Date:Wednesday February 24 2010
When Leicester received the news that star striker Matty Fryatt would sit out a vital two months of their Championship campaign, there was one particular man whose shoulders would now carry the weight of expectation.
That man was Martyn Waghorn, the 20-year-old plucked from Sunderland's reserves by Nigel Pearson in the summer.
Waghorn's goal against Doncaster yesterday evening, the winner in a tight affair, was his seventh of the season and helped push City a place further into the play-off positions.
Many City fans had written off any hopes of reaching the top six after the news of their 12-goal man's injury, perhaps understandably so all things taken into consideration. A team which notoriously struggled to find the back of the net losing a player they relied heavily on for goals hardly formulated a recipe for success.
But despite being overshadowed by Paul Gallagher's excellent hat-trick in the 5-1 demolition of Scunthorpe midway through the month, for those that had faith it was always going to be the youngster Waghorn who would be the man to fill Fryatt's boots.
Getting a well-taken goal in that game himself, it is in the tighter matches in which Waghorn's credentials have shone through. Important goals against Swansea, Coventry, Reading, Scunthorpe and Doncaster at some stage of the season have all earned priceless points for City to help the cause, as Pearson's men bid for a previously unthinkable back-to-back promotion.
His debut goal against Swansea on the opening day from the substitutes bench gave City fans a taste of what was to follow, his raw pace and hard work up front not being seen in a blue shirt for quite some time.
There is still a long way to go of this campaign, and by no means is anything settled yet. We are still a side who struggle to find the back of the net, but this is simply a reminder that we do have the players without Fryatt to stake a real claim at the play-offs this year.
Whilst Waghorn may be the spearhead of our effective new-look front three, it should also be mentioned that Gallagher, Dyer and N'Guessan are all capable of hitting the target when they want to.
Talk of a permanent move for Waghorn will undoubtedly be rife in the summer, with hints from the player himself suggesting that this possibility could well become reality. Leicester will certainly make their enquiries, Waghorn is likely to be interested, but whether or not Steve Bruce will allow his young starlet to leave is another matter entirely.
Date:Wednesday February 24 2010
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