2010-11 season index
Player profile: Lewis Gobern
7 August 2010
A year on from Mike Newell's revolution – a revolution which involved playing strikers on the right wing – arrives Lewis Gobern, a right winger! Described by Neil Woods as a player who "can go past people" and will "excite the fans", the Birmingham-born wideman sounds like the sort of player Town have been crying out for. However, while the talent doesn't seem to be in question, the fitness does. At 25, Lewis has only made 30 league starts. So what's the story?
Gobern signed for Wolves at 11, before progressing through the ranks at Molineux. He made his senior debut on a brief loan spell at Hartlepool, before Glenn Hoddle gave him his first Wanderers appearance, as a 75th-minute substitute in a win over Norwich in November 2005. That was Gobern's only appearance in the gold shirt that season, but he completed loan spells at third-tier Blackpool and fourth division Bury, where he scored the winner against local rivals Rochdale on his debut.
2006-07 appeared to be a breakthrough season, as new manager and Roy Keane favourite Mick McCarthy placed his faith in the winger, giving him 12 league appearances by early December. The last four of these games saw Gobern start, and he scored in the last two: the opener in a draw against Crystal Palace, and the equaliser in a 2-1 defeat to Leicester.
Then came the injuries. Two separate hamstring strains sidelined the youngster for the rest of that season, although McCarthy had seen enough to offer Gobern a new two-year deal. An ankle injury sustained in a pre-season game at Grays and a knee injury suffered in training kept him out of 2007-08.
Gobern didn't play again until January 2009, when he made 12 appearances on loan at Colchester, seven of these from the bench. He was released by his boyhood club that summer, and pitched up at Bastard Franchise Scum, as one of Paul Ince's first signings of his second spell in charge. Again it was a season blighted by injury, as Lewis started only seven league games and played another 13 as sub. Released again at the end of the season, Gobern needed someone to take a chance.
That man was Neil Woods, as he made Gobern one of his early summer signings on a one-year deal. The Town boss acknowledges that the winger has had his injury problems, but seems convinced he's worth the risk. Unfortunately, pre-season hasn't gone according to plan, injuries forcing Gobern off the pitch early in games at Stirling and at Gainsborough. His disappointment was clearly evident at Trinity, and he'll miss at least the first month of the Conference season.
But let's look at the positives. If Town can get Gobern fit, he should be a fantastic player at this level, while the prospect of him working in unison with Peter Bore will surely be giving Conference left-backs sleepless nights. Much will depend on luck; let's hope Gobern, and Town, get lucky.
Stats from Soccerbase
Info from Wikipedia