We need beef in the middle of the park
When Neil Lennon first came through the door, one of the changes he made over his first few games was to drop Jay Spearing, and play Neil Danns as a defensive/holding midfielder. Darren Pratley soon joined him in that role, having been utilised as a winger for the opening weeks of the Irishman`s reign.
Pratley and Danns were terrific together; the former`s work ethic and new-found technical supremacy complimented the latter`s tough tackling and desire to get stuck in. Even when we were not winning, we`d often see good performances from the two.
Neither really had played in this role before, as both often took up more attacking roles as they had both scored a decent amount of goals in their respective careers prior to becoming Wanderers. Neil Lennon, the manager, was quite the tough-tackling midfielder himself- as was assistant Johann Mjallby before switching to centre back. They may certainly have had something to do with their successful switch to this role.
Unfortunately, this was all at the expense of their predecessors: Jay Spearing and Medo Kamara who, as a result of their form, have been shipped out on loan to Blackburn Rovers and Maccabi Haifa respectively.
We are now, unfortunately, Pratley-less and for the first time in his Wanderers career we really do miss him. Neil Danns has also seemed to lose his form that saw him rewarded with a contract extension which will keep him at the club until the summer of 2016.
Lennon has acted to bring in several central midfielders: Filip Twardzik, Barry Bannan, Rochinha, Giles Coke and Simeon Slavchev. However, the first three are much more creative, attacking players (probably signed to fill the huge shoes of Chung Yong Lee) meanwhile Coke and Slavchev have so far failed to impress. Coke is a very Dougie Freedman-esque signing, which isn`t necessarily a bad thing, but he`s just here to fill up numbers at the moment in my opinion. Slavchev is very highly thought of and although he`s very young, he has been capped at international level for Slovakia, and his impressive club performances in his native country earned him a big move to Portuguese giants: Sporting Lisbon in the summer. He has failed to nail down a spot in the first team though. Both of these players are the type we need in terms of physicality; they`re both big-ish and both strong.
We also have Liam Trotter among our ranks but I am well aware of some of your opinions on him (with many of which I agree).
However, I think we`re missing something in the middle. Neil Danns hasn`t been himself recently, and I`m sure that we`ll see him return to form when he`s back from suspension. However, we do miss Pratley, and I really do hope that we can sign him up for another year or two when his contract expires.