Gone also, are Zatiyah Knight, Chris Eagles, Tyrone Mears and Marvin Sordell. Totally mixed bag there, as Knight had probably contributed in equal measure to goals scored at either end of the park last season before settling down to reclaim a spot at the heart of the defense - such as it was. Chris Eagles was acknowledged to be one of the brighter talents at the club but his inclination towards inconsistency in tandem with his Premier League wages and a reputed falling-out with the Manager, Doug Freedman, saw him spending much of his time watching games with Tyrone Mears who refused to go on loan when given the opportunity to do so.
Sordell however, is a different kettle of fish. Bought from Watford for the princely sum of £4 Million (same price paid for David Ngog - thanks, Owen!), he never seemed able to hold down a place in the team despite featuring for the Great Britain team in the Olympics. He was looking the part in the preseason last year this time - scoring goals and looking busy - and was then promptly sent on loan to Charlton where he spent the rest of the season. In fairness, he never set the world alight while there - apart from a hat-trick scored on April 21, 2014 against Sheffield Wednesday when his Charlton team were 2-0 down and staring relegation in the face.
He was snapped up by newly-promoted Burnley and has been scoring for fun in preseason games. He also came out and said the "homesickness" that had been ascribed to him was nonsense, as he rode off into the sunset. Burnley manager, Sean Dyche has worked with Sordell before and seems confident that he will be able to get the best out of a player that has promised so much - and to date, delivered so little.
We are now looking at going into the new season with two senior recognized strikers, in Jermaine Beckford and Craig Davies. Beckford missed a penalty during our Scandinavian tour but scored a screamer from 30 yards a week later while Davies has been busy and bustling despite looking a tad chubby. Youngsters Georg Iliev and Conor Wilkinson have been given a run out with the seniors in pre-season and Wilkinson in particular has shown signs of being able to contribute this season - so much so that Tom Eaves (bought for £1 Million on the strength of a hat-trick scored against the Wanderers in a pre-season match, thanks Owen!) has been shown the door but has not managed to find that target so far, either.
On the bright side, our defense has not looked this strong in years with cover and promise in each position. Indeed, so strong is the defensive lineup that young Cian Bolger is also likely to leave the Macron - loan or permanently - despite good performances during preseason. Dougie Freedman has been building from the back and is well stocked in the midfield as well as we await the return (again!) of Stu Holden. Doug has said he wants two or three more attackers in and that will mean two or three players have to leave. That is what I believe has prompted the nudges on Eaves and Bolger as he tries to accommodate the signings he wants to make for this season. Encouraging play in some preseason games has me eagerly in my blocks awaiting the starter's gun, but with my fingers and toes crossed, it may make it difficult for me to run!