Following his loan to MK Dons in January, Will Grigg has made twelve appearances and scored three goals. In the final instalment of a three-part series, was joined by MK Dons podcaster Andrew James to find out how he's doing...
"Generally, he's improved us. He's been a success so far and added a lot to the team. He just seems to play with a smile on his face. He's not scored a bucket load of goals but he puts 100% in every game. He's linked up really well with Cameron Jerome and the other players around him. We recently played against Doncaster and we were struggling but his work off the ball was impressive. What he's added is an experienced second striker and he has a lot of energy, which is something we don't really have. Him and Jerome bounce off each other really well and compliment each other."
TWO UP FRONT
"In the last few games, we've gone from two up-front to one up-front, with other players such as Scott Fraser being used as second strikers. We've overloaded the midfield, it seems. Although we're creating a lot of chances for him, we seem to set up in a way which allows midfielders to get chances even more than the strikers, almost as if the strikers are creating chances for the midfielders as opposed to the other way round. If a game needs changing, he always makes an impact and when he's started he's always done the necessary work. His main strengths are his help in the build-up play for others. His build-up play is excellent, especially his work off the ball. His hold-up play is strong. He's got a finish on him, too. I feel like he's been really unlucky at times as he's forced keepers into making tough saves. The Hull keeper had to make a world class save the other week. He creates a lot of chances."
"He's joined a mid-table team that has, pretty much, secured safety which has given him that freedom to express himself and do his own thing. When he misses a chance, he seems to know that he'll get another. At this stage in his career, he's got the weight off his back to just play football and do his thing, which has benefitted him. We're now in a situation where we've turned our season from a relegation battle into an unlikely play-off attempt. It probably won't happen but there's a new expectation going into games. I have this concern with a few of our lads, and Griggy's one of them, that they may not do enough to put us into a play-off position. Given the difficult two years he's had, I have a concern he may not be able to score enough goals for us to get into the play-offs. Having said that, his all-round play since joining us fills me with enough confidence that I could take away the goals for his work rate."
KEEP OR BIN
"Yes, on paper, but I'm concerned about affording him. Even if he came for free, his wage demands are probably too high. If we were to sign him right now, that would probably mean we'd lose out on three or four other players, though. However, if you offered him to me now, and he wanted to come, I'd take him. 100%. Assuming 5/10 is an average score, I'd give him a solid 6. There's plenty of time for him to get higher than that and be a key player for us in climbing the table for the rest of the season."
Polar opposite is the phrase that comes to mind when comparing the Northern Irish international's time on loan at MK Dons compared to playing for us. Having scored three and assisted three in twelve games, the League One winner appears to be a different man at the Stadium MK. Whilst it's difficult to argue to Grigg ever looked overly keen in the red and white stripes, it is possible the lower expectations that comes with playing for MK Dons has allowed him to flourish.
With the twenty-nine-year old's contract due to expire in the summer of 2022, letting him go may be the smartest option The ex-Walsall striker has never looked remotely interested in his time on Wearside. Should he continue to impress out on loan, the best we can hope is that MK or someone is willing to take him off our hands.