Football League Expert & Columnist
FL72: Peter Beagrie says Watford are missing West Brom's Matej Vydra
Peter Beagrie says Watford are suffering without Matej Vydra - and urges Reading to sign the Czech.
Last Updated: 25/11/13 11:27am
The former winger, who played over 770 games, representing clubs in all four tiers of the English footballing pyramid, including Manchester City, Everton, Bradford, Sheffield United, Scunthorpe, and Grimsby, forms part of the Sky Sports punditry team for all the big matches in the Championship, League One and League Two.
So if you have a poser for Peter, whether it's about your team, a player, match or incident that has caught your eye, or a wider point on the Football League, send it in.
Read below for this week's column where Beags talks Matej Vydra, Newport's young guns, winning Wolves, resurgent Plymouth and Bradford hotshot Nahki Wells...
WAT'S THE MATTER?
What do you think is going wrong for Watford this year compared to last year? And who would you say we're missing the most out of Chalobah, Vydra and Abdi (injured since August)? Adam
BEAGS SAYS: Nathaniel Chalobah (pictured), Matej Vydra and Almen Abdi would have added considerably to Watford's armoury had Gianfranco Zola been able to call upon their talents but, for me, Vydra's availability could have seen the Hornets with at least nine more points on the board. Both Chalobah and Abdi were a pivotal part of the fluent Watford midfield - with the former offering athleticism and the latter creativity and goals - but Lewis McGugan has done his bit to lessen the impact of them not playing and it is Vydra, who not only brought goals but made other teams change the way they played defensively, who has been sorely missed. He took the pressure of Troy Deeney from a scoring point of view and was ruthless with his finishing and his absence was highlighted for me in the 2-2 draw at Middlesbrough, where chances to kill off the game came and went and it became a case of two points dropped, not one point gained. Zola's midfield is not as fluid as last term but there have been major changes in that important area and he will be hoping that once the loanees and other players gel they will become more cohesive as a unit and the tempo and consistency of results will return.
CZECH HIM OUT
Hi Peter, If Pavel Pogrebnyak leaves Reading in January, who would be a good replacement? royals1701
BEAGS SAYS: I've just mentioned a striker who scored 20 goals last season in the Championship and is not getting regular first-team football in the Premier League with West Brom in Matej Vydra. I would watch the Czech's situation with interest as I think he would be brilliant for your Reading side. You could pair him with Jason Roberts or Adam le Fondre, as either partnership would stretch teams, particularly away from home, and he is someone who would make an immediate impact. Nigel Adkins has a good reputation for improving and getting the right service to goalscorers - Rickie Lambert, Billy Sharp and Gary Hooper spring to mind - and Vydra, even though he is a completely different type of player to Pogrebnyak, would prove a welcome addition to the Royals' front line.
Do you think it is only a matter of time before Nahki Wells is playing in the Championship - at least? Thanks, Simon Webb
BEAGS SAYS: I do, Simon. Nahki's talent is certainly enough for him to perform in the Championship at some stage in his career, but Bradford turned down a £1million+ offer for him and handed him a new three-year deal so his immediate future lies with the Bantams. Ability alone is not enough for a player to succeed as at some stage he will be found lacking unless he has a belief, confidence and a work-ethic to add to his natural talent. Nahki, however, has a tremendous attitude; there never seems to be a lost cause as he chases down the opposition's defenders, expecting and anticipating mistakes and working selflessly for the team. Wells' attributes are there for all to see and the cup run against Premier League opposition last year proved he can worry defenders from the top league and compete beyond League One. In an ideal world, his ambition to play in the Championship and, ultimately, the Premier League will be realised with Bradford, but he faces stiff competition this season from sides with young, ambitious, talented strikers like himself. Callum Wilson at Coventry, another with pace, trickery and athleticism; Britt Assombalonga, Peterborough's sensational striker; and Wolves man Griffiths all have the happy knack of finding the net and they will have a huge say on the outcome in what promises to be a fascinating finish to League One.
Having only been plucked out of the lower end of the non-League pyramid a year ago, Conor Washington is having an incredible season for Newport so far. Do you think he has a bright future in the game? Josh Harris
BEAGS SAYS: I certainly like what I've seen from Conor so far, Josh; your newly-promoted side are having an outstanding season and he is one of the reasons why. After his sensational non-League scoring stats at St Ives, Newport's 21-year-old former postman has delivered (sorry!), both in terms of performance and progression. Probably surprised to have played so many games due to injuries to others, Conor was recently rewarded with a new contract and looks to have the ability and mental attitude to carve out a decent career. It's great to see County doing so well under Justin Edinburgh with a nice blend of youth and experience and, like Washington, youngster Andrew Hughes has had a wonderful season so far and the academy graduate will soon reach a milestone of 100 appearances for the club, with is testament to his talents.
Wolves moved to the top of League One at the weekend, but which players have you been most impressed by this season? Freddie Wilson
BEAGS SAYS: One of Wolves' most impressive performers has been 'keeper Carl Ikeme (pictured); in so many games this season he has made big saves at important times, something that has been overlooked when Wanderers have gone on to get a result. You also have the best player in the division in Bakary Sako, while the loan signing of James Henry gives you a guaranteed supply of crosses and creativity and a source of goals, too. Leigh Griffiths is thriving in League One, just as Kenny Jackett said he would when he took up the one-year option on the striker who scored 28 times on loan at Hibernian last season and bagged the SPFA Young Player of the Year award to boot. I said at the start of the season, though, that Wolves' biggest asset would be me their manager and Mr Sense and Sensibility is not letting me, you or your fellow Wanderers fans down.
PLYMOUTH NEED GYLE
Do you think Plymouth will steer clear of the League Two relegation zone this season? Luke Garbutt
BEAGS SAYS: Luke, I've always thought Plymouth's squad, although small, has enough quality to stay up. I had faith in John Sheridan to be the man to make sure of that and often this season results and points tally have not been in line with performances. John was left frustrated at the beginning of the season about the lack of goals, with good approach play and attacking intent fizzling out in the final third. Reuben Reid and Lewis Alessandra are Plymouth's best strike-force and while Paul Hayes' loan from Brentford failed to produce goals, it may have been enough to spark the other two and provide an alternative. Argyle are unbeaten in four games and looking solid defensively, but I know John would like his men to be a bit more creative, particularly in the wide areas. However, things certainly look rosy in the Argyle garden and Reid's hat-trick in the FA Cup replay against Lincoln will hopefully see him find the form he had at Rotherham a few years ago when, on his day, he could run away from anyone.
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