One to Watch - Danny Graham
Name: Danny Graham
Date of Birth: 12/8/1985
Former Clubs: Middlesbrough, Darlington, Derby, Leeds United, Blackpool, Carlisle United, Watford, Swansea City, Sunderland, Hull
League Appearances (Goals): 331 (97)
International Appearances (Goals): 0 (0)
Stat of the Day: Danny Graham had gone 1626 minutes without scoring a Premier League goal until he netted for Hull in December 2013 against former club Swansea
Player Profile: The recent career of Danny Graham is perhaps a rather poignant one for QPR fans. Fury and disappointment at the club`s failure to capture the signing of the striker following the club`s promotion to the Premier League quickly turned into delirium and excitement at the signings of Joey Barton, Shaun Wright-Philips, Luke Young and Anton Ferdinand, amongst others, weeks later. All seemed well and forgotten as the future looked extremely bright for this new talented QPR side. It seems now, however, that missing out on £3.5 million Danny Graham contrived to commence the influx of the all too familiar egotistical, money-grabbing and, above all, useless players QPR have splurged their money on since. Perhaps missing out on Danny Graham was a big stab in the soul of this club.
Admittedly Graham`s goalscoring record has been far from admirable since his move in the summer of 2011. Bar the 14 goals he managed in his opening season at The Liberty Stadium, Graham`s goalscoring drought has been somewhat comical; 3 goals in 45 professional appearances may have even Bobby Zamora sheepishly hiding in the corner. Despite Grahams` dearth of goals, however, we know the 28-year-old to be an honest, hard-working striker who could potentially unleash a flurry of goals in a matter of matches. Aitor Karanka`s new look Middlesbrough side have struggled to find the net recently; 6 goals in 12 matches would hardly breed confidence to any football fan and so Graham must rekindle the form that led to transfer battle between Swansea and QPR not so long ago.
Danny Graham initially started his professional career at Middlesbrough, coming through the ranks at their youth academy. An impressive run of form in the U19 side saw him progress to the first team in March 2003, however he failed to cement a spot in the starting line-up and was sent out on loan to a host of clubs. Two goals in nine loan appearances for Darlington was followed by spells at Derby County and Leeds United; however, failing to net a single goal he found himself back at the Riverside.
Upon his return, Graham managed to score for Middlesbrough against Coventry and Charlton in the League Cup and League, respectively, but in July 2006 the club announced they would be willing to let the once hot-prospect leave. A short spell on loan at Blackpool followed, before moving on loan to League 1 side Carlisle. An impressive period where he netted 7 times in 11 appearances saw him eventually make a permanent move to The Cumbrians in June 2007.
Graham came to prominence at Carlisle and finally looked to be fulfilling his potential. He managed to score 40 times for the club and soon became a Brunton Park favourite. Carlisle tried to renew Graham`s contract in 2009, but couldn`t stop the striker joining Watford on a free transfer, after amassing 29 goals in 89 league appearances for the club.
Graham`s reputation soon gathered speed at Vicarage Road as he finished top goalscorer for the club with 14 goals in his first season. He impressed further in the 2010/2011 season - netting 27 goals in all competitions from 49 appearances, finishing as the npower Championship`s top goalscorer and finishing as runner-up to QPR`s Adel Taarabt for the division`s Player of the Year award.
During the summer of 2011 Graham`s protracted transfer saga came to an end as Swansea eventually beat QPR to the signing of the striker with a bid of £3.5 million. He had a relatively successful first campaign at the Liberty Stadium as he finished with a total of 14 goals in all competitions, helping Swansea to avoid relegation in the process. The arrival of Spanish striker Michu in 2012 pushed Danny Graham down the pecking order in Wales, however, and he signed for Sunderland in January 2013 for a fee of £5 million.
Graham struggled to make an impact at The Stadium of Light and having failed to score in his first 13 appearances for the club was loaned out to Hull at the beginning of the 2013/2014 season. His goalscoring drought continued at the KC as his first goal for the club in December was the first time he had netted in 30 games. In January 2014 his Hull loan deal was terminated before the striker joined Middlesbrough on loan for the remainder of the season.