clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Is this Bolton Wanderers' worst ever strikeforce?

New, comments

Our goal-shy striking trio have four goals between them all season, and haven't scored since early September

Leeds United v Bolton Wanderers - Sky Bet Championship
Goal-shy strikers: Gary Madine is leading scorer with 3 goals in 18 games
Photo by Daniel Smith/Getty Images

This may feel like Groundhog Day all over again, but the subject of Bolton Wanderers' goal-shy strikers is one that simply will not go away.

We've had some bad strikers in the past - I raise you Akinori Nishizawa and Mario Jardel, for example - but the current goal-shy crop seem even less capable of hitting the net than any I've seen in my lifetime.

Our current three strikers between them have scored just five goals this season, in a combined 47 appearances.

Lead striker Gary Madine, bless his cotton socks, works hard and puts in a real shift but is totally incapable of scoring goals, Jamie Proctor is struggling for game-time but couldn't even score against Cheltenham Town, and Keshi Anderson seemingly isn't good enough and Phil Parkinson clearly doesn't fancy him.

To avoid any doubt, seeing as Zach Clough - who is our top scorer with six goals in 18 appearances, which is more than the three strikers combined - now plays on the left-wing, he cannot be considered a striker.

Here's a look at how our three strikers have fared so far this season:

Gary Madine

Appearances: 18

Goals: 3

Last Goal: 27th August, at Charlton Athletic in League One

Appearances since last goal: 12

Madine gets a lot of stick from certain sections of the Bolton support - Gary Madine Goal Machine, for example - and it's clear that goalscoring is not a hot trait for the big forward. However, his all-round game has been good this season. He works tirelessly, and often thanklessly, leading the line alone and you get the feeling that if he scored one then he could go on a scoring streak. He could have scored four in the home game in Port Vale and will inevitably get at least one chance every game, but can he begin to convert these chances? He's certainly our leading striker, so let's hope he can begin to convert his decent general form into goals.

Jamie Proctor

Appearances: 21

Goals: 1

Last Goal: 9th August, at Blackpool in the EFL Trophy

Appearances since last goal: 19

Proctor has failed to endear himself to Wanderers fans despite scoring in his second appearance, in the EFL Trophy against Blackpool, and usurping Madine from the starting lineup earlier in the season. He doesn't look like a regular goalscorer and needs to stop his bizarre notion of patrolling the left wing - and 19 appearances without a goal, albeit most of them as a substitute, is a shocking statistic at this level.

Keshi Anderson

Appearances: 8

Goals: 1

Last Goal: 3rd September, at home to Southend in League One

Appearances since last goal: 7

Anderson started well by scoring on his debut against Southend, but has failed to deliver on the promise he showed in that game. He was soon dropped to the bench, then picked up a ridiculous red card at Walsall and hasn't played a single minute in the league in nearly two months. He's on loan at the Macron until the end of the season, but it seems questionable whether he'll last beyond the January transfer window.

Amusingly, while this trio has struggled to hit the back of the net, another Bolton player has usurped all their goal tallies for another League One side. Conor Wilkinson, who looked utterly inept when he came on against Charlton Athletic but setup a goal against Fleetwood Town, went on loan to Chesterfield and scored four goals in five games, before getting injured last month.

A history of goalscoring woes

It's not as if this is a new problem for Bolton. Our top scorer last season was Zach Clough, with seven goals, followed by Liam Feeney and Gary Madine, who both scored five. The previous season our top scorer was Adam Le Fondre, who scored eight goals despite only joining on loan at the end of January, followed by Craig Davies with seven and Clough and Eidur Gudjohnsen, who both scored six.

The last time a Bolton player scored ten goals in a season was when Chris Eagles (a winger) scored 12 in 2012/13, followed by David Ngog with eight goals. However, no striker has achieved that feat since way back in 2010/11, when Johan Elmander hit the back of the net ten times. Going back further, Kevin Davies scored 12 goals in 2008/09, and Nicolas Anelka scored ten and 11 in the previous two seasons.

Way back in 1998/99, when Bolton lost in the First Division play-offs to Ipswich Town, we had an impressive scoring tally with no fewer than three strikers hitting the coveted double figure mark. Bob Taylor led the way with 18 (of which 17 were in the league), followed by Arnar Gunnlaugsson hitting 14 and Dean Holdsworth notching 12, as well as ten from Per Frandsen, while the previous season saw Nathan Blake bag 12 goals.

Going back a couple of seasons before that to 1996/97 gives us the last time Bolton had real, recognised goalscorers as John McGinlay hit 30 goals and Blake scored 25 in the club's final campaign at Burnden Park.

It's hard to imagine any of the current crop getting anywhere near Taylor's tally, let alone that of McGinlay and Blake, especially on current form.

What do you think of our current strikeforce? Let us know in the Comments section below.