Saturday, 7 May 2011
374 Chris Dagnall
Position : Forward
Played : 2005-06 (initially on loan from Tranmere) to 2009-10
Appearances : 157
Goals : 54
One of the most popular players ever , Chris arrived on loan just days after Grant Holt’s departure (to my initial amusement, having a work colleague of the same name). He had scored 7 goals in 30 appearances for Rovers and was rated a good prospect.
Despite this Chris was initially put on the bench while Moyo-Modise started at home to Stockport. My mate explained that this was so he wouldn't be seen as a replacement for Grant Holt which seemed a bizarre reason to me. Chris had a frustrating time at first because Parkin kept playing him out wide on the right and we didn't get the best out of him in that position. He scored just 3 in 21 games although one was absolutely vital, the late equaliser at Rushden in April which kept our heads above water and more or less ensured they'd be going down instead. It was a typical Dagnall goal working himself clear in the box with close control then coolly finishing. He was signed permanently in the summer for £15,000.
Chris scored our first goal of the 2006-07 season (5 games in) then had a scoring burst at the end of September (5 goals in 4 games) which kept Parkin in his job for a bit longer. At least Chris had now proved himself as our main striker. He had the misfortune to break his foot soon after Keith Hill took over and was out for two months. He scored coming on as sub in his first game back in the 7-2 demolition of Stockport (probably my favourite game ever !) At the end of the season he proved he was back to his best with 6 goals in the last 3 games including a hat-trick against Macclesfield.
In the summer of 2007 we signed Adam Le Fondre and the question arose as to who would be the first choice striker alongside Glenn Murray. It hadn't been answered by the time Chris picked up a cruciate injury in September and was out until March. He famously announced his return with an unbelievable 6 -minute hat trick off the bench in his first game back against Rotherham. Chris scored in both legs of the play-off semi final against Darlington but had a disappointing game at Wembley.
That game highlighted the fact that he and Le Fondre didn't work as a partnership. Neither of them had the physical presence to play as a target man and they showed little sign of understanding each other's game. That made it an either/or choice. My mates were very pro-Chris contending that he was the more skilful and creative player and Alfie was an impact sub. I didn't think the gap was as wide as that. I thought Chris was a punisher of bad defences rather than an unlocker of good ones which could neutralise him whereas Alfie was always likely to nick a goal whoever we were playing. Hill never really made a definite choice and alternated them with Alfie getting slightly ahead in the number of starts in the 2008/09 season.
That was actually a rather poor season for Chris who was still feeling his way back from injury. He scored just 7 goals in 39 appearances (14 as substitute) and was guilty of some bad misses.
I said 2009/10 was a make-or-break season for him and he absolutely made it. With his rival gone Chris shouldered the burden of being an automatic selection and was in brilliant form alongside Chris O Grady scoring 20 goals to take us up into the Promised Land. His last few games for us were nothing to write home about as he'd burnt himself out but the job was done.
More in hope than expectation Chris was offered a new contract but knew he could better himself and signed for Scunthorpe in summer 2010. He has had a difficult first season with Scunthorpe struggling from the off in the Championship scoring just 5 goals.