Date: 21st September 2016 at 3:09pm
Written by:

Barnsley fans my question to you is simply who would you start up front for the reds if you were picking the team?

I have seen many debates on this on various forums over the last couple of weeks and I am intrigued to get the views of as many Barnsley fans as possible.

First of all this debate has come about because for the first time in a long time, possibly ever, we have a lot of choice up top, and not just a lot numbers wise but also quality wise.

I have had this discussion in the pub with fellow supporters and not many can agree on the same combination. For me that is the great thing about football, different opinions.

One particular forum that I visit all seem to have one opinion and that is that it should be Watkins as a definite starter plus one other.

I wouldn`t disagree that Watkins deserves a mention in the debate. I like him as a player. His effort and work rate cannot be questioned and from time to time he has popped up with important goals and assists. His hold up play can complement the other strikers that we have and he can also be a threat in the air.

However as for being the number one striker no matter what, I just can`t see it. There will be games that are more suited to him starting and if he`s in form then yes by all means start him but if all five strikers were fit and playing to the best of their abilities then Watkins would be number five choice in my eyes.

Despite his unquestionable work rate I have definitely seen Watkins have more bad games than good and his good games are quite often bordering on average. I do like Watkins and I don`t want to be seen as having a go at him but at times I feel like Barnsley fans prefer to see work rate over quality. Both would be good but it doesn`t always happen like that. Also on certain forums there seem to be sheep who just follow what is being said by someone and don`t really have an opinion of their own and in some cases that I know are simply too drunk to know what happens at matches so just agree with their mate.

I don`t see Watkins as an out and out striker/centre forward. I don`t really see him as an out and out winger either. For that reason I just see him as a good squad player to have and he would always be in my match day squad whether that would be starting or as an option from the bench.

As for the other strikers well Armstrong looks the real deal from what little I have seen of him so far. I would certainly be starting him up front. He will score goals and we only have him until January so we might as well use him whilst we can.

As for Bradshaw, he again looks like a natural goal scorer. I do however think that he struggles to get involved in the game when he starts and doesn`t offer much in terms of his all round game. I would use him from the bench and what a great option that is to have someone of his goal scoring ability to come on when you need him.

With Winnall, Armstrong and Bradshaw you`ve got three strikers who scored over 20 goals last season. Ok that was in League One but I think it is far too early in the season to be dismissing some of their claims for starting places and going with Watkins.

Ok if after a few months some of them aren`t scoring then by all means go for a different option up front. Have more of a hold up man than an out and out goal scorer and Watkins could do that job. However my preferred option would be Payne if he is fit. For me he holds the ball up better than Watkins, he is better in the hair and his movement in the right areas is better. He was unlucky to get injured when he did and will face a huge fight to even get on the bench when he`s back but I definitely liked what I saw. He seemed to have everything you want from a centre forward. I`m not sure if the goals would come for him at this level but his all round game looked really good.

Finally I will come on to Sam Winnall who has come in for some stick on the particular forum that I speak about and from some Barnsley fans in general. I would say that these fans have short memories but that is not the case as lot of these fans were giving him stick last season when he was scoring.

First of all it is never easy coming back from injury and you can`t really be expected to hit the ground running. He`s had a few games now and only scored one goal and hasn`t played particularly well.

One thing I will say is that in his first game back, despite not scoring or even playing well, we looked a lot better up front just from him being there. The runs he makes, the being in the box when it matters, the dropping off when needing to, all these attributes make us a better team.

Last season when he was scoring I had fans telling me how bad he was because of all the chances he misses and they didn`t like him because he looks like he`s moaning to the ref a lot.

I like the fact that he misses chances because all good strikers do and the main point in missing those chances is that he was in the right place to be on the end of them which is an art in itself.

When Winnall first came to the club it took him a while to find his scoring boots but all the fans seemed to love him because they said he worked hard. Case in point was Rochdale away that first season when he was isolated up front on his own and he ran round like a headless chicken and couldn`t control a ball all game. He was taken off to a standing ovation.

Months down the line and he`s scoring for fun, his all round game has improved as well and because he`s not running round like a headless chicken then a lot of the fans don`t like him. I often wonder what planet some fans are on.

For me it`s a no brainer. I agree with our head coach and would pick Armstrong and Winnall as our front two.

Don`t get me wrong; I could see a case for maybe dropping Winnall and easing him back in from the bench now that we have so many options but when everyone is fit Armstrong and Winnall surely have to be the starting front two.