That big bad bald bastard has joined again on loan from Cambridge United, just in case you hadn’t heard, possibly with a view to a permanent deal. He’s strong, physical and unafraid; the white Lee Thorpe, only he’s probably a bit fatter than Lee Thorpe and a little bit faster. Whilst the Thorpedo is currently defying his age with his recent performances, he cannot continue at this pace for a full season. And that’s where Evil comes in. Well, it was either sign him or get Paul Tait back.
But what does it say for the future prospects of Jon Shaw? The man only signed for Rochdale at the start of this season and yet one injury has seen him slip below Chris Dagnall, Adam le Fondre, Lee Thorpe and now Lee McEvilly in the pecking order. And with Hillcroft’s earmarked plans for Will Buckley and Kallum Higginbotham (having stated that both are strikers in the making), does Shaw realistically have a chance of succeeding at this club?
Of course, a couple of injuries and he may well be playing week-in, week-out. A successful loan spell might rekindle Hillcroft’s interest in him, ala Higginbotham at Accrington. But Shaw is no young striker, he’s 25 years old, at a time when he would like to be first-choice at his club, not having to rely on injuries or poor form of other players like a youth player might.
But, there is still hope, of course, not all players make an impact straight away and he still might play a vital part in this season. The problem for him though is that word “hope”, and “hope” is something he would not like to rely on.
McEvilly will no doubt play a few games, mostly from the bench, before his future at the Dale is decided in January. I like McEvilly, simply because I like unusual players (my favourite all time Dale player has to be Morike Sako for this reason alone). He’ll get yellow cards, run head-first into opposition keepers and be lauded as a cult hero for simply having massive shoulders. You never know, he might score some too.
On another note, Theo Coleman has signed for the Dale, an ex-YTS player he was released from Rochdale two seasons ago and has seemingly done nothing since. So by my reckoning, he will be sold in the summer transfer window for £250,000. If anyone can turn around a player’s career it is that gestallt entity called Hillcroft!