....prior to the Bradford game.
Current form: seven points from five league One games. The previous five L1 games? Seven points. The other McCann statistics are misleading, as they are padded by four games against National League opposition.
Goals: Only Blackburn and Wigan have scored more than us. We’ve conceded thirty-four goals; the average for the top six is twenty. We’ve kept only four clean sheets this season, and have failed to score on four occasions. Ten times we’ve conceded two or more goals, which means that virtually every other game we’ve needed to score three goals to secure a victory.
How we score: Defenders Baldwin, Taylor, Hughes, Penney and Tafazolli have contributed five goals in 86 appearances. Midfielders Anderson, LDSL, Doughty, Forrester, Grant and Maddison have managed six goals (excluding penalties) in 129 appearances.
Penalties: last season's grim tally seems to have been reversed, to our benefit.
'Luck' Apart from Morais' disallowed goal at Walsall, I'd say that overall we've been fortunate rather than otherwise so far.
[/b]Talent Evaluation/Contracts/Youth Development Programme
Talent-spotting is notoriously difficult: for every Gayle or Assombalonga there’s a Gormley or James. In the close season, we were apparently very anxious to secure Baldwin and Anderson on new/extended contracts. Baldwin is third-choice central defender and remains erratic and accident-prone; Anderson doesn’t resemble a footballer at the moment. I suppose Newell, Anderson and LDSL (possibly Ntlhi) are the recent jewels in the youth-development crown, but no one would mistake them for Davies, Etherington and Drury. A casual, one-paced stroll characterises their play in comparison to that of, say, Morais, Lloyd and Marriott. Guess which trio plays with energy, motivation and commitment and which group seems to have one ear cocked for the phone call from an EPL scout.
Edwards, Lloyd, Taylor and Grant are long out of nappies, now, and have been bright spots in a patchy opening half of the season. Evidence that the ‘young and hungry’ signing template has been modified to good effect?
There’s obviously a lot more to the Miller iceberg than meets the eye. If confidence were perceived to have been an issue for him, I’d have thought that extensive playing time in the four games against National League opposition would have given him an opportunity to play himself into form. Instead of 360 minutes, he managed six minutes in the first game against Tranmere and was an unused sub in two of the other games. At Charlton, he came on in the 90th minute with Posh nursing a one-goal lead; at home to Blackburn when we trailed 1-3 with half-an-hour to play, he didn’t get on, although Kanu did. The manager must expect some second-guessing about this.
How Opposition Managers Game-plan for Us
Vulnerable to high balls to the back post. Dangerous from dead-ball situations involving Maddison. Double-team Marriott and take your chances with everyone else. (See non goal-scoring midfielders, above.) It’s not complicated.
For the second half of the season (and assuming no change in personnel, apart from Bond)….
Unfortunately, Edwards seems injury-prone. If we can start any two of Edwards, Lloyd and Morais, we should continue to pose an attacking threat.
In the first half of the season, LDSL made 22 appearances and Lloyd 11. Where might we be if those figures were reversed?
Bond: retain or return?
Forrester to regain his form.
Maddison to score from open play more often.
More headed goals from open play.
Discussion on Peterborough United only.
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