Player profile: Gary Cohen

Cod Almighty | Article

by Paul Thundercliffe

1 August 2005

Think of Gretna and you think of weddings, usually of the shotgun variety, in small rooms with a couple of strangers as witnesses. Or maybe romantic marriages on the spur of the moment. Or teenage brides and stolen moments. Think of Gretna and you think of confetti, fruitcake and cheap champagne. Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.

Russell thinks of Gretna and immediately borrows something new: a young striker by the name of Gary Cohen. He's not old (only 21) and will only be blue if he plays in the new away kit. Or gets upset. Or something. So what did Slade propose in order to snare Cohen? Begging on bended knee? Honeymoon in Cleethorpes?

On paper, Town have three strikers: Michael ReddyMartin Gritton and Andy Parkinson – more than capable of getting 50 goals between them. Indeed, had they scored a third of the one-on-ones they squandered between them last year we would have been promoted. But they didn't. So is there a need for a new striker?

Certainly it will add depth to the squad. Cohen played six games for Russell Slade's Scarborough three seasons ago, scoring twice before a move to the Las Vegas of Scotland. The goals of Kenny Deuchar (now there is a marriage made in heaven) meant that Cohen was sent out on loan to Workington of the Northern League.

If the stats are to be believed (and I am only relying on Google here) then Gary scored 16 goals in 15 games last term. This is some record and makes you wonder why Workington didn't pursue him full-time. A look on their website informs of "poacher's goals", "turns of speed" and being in that magical "right place" at the wonderful "right time". It appears Cohen scored with both feet and, wait for it, his head. Yep. The head.

So the credentials are there. The step up to the Football League may look steep to some, but I cannot believe that some of Town's play last season would have been too good for the non-League pyramid. He appears to be blessed with pace, which sounds good, but then you realise that this is another excuse to twat the ball as far forward as possible for Cohen to chase, should he get his chance. If he does, it will invariably be as a substitute as Russell blows his hands and hopes for a double six.

Pre-season has seen a couple of outings. He created a goal for Nick Heggarty with his pace, chasing a ball, winning a tackle and crossing a delicious ball into the middle. He seems good in the air for a smallish bloke and made some intelligent runs. 

In the game against Leeds he played right wing-back: a position he never really looked comfortable in. So what was Slade's thinking? Natural pace up the wing? Strong on the ball, good passer? Nah. Russ is too smart for that. It's more simple. He's done his homework, looked at the history. England won a World Cup playing with a G Cohen at full-back. Foolproof.