Rasiak leaves striking dilemma

Last updated : 15 August 2008 By Chris C
At 29 and with a proven goalscoring record in the Championship Polish international Rasiak was one of Saints' most valuable assets. However, Saints have found it difficult to find a club willing to take on his high wages and pay the associated transfer fee for a player of his talents.

The signs were clear with Rasiak yet to feature in a first team squad that he was another the club were looking to move on after the departure on loan of fellow Pole Saganowski.

The decision to play a sole striker supported by two mobile wide men and an attacking midfielder meant that Saints were unable to play Rasiak and John, two of the highest earners, in the same team. The form of McGoldrick in the lone striking role meant that there was even a question mark over whether they would both make the bench.

Stern John's effort in training and excellent cameo against Exeter linking play expertly in the holding role has made him a strong candidate for a start against Birmingham. In scoring from the attacking right position McGoldrick showed that he was versatile enough to allow John's experience and goal threat to get into the team.

Thompson is still finding his way in first team football and may be more effective as an impact player from the bench providing Poortvliet with a potentially dangerous front line, particularly when taking into consideration Holmes' goal against Exeter.

McGoldrick has certainly taken his chance up front but over the course of the season Saints need options up front and John offers more threat in the air to finish off chances created from the flanks.

The real question mark though over letting Rasiak go is what happens when Saints get injuries. Saints do though have options. Thompson, Dyer, Wright-Phillips are all options on the right flank and can even play on the left. Indeed if the club can't find a buyer then Rudi Skacel may even come back into the frame if he can apply himself in training.

That leaves John and McGoldrick through the middle and hopefully both will remain injury free or Saints really will have a problem, already having little margin for form to dip. At present Euell remains a viable option if Lallana gets injured or loses form, although the club has shown all the signs of wanting to move the high earner on having omitted him from the squads so far.

It's a long season in the Championship and time will tell how risky Saints' strategy is of trimming the squad to its minimum when injuries are certain to play their part. Of course Saints' precarious financial position leaves them little choice.

A win against Birmingham would certainly help...