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In Search Of A Goalscorer

With promotion in the bag, where will the goals come from in The Championship next season?

Oldham Athletic V Bolton Wanderers- Sky Bet League One
Will Adam Le Fondre become a permanent Wanderer? Ole Ole
Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Now that Bolton Wanderers have secured promotion, we've all had a nice drink to celebrate and had a little chuckle at Wigan Athletic and Blackburn Rovers heading in the opposite direction, it's time to turn our attention to The Championship next season.

Without beating the skin of a drum long-since worn out, it's fairly clear that one of Phil Parkinson's biggest tasks next season will be to find that most elusive of assets - a goalscoring striker.

Frugal goalscoring efforts

Looking back at the recently completed, albeit successful, season, it is a real concern that no Wanderers player reached double figures in league goals, and the top scorer in all competitions only managed to score ten times.

In the end, two players reached that ten-goal mark: Gary Madine, who basically stumbled to that milestone having amassed 42 appearances, and Josh Vela, who amassed an impressive club-high 53 appearances. Both scored nine in the league, and were joined on that figure on the final day of the season by centre-back and player of the year David Wheater.

Just two goals behind that trio was Mark Beevers, who scored seven vital goals from centre-half, and a further goal behind was Adam Le Fondre, who scored six times in his 19 appearances since re-joining the club in January.

The next highest goal tally is that of Jay Spearing who scored just three goals, of which two were in the first three matches of the season and the most recent was way back in early February. Only two players managed to hit the net twice and five players managed just the solitary goal.

Compare that figure to Sheffield United's Billy Sharp, who more than tripled our most prolific players' tallies with 30 goals, the 24-goal haul of James Vaughan at lowly Bury, the 19 goals and 16 assists of Scunthorpe United's Josh Morris, the 17 goals scored by Millwall's Lee Gregory, and the 16-goal hauls of Southend United's Simon Cox and Matty Taylor, who left Bristol Rovers in January, and it's clear there's a major issue that needs addressing.

Potential goal-scoring options

Now that we've agreed (I've told you) we need to find some goals next season, it seems only fair to look elsewhere at what options may be available to us.

Adam Le Fondre

An obvious, yet wholly realistic option to start with, Adam Le Fondre's recent form suggests he could be a viable option for next season. I thought his performance against Peterborough United on the final day was his most impressive since his return to the club - he looked lively, hungry and dangerous, and he was full of running to cause an ongoing threat to the opposition.

Darren Bent

The former England striker may have astronomical wage demands compared to Bolton's budget despite now being 33, but he has proved he can still do a job at Championship level. He's scored more league goals than any of our players this season, notching 13 goals in 41 appearances for Derby County - most of which have been off the bench. That included a streak of 9 goals in 14 games in January and February, suggesting there's goals in him given the opportunity if he was to depart Derby at the end of his contract this summer.

Yaya Sanogo

A player I've lovingly dubbed Yaya Sanogoal, it's clear he's not exactly renowned for bagging on a regular basis. However, the Arsenal man is still just 24, is out of contract this summer and scored three times in four starts on loan at Charlton Athletic earlier this year. Would he consider a move to The Championship and, more importantly, would his wage demands be too much? Well, he needs to get his career back on track and he's the kind of player I could see Phil Parkinson getting the best out of.

Devante Cole

The son of former Manchester United and England star Andy, the 21-year-old scored half of his eight goals for Fleetwood this season in last 10 games. He's also out of contract this summer and could be a budget option with plenty of potential to work with.

Chris Willock

Remember how we sold our player of the season to Arsenal for a mere £2 million last summer? Well I think that The Gunners owe us a favour for the services of Rob Holding - who is clearly already a better player than Gabriel Paulista - and could repay it by lending us the services of 19-year-old Willock for a season. Arsenal are thought to be open to a loan deal, but rumour has it Celtic are already sniffing around him with Patrick Roberts set to return to Manchester City.

Billy Sharp

It would have been remiss of me not to have popped the out-of-contract 30-goal man onto this list, even if it is just to wind up any stray Sheffield United fan that may stumble across this article. Just imagine the deadly strikeforce Sharp and Big Gaz Madine could form together. And imagine how he'd flourish at a far bigger club. You know you want to Billy.

Who would you like to see Bolton sign to strengthen our striking options? Feel free to suggest anyone that's not on our radar in the Comments section below.