Fleetwood manager Graham Alexander is frustrated with the diminishing returns of Stephen Dobbie’s loan deal but insists there’s still time for the forward to prove his quality.
Dobbie has been an unused substitute in Fleetwood’s last two games and last found the net four-months ago in a 3-0 home win over Doncaster Rovers.
The 32-year-old has seen himself fall down the pecking order in recent months despite, The Gazette understands, taking up a significant chunk of the Highbury wage budget.
When quizzed on whether Dobbie’s loan had delivered the expected return, Alexander’s response was to the point.
“No,” he said.
“I don’t think he thinks that himself.
“He’s had some very good games, some not so good games.
“But he’s there every day, training hard, trying to improve himself and put things right.”
Dobbie’s arrival was heralded as one of the signings of the summer, bringing Premier League sparkle to Fleetwood’s squad.
And Alexander believes his background playing football at levels higher than League One may partly explain why the former Blackpool man hasn’t fulfilled his potential.
The Fleetwood manager said: “He has not played a load of games at this level in the past.”
“Sometimes it takes a time to adapt.
“But we’ll stick with these lads, they’ve done a lot of extra work this week.
“They were out as a group yesterday afternoon trying to improve because that’s what you have to do.
“You can’t sit around and moan about luck or anything else.”
The Fleetwood boss did, however, make it clear he hadn’t written Dobbie off - making it clear every forward in his squad still has a fantastic opportunity to make their mark.
“I brought him here because he’s a good player,” said Alexander.
“That hasn’t changed change overnight.
“He’s maybe struggled to adapt to this level, I’m not sure.
“But we’ll give him every chance to play a massive part for us to the end of the season.”
Dobbie did find the net in midweek, on the scoresheet in a 2-2 draw against Preston North End, for Town’s development squad along with young gun Ashley Hunter.
And Alexander is hoping it shows his players have what it takes to find the net, despite averaging less than a goal a game in League One.
“Stephen Dobbie scored for the development squad, Ashley Hunter did too,” Alexander told The Gazette
“It shows we have the players with the abilty to find the net and the record in Stephen Dobbie’s case.
“For one reason or another over the course of the season we haven’t achieved what we hoped for from those players.
“We never write anybody off, as long as people train right, show the right attitude towards the team and their work
“But they have to produce at the end of the day.
“It’s there for anybody.
“I brought these lads to the club, if they score the goals, take the chances they need, they’ll be in the team.”