Reeling Andy Bishop in was a big coup for Andy Morrell, and his arrival opens up some interesting tactical options.
First and foremost, signing Bishop is a vindication of Morrell’s approach to the transfer window. His decision not to be rushed into moves, preferring to sign a player because he’ll improve the squad rather than rush into it simply because people are getting twitchy, was a very sensible one. However, it left him open to criticism if the players he brought in weren’t impressive. A marquee signing like Bishop ends the debate.
Bishop looks like a striker who will score goals at this level. His status as a previous Conference top scorer backs that up. His presence will lead to a different approach up front from last season, as he’ll be a fixed point through the middle, you’d think, but not necessarily the sort of target man to wear defenders down as Dele Adebola and Andy Morrell were. This change of tack certainly isn’t a bad idea though, if Bishop delivers in front of goal.
I suppose the departure of Danny Wright was actually the catalyst for change, as he became the focal point of our attack despite his starting point being on the right flank. Losing your top scorer was always bound to change matters, although it’s hardly a novel situation for us: since dropping into the Conference we’ve only held onto our top scorer once during the subsequent close season, and that was Gareth Taylor who was hardly looking for a move at the age of 37.
In fact, over the last eleven seasons we’ve held onto our top scorer just three times: apart from Taylor, Mark Jones in 2006 and Hector Sam in 2004 stuck around, as did Michael Proctor in 2008, although Dean Saunders made it plain he was surplus to requirements and his limited time on the pitch the following season meant he got just one goal, in the last game of the campaign!
As a result of this transience up front, only two strikers in that time have scored in double figures for two consecutive seasons, Hector Sam and Andy Morrell, and the latter had to hang around as he was manager!
So here’s a quiz question for you: when was the last time a Wrexham top scorer not only stayed at the club but was our top dog for two seasons in a row? The answer’s slightly surprising, and is leading me to reappraise the man in question: I always thought Craig Faulconbridge was decent, but not spectacular. However, he was our top scorer for three consecutive seasons between 1999 and 2002.
In the first of those seasons another impressive record of consistent scoring concluded, this time by a more expected name. That was the sixth season in a row that Karl Connolly got into double figures. We could do with stumbling across another gem like Connolly again!