His arrival was met with excitement, but as of yet, it hasn’t worked out for Lukas Magera. Consequently, he has returned to his old club Banik Ostrava on loan. Rosie MacGillivray looks at his long-term future at the County Ground.
One goal in eight starts from the one-time Czech international striker paints a bleak picture. Although, that bleak picture fails to mention that Paolo Di Canio often failed to utilise his strengths.
Di Canio has altered many a player’s position throughout this season; Alan McCormack, Paul Caddis, Raffaele De Vita and Matt Ritchie are all improved players for it. Although playing Magera as an ‘out and out striker’ was equivalent to filling a round hole with a square peg.
Prior to joining Town, Magera had plyed much of his trade as an advanced midfielder. His performances playing as just that are what saw him described as a ‘blow your socks off signing.’
His substitution appearance versus Wigan in the FA Cup saw him take a more supporting attacking role, similar to his pre-Swindon days; and it worked to great effect. During his 24 minutes, Magera won seven headers – finding a team-mate four times, controlling it once, while incompleting two headed passes. His pass rate from feet was 71% – completing five out of his seven passes.
It’s unfortunate that stats don’t show distance covered as his long runs across the Wigan defence and midfield prevented any potential attacks at source. However, his constant chasing down saw Lukas Magera win three tackles, make two interceptions, as well as win his side a corner and throw in.
At the other end of the spectrum, his performances throughout December were – at best – lacklustre. His below par performances saw him substituted on 56 minutes versus Morecambe before being hauled off at half-time at Torquay and Northampton.
Lukas Magera has only completed a League game twice, although this can be explained why. His exit has had a negative impact on the final result once, but a positive impact three times.
A particular weak point is that he just doesn’t shoot enough, which has left many watching Town supporters frustrated by a shot shy striker. In the 12 games Magera has featured in, he has produced 10 shots, which worked out to be a shot every 59 minutes. In contrast, other forwards at the club have a shooting rate of every 30-50 minutes.
Di Canio has stuck rigidly to 4-4-2 all season and with Swindon topping League Two, Lukas Magera isn’t a player currently required. He can only be used in a 4-1-4-1 or 4-4-1-1. Furthermore – up until the recent arrival of Paul Benson – Town had been minus a ’20 goal a season’ striker, meaning a share of the scoring responsibility was essential.
After racking up ten straight wins, League One looks to be Swindon’s future, it’s a question of how Lukas Magera will find League One. On the evidence of his performance versus Wigan, he’s likely to thrive under more space. And, as much as we feel Swindon can take on the world right now, it’s likely League One will be a tad tougher for Di Canio and Co.
The need for alternatives to 4-4-2 may be pressed. Lukas Magera could potentially, be an excellent option to bring from the bench in a bid to protect a result, as shown against Wigan. Alongside a holding midfielder, Magera could also prove to be effective as an attacking midfielder, with him dropping deep or playing as a second striker, as and when required in a match. Of course, a potential to this method is his lacking pace.
This season has turned into a memorable one for Town, but not for Magera himself. After missing a Di Canio style pre-season he never caught up to the fitness levels of the rest of the squad. Then an injury hampered him days after his only goal at Port Vale and he never recovered any form.
Jeremy Wray hinted at a return for Magera next season and for me, on the basis of talent he has shown, it would be a mistake not to retain him.