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Clive Platt is the perfect hold-up man, says Bury boss David Flitcroft
CLIVE Platt’s arrival at the JD Stadium last Friday may have been overshadowed by the more striking signings of Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro and Andrew Tutte.
Yet manager David Flitcroft was quick to make it clear the 36-year-old striker was central to his plans, rather than him just tagging along to make up the numbers.
That may raise a few eyebrows among Shakers fans non-plussed by the signing of a veteran target man who has scored 125 goals in 673 league and cup games at eight different clubs.
But the Bury boss has been quick to point out the strategy behind his signings, with the capture of Platt playing a pivotal role to his subsequent transfer dealings.
“When I knew I could get Clive Platt two weeks ago then I knew I had to get real pace in and around him,” explained the Shakers boss.
“Clive’s hold-up play is incredible, one of the best in the league, but then I had to start getting components to fit around Platty.”
It is clear that Platt, who scored eight goals in 54 games for Northampton last season, has been brought in as a springboard rather than a spearhead for Bury’s attack.
Flitcroft expects his hold-up play to allow more incisive attacking options, such as expert marksman Daniel Nardiello, pacy import Akpa Akpro and quality midfielders like Tutte and Craig Jones to feed off him.
But the Shakers boss is adamant Platt’s ample presence – all six foot five inches of him – will be a vital ingredient of his team’s passing style of play, rather than an alternative to it.
“I think, in the past, people have just seen his size and used him as a big target man to flick things on,” he said.
“Well I won’t be using him like that. If he flicks a ball on then he’ll be coming off.
“I’ve got him in to help movement on the pitch. We’ll fire balls into his feet, but then we’ve got to get the movement around him right and that’s what we are going to be working on.
“But he’s someone different to what we’ve got. We’ve not got that striker who can go on the pitch and hold up the ball the way he can.
“Clive Platt knows the game. Yes he’s been around the block, but he’s a wonderful person and he’s a teacher of football.
“He’ll go in there and look after the boys and make sure they’re on the straight and narrow. That’s why he’s got to the age he’s got and is still playing.”
So don’t be surprised if Platt is an ever-present for the remainder of his season-long deal, but what of last Friday’s other forward-thinking arrivals?
Akpa Akpro has joined on loan from Tranmere for the remainder of the campaign to provide the pace to go alongside Platt’s power.
But the 29-year-old is unlikely to dislodge Nardiello from his starting spot so may well have to settle for a place on the bench.
Tutte, on the other hand, looks set to play a more key role in Flitcroft’s plans.
The Shakers boss has hinted that the 23-year-old former Manchester City trainee, who signed an 18-month contract after joining on a free transfer from Rochdale, was headhunted to link the midfield and attack.
Captain Craig Jones, winger Danny Mayor and forward Ashley Grimes have all been tried in that position just behind the front men, but it appears they have merely been keeping Tutte’s place warm for him.
“He doesn’t give the ball away, his possession is very good and he’s got this illusiveness to glide past players,” said Flitcroft.
“He can create, he can score and he goes past players, so he’s got something we’ve not had in the centre of the field.
“We have pace and penetration on the wings, but I wanted more penetration through the centre of the pitch and I’ve got that now.”
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