Love him or hate him, I’ll be glad to have him back.
With Donaldson’s return supposedly imminent, we may look forward to a more fruitful spell in front of goal. Whilst I’m uncertain as to whether he will go straight back in to the squad, given it seems he won’t even be training until the end of the week or even come Monday, his progress has been described by Zola as encouraging. Morrison is still a few weeks off a return following his hernia operation and Jacques Maghoma has had four training sessions now and is currently regaining match fitness. Jutkiewicz and Grounds too look likely to make a return to first team football very soon.
Many people have been critical of the Jamaican international’s form this season, but there is no denying the presence of his energy up front, something I feel we’ve been lacking of late. Admittedly, Jutkiewicz has more than fulfilled the striker role recently, having his seasons tally now reach double figures, making him the joint 7th highest goal scorer in the championship this season – along with players of the calibre of Forestieri. This season he has averaged a goal every 205 minutes having played 2,049 minutes. Of the 68 shots he’s had, 36 have been on target, meaning he has a shot on target percentage of 53%, similar to that of most championship strikers this season. Donaldson averages a goal every 218 minutes, having scored 6 goals this season, 5 of which have came from penalties. He might not be able to brag his most prolific season, but to me Donaldson isn’t our goal scorer, he’s the man that causes defences problems, making runs and holding up play. He has built his game on pace and effort, something we can hardly fault him for.
I can’t compare him to Kante, but it’s the same principle, he’s our engine. I’m not going to say that Donaldson is our most skilled striker or our best finisher, I mean when’s the last time you seen him score from outside the 6 yard box? However, without him we always seem to go on a bad run. Such is true of last season also. Last January he got injured following his debut for Jamaica and we went on a horrific losing streak. Likewise we’ve seen a similar fate this January. Maybe it’s just that he’s a lucky charm, but I think it’s because he gives us options up front. As well as this he provides competition or Jutkievicz and Adams, encouraging them to play to the best of their ability too.
It’s not that I’m going to criticise Jutkiewicz or Adams, they’ve been great this season, Adams has shown pace and quality in his play and Jutkievicz has fulfilled his target man role. I’m not suggesting that Donaldson’s better than them either, or that he should replace them, but I would like to see to him play alongside them. We’re no longer in a position as a club that we have to rely on Donaldson for everything, we can play him as a centre forward, behind our target man, a position I personally feel his style of play might suit better.
Whatever you think of him, his hard work I feel doesn’t always get the credit when we win games. However given that the jolly Jamaican is now 33, it’s uncertain just how many seasons he’s got left in him. He seems to be picking up injuries a little too frequently now and given how we look up front without him, it’s hard to see a future with him absent. Maybe Adams was always brought to be his long term replacement, or maybe we are yet to find one. Whoever replaces him I’d deem Donaldson’s career here as successful, especially given that he cost us nothing. However rumour has it we are in store to receive a £26 million transfer budget in the Summer. Comment below what striker you would like to see us bring in this Summer and how much you’d be willing to spend, baring in mind an expensive player doesn’t always make a successful player (Villa comes to mind…).