the resilience to pick themselves up after such a cruel loss.

Despite a series of bad results and sacking their manager Millwall can still avoid relegation. They have drawn the last two games, 1-1 at home to Brighton and 2-2 away at promotion-chasing Brentford. They are just two points behind Wigan.

Wigan Athletic meanwhile continue to fail at home, despite four consecutive wins on the road. It is to be hoped that the failure to beat a poor Bolton side will not haunt them later. Mackay has put together a team that is willing to scrap for victory, which was not the case when he first arrived. However, it is doubtful whether his squad has the quality to get the kinds of results in the remaining matches that would render those of the other relegation candidates close to irrelevant.

Put simply Mackay needs either Fulham or Rotherham to fall apart while his own team narrows the gap. He also has to hope that Millwall cannot finish with a flurry. Should this not happen Latics will surely be doomed.

The next two games will go a long way towards deciding Wigan Athletic’s future in the Championship division. Tomorrow while Latics are away to Middlesbrough, Fulham play at home to Brentford, Rotherham travel to Birmingham and Millwall have a London derby at home to Charlton. Both Latics and Rotherham face games on Easter Monday, at home to Derby and Brighton respectively. Fulham have a day’s grace and play away at Charlton on Tuesday. Millwall have an eight day break before their next game on April 11th.

During the days of Roberto Martinez he would typically focus on his own team’s performances and results, rather than those of other teams in the danger zone. However, the results of the other teams certainly had an impact on where Latics were to end up.

Providing Latics can get good results in the final seven matches they will have a chance of staying up. Ideally they would win at least five of them, but given the squad they have it seems unlikely. The hope is that Fulham and Rotherham will fare much worse and Millwall no better.

Wigan Athletic’s hopes of avoiding relegation are very much dependent on the implosion of teams above them. Stranger things than that have happened in the past, but it surely should not be counted upon.