Amid a backdrop of a chronic goal drought for the first team, Alex Jakubiak continues to find the back of the net for fun at under-21 level and must keep “knocking on the door”, according to the head of the club’s academy.
Jakubiak, 19, did not have his best game for the u21s this afternoon but he levelled the Professional Development League match with Ipswich Town with a goal out of nothing to take his tally to 18 for the season and 14 in his last 12 games. Watford ended up losing the match 2-1.
We understand Jakubiak was in contention to be on the bench for the FA Cup third-round tie with Newcastle United but was a victim of the bug that laid a few low at the training ground that week. It is hard to see Quique Sanchez Flores including him in his plans for FA Cup quarter-final weekend but he may well come into contention when the head coach belatedly takes the handbrake off this team.
“As long as he keeps scoring goals he’ll keep knocking on the door,” said Chris McGuane, the head of the club’s academy. “He’s doing as much as he can and we just have to wait and see if he can force his way in. There is some quality ahead of him, so it’s not an easy task. The goals might not be there at first-team level as much as we want at the minute but the strikers we’ve got are still adding plenty to the game. Alex has got to keep doing what he is doing.”
Asked if Jakubiak is on the radar of the head coach, McGuane replied: “We talk every day, not only about Alex,” he said. “We talk about all the players further down the academy. The [first-team] staff are well aware of the players in the academy.”
So are the scouts, coaches and managers who attend Watford’s u21 games. There were representatives from Arsenal, Manchester City, Crystal Palace, Colchester United, Millwall, Luton Town and Cambridge United at the training ground in London Colney today, although the first three were probably there to watch Ipswich’s England Under-17 pair of Andre Dozzell and Ben Morris. The Wycombe manager Gareth Ainsworth attended at least his third Watford U21 game this season his afternoon and he could well have been there to continue adding to his dossier on Jakubiak.
Contracted to Watford until the summer of 2017, Jakubiak has a long-term admirer in the club’s former chief scout Mark Stow. He, we are told, tried to take him to Blackburn Rovers in the summer and would recommend Charlton Athletic, whom he joined this season, sign him like a shot if the Addicks and Watford agreed a deal.
Goalscoring record of Jakubiak this season:
Sheffield Wednesday: Did not score (DNS)
Hull City: DNS
Crystal Palace: Two
Bristol City: DNS
Sheffield United: DNS
Crewe Alexandra: DNS
Nottingham Forest: DNS
Leeds United: One
Ipswich Town: Suspended
Bristol City: DNS
Atletico Paranaense: DNS
Rapid Bucharisti: One
Volyn Lutsk: One
FC Dnipro: DNS
Ipswich Town: One