Stephen Robinson still searching for formula to boost Motherwell’s firepower

Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson admits he is still trying to find the right formula up front following the January departures of Devante Cole and James Scott.

Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson believes there is more to come from Rolando Aarons who is on loan from Newcastle. Picture: SNS.

Well have not won in five matches, four of them since Scott left for Hull in a potential £1.5 million transfer.

They have only scored twice during that run and Robinson’s attempts to boost their firepower have since been hit by injuries to recent signing Mikael Ndjoli and top goalscorer Christopher Long.

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Tony Watt is in line for his first start should tonight’s William Hill Scottish Cup replay against St Mirren survive Storm Dennis while Rolando Aarons has shown flashes of talent since arriving on loan from Newcastle.

With Jermaine Hylton established on the left wing, Ross MacIver and Sherwin Seedorf have also been challenged to make their mark.

Tonight’s game is in doubt after a league meeting between the teams was postponed on Saturday because of the waterlogged Fir Park pitch, but Robinson used the free afternoon to get Watt further up to speed following his recent signing.

“We did 11 v 11 between ourselves on astro on Saturday so we got another 45 minutes into Tony Watt. So he becomes a live option as well,” Robinson said.

“What people haven’t mentioned is Devante Cole and James Scott. A lot of physical presence has been taken out of a very successful front three. So we are still trying to find the right combinations and the right way to go about that for people to step up and make that impact.

“We feel we are getting there again. There isn’t too much wrong but we will tweak certain things to make sure that works.

“For the first part of the season we played with one out-and-out winger and we had James or Devante on the right. It gave us a physical outlet; both boys are six foot. It allowed us to play the ball a little bit longer at times and not be too predictable.

“We have put different people in different positions. Rolando has come in and done really well, I think there is more to come from him. And it’s up to other people to step up. We are looking for consistency from our front three. It’s the hardest part of the game.

“We have to find that and I don’t think we are far away from it. We were 20 seconds away from a great result against St Johnstone and being third in the table.

“We have the opportunity to be in a quarter-final of the cup and whatever combination we put out we are a threat.”

St Mirren manager Jim Goodwin believes Scottish football will eventually be played in the summer months.

Goodwin faces a second postponement at Fir Park inside four days with their William Hill Scottish Cup replay against Motherwell in doubt because of persistent rain.

The Saints boss, some of whose players overcame knocks because of the free weekend after playing seven matches in 25 days following the end of the winter break, is a supporter of the winter break and would go further by playing more league games over the summer.

“I am a big fan of summer football,” he said. “I understand the festive period is a big one in Britain because financially it’s great for clubs – you have people who maybe live abroad coming home at that time of year.

“But the reason we have the backlog of fixtures is because of adverse weather conditions.

“The likelihood is in the summer months you are not going to get as many postponements.

“I would love to follow the League of Ireland. They started Friday and will play right through to October and be off November, December and January. It makes sense to me. The weather is bad in the months we find ourselves playing in.

“The attendances in Ireland have dramatically increased due to that better weather.

“If I was wanting to bring my six-year-old son to a game of football I would much rather bring him in the summer months when we could maybe have shorts and a T-shirt on as opposed to the weekend when we were wrapped up head to toe, getting soaked on the way into a game and then soaked on the way back out, and it’s taking you four or five hours to heat up when you get home.

“I think that’s the route we are going to end up going down. In the next ten years I can certainly see an argument for summer football. We want to see good football on quality grass pitches. We are playing through the winter months where it must be a real headache for the groundsmen because the grass simply doesn’t grow from November to March.”

Goodwin is desperate to avoid a backlog of fixtures and get tonight’s game on, but Saturday’s call-off was not a major blow.

“I wasn’t too despondent,” he said. “I spoke to Stephen Robinson as well. I think they were quite happy because they have one or two injuries.

“From our own point of view, we have had a lot of games of late so a weekend off didn’t really bother me. It allowed us a little bit more recovery for players who needed it.

“We had one or two with niggles who would have had to play through it on Saturday. We now have a clean bill of health apart from the serious ones.”