The Football League Paper - - CHRIS DUNLAVY -

WHEN An­dre Gray thrashed home a glo­ri­ous late win­ner at Bolton last week­end, Sean Dy­che turned to his bench. “That’s why,” he nod­ded. “That’s why.”

By al­most any mea­sure, the striker was woe­ful at the Macron. Scarcely in­volved, waste­ful on the ball, off­side more than prime Pippo In­za­ghi. So fre­quently did Gray mis­judge his runs that the poor lino must have had ten­nis el­bow by full-time.

Yet when the chances came – and nei­ther was ex­actly easy – Gray pounced like an al­li­ga­tor ex­plod­ing from a swamp. Sud­denly, the most in­ef­fec­tive and in­fu­ri­at­ing player on the pitch had turned the game on its head.

Dy­che, of course, has heard all the crit­i­cisms of his £6m record sign­ing.

That he misses too many chances, that he dis­ap­pears from games. But, like the statis­ti­cians at Brent­ford who were so des­per­ate to keep him, the Clarets boss knew that Gray pos­sessed some­thing far more im­por­tant: in­stinct.

No­body in the divi­sion is bet­ter at an­tic­i­pat­ing re­bounds, re­act­ing in the box or at­tack­ing dan­ger­ous ar­eas.

That un­coach­able nose for goal will win plenty of tight games and might – just might – clinch a place in the Premier League. As Dy­che said, that’s why you pay the big bucks.

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