Player Watch: Lukas Magera
After much fanfare when Lukas Magera joined in late August, the Czech striker remains an unfamiliar and as yet unproven player at Swindon. To give you an idea of what to expect, Matt Davies analyses Lukas’ performances against Rotherham and Barnet.
Tall strikers are not normally known for their shooting prowess and this proved to be the case when Lukas Magera didn’t really have numerous shots in these two league appearances.
His first home game for Town came against Rotherham in the 3-2 win. Despite lacking fitness he only had two efforts on goal, the first was a really strong and low header that forced an excellent save from the Rotherham keeper.
His second was a thunderous volley from outside the area that hit the bottom of the post. He received the ball outside the Rotherham penalty area from a throw and then on the turn he struck a powerful half volley that hit the outside of the post.
In his second home appearance he came on as a substitute against Barnet after 56 minutes. Magera was positioned high up the pitch as the focus for the direct play forwards, but despite Town’s dominance, Lukas didn’t have a single shot.
At 6ft 4in, he has a natural presence in the air. In both games that I watched him he competed for every ball and winning the majority of them. He used his head in both attacking and defending.
His first meaningful attempt at goal was after a prolonged spell of pressure from Swindon lead to Magera’s first clear cut goal scoring opportunity, an in swinging cross from Ritchie came in and Magera climbed well and made good contact with the ball. The header was low and hard forcing a decent save from the goalkeeper; if it had been a little further away from the goalkeeper he would be celebrated his first goal for Swindon.
After coming on as a substitute against Barnet, Magera showed glimpses of what is to come when he used his strength and body well to shield the ball from two defender and then head the ball, despite not having an effort on goal he used his head well to retain possession and bring other players into the game.
Over these two games his off the ball movement was good, he was nearly always in space and offered a constant outlet for his teammates.
Against Rotherham, Lukas found his movement severely limited. Having joined Swindon without Paolo’s the benefit of Paolo’s pre-season fitness regime, his lack of fitnessed showed. After the game Di Canio described Magera as “40% fit”. What Magera subsequently needed was to have a good couple of weeks training to gain match fitness unfortunately this wasn’t the case as he suffered a hamstring injury that would lead to three weeks on the side-lines.
He returned to the squad against Barnet and was eased back into the team as a substitute, there was a noticeable difference in him, with an improved work rate, chasing down defenders well, intercepting Barnet passes, as well as forcing a couple of nervous clearances from the Barnet backline.
He also looked much sharper than he did against Rotherham, linking up well with his teammates. There was no better reflection of this when his promising link up play saw Magera receive the ball from the left and slightly behind him, he improvised and chested the ball down to Ritchie who unfortunately was unaware of the move and didn’t capitalise.
Paolo Di Canio decided that it was in Swindon’s best interest to use Lukas’ height to defend set pieces. However this failed against Rotherham as Magera failed to stay goal side of his man when defending a corner, which could of lead to a goal if Mattia Lanzano hadn’t of intervened.
In a similar situation later on in the game he failed to even challenge Revell for the header that resulted in the former Swindon man’s second goal for Rotherham. Despite this I feel Magera can’t be blamed for this as you have to ask why he was left marking Revell who had already scored in that game, and was the opposition’s best attacker. If Di Canio had asked him to mark Revell at set pieces then it wasn’t a wise decision. Equally Town were unorganised at the back and meant that Magera picked him up because no-one else was.
Overall Magera had and inconsistent game against Rotherham, he had some great touches in the first half but rarely threatened the Rotherham goal in the second. He only had two shots on target, one forcing a decent save from the goalkeeper and the other hitting the post. Apart from that, he showed that he is willing to chase down defenders even if he probably won’t make the defenders panic because he isn’t the quickest, he also showed that he has a great shot from distance.
He was much improved against Barnet and looked a lot fresher than he did previously again showing glimpses of what he is capable of with excellent control and strength.
There’s a lot more to come from Lukas this season, but don’t expect him to score many goals. His fragmented start to his Town career sorely needs a decent run of games whether it’s as a substitute or starting will benefit him greatly as it will allow him to adapt to the style of play and gel with his team mates.