One to Watch - Steven Fletcher
Name: Steven Fletcher
Date of Birth: 26/3/1987
Former Clubs: Hibernian, Burnley
League Appearances (Goals): 238 (70)
International Appearances (Goals): 8 (1)
Stat of the Day: Steven Fletcher has scored the most headed goals in the Premier League this season (6)
Every relegation threatened side pines for their own saviour to guide them to safety, and having successfully hauled Wolves over the line last season, Steven Fletcher has seemingly acquired a similar role this campaign. What the Scot lacks in flair, style and good looks he makes up for in the consistency of a traditional goal poacher. All of Fletcher`s nine league goals this season have come from inside the box, six of which have been headers, and having conceded two goals from crossing positions against Villa on Wednesday it may be wise to tune in to the whereabouts of the lurking striker on Saturday. Both clubs don`t need to be told how important this clash is, and with Wolves` other strikers having apparently given up the chase already, the tricky task of scoring the goals to keep his side up has fallen nicely on the shoulders of Fletcher.
Mick McCarthy`s £6.5 million gamble in 2010 soon paid off as Fletcher`s tally of 10 Premier League goals last season put him fifth in the whole of Europe based on the minutes on the pitch to goals ratio and allowed Wolves to participate in another season of 'let`s wait until the last minute possible to avoid relegation`. While the 24-year-old could probably do with some work on his long range shooting, to say the striker is a 'predator in the box` is an understatement, and with QPR struggling to compete against sizeable strikers up front this season (we made Nicklas Bendtner and Grant Holt look like they could grace a Real Madrid side this season) Fletcher could be the threat Wolves look to.
Despite being born in Shrewsbury, Steven Fletcher moved up to Scotland at the age of 10 and his footballing talents were soon spotted by Edinburgh based side Hibernian. He made his debut for Hibs at the end of the 2003/2004 season and was soon granted a more prominent role as his value to the team was soon recognised. He scored twice in a 5-1 win over Kilmarnock in the 2007 League Cup final, won the Scottish Football Writers` Young Player of the Year Award at the end of the 2007/2008 season and was even linked with Spanish giants Real Madrid. Numerous Premier League clubs were reportedly interested in the striker and having scored 43 league goals in 156 appearances for Hibs, Fletcher eventually signed for Burnley in 2009 for a fee of around £3 million.
Burnley`s record signing soon made a positive impression on the Premier League and despite the Claret`s relegation, Fletcher top-scored with 12 league goals and won the Players` Player of the Year award. Wolves soon snapped up the striker for a joint club record fee of £6.5 million and despite limited opportunities in the first half of his first Molineux season, Fletcher proved patience is a virtue as he came into the team and scored five goals in five games after an injury to fellow striker Kevin Doyle. The 24-year-old already has 19 goals in 47 games for Wolves, and if he keeps putting in impressive performances and scoring important goals it won`t be too long before bigger clubs come calling.