2017/18 Opinion – Midfielders Part Two

Courtesy Graham Burrell

I’ve been having a look at all of the players to play for City this season and giving my opinion on how they did.

If you haven’t caught it I did keepers here, the first lot of defenders here, the second lot here and yesterday I begun my look at midfielders here. Bearing in mind we still have the SWXI wingers to start voting on, I need to crack on.

As a brief update, I’ve had lots of kind messages asking about my back and the progress I’m making. I’m still unable to sit and write for periods longer than half and hour or so, but I have been getting out and about. I’m hoping, desperately, to be back writing full time for FLW and here a week on Monday.

Thanks though, your messages have been really kind and I’ve had more support from my readers and football friends than from anywhere else. I appreciate it, it genuinely has kept me going through what has been a really tough three weeks. Cheers.

Anyway, lets not get too emotional eh? There are players to rate.

Tom Pett

I’d championed Pett for a long time, but people also pointed out I was a fan of another Tom from last season who turned out to be a turkey. I never profess to be right all of the time, but when it comes to Tom Pett I’m certain we’ll see the best of him next season.

In the early part of his Imps career he’s looked lightweight, a little anonymous and has struggled to fit into the system. That’s my honest opinion, it doesn’t make him a bad player nor a flop, but it has taken him time to settle. My belief is that next season, with the correct recruitment, we’re going to play more football on the floor and that will suit the former England C man.

I did like the way he signed off in the final match of the regular season, his goal showed such wonderful technique and calmness under pressure that it will have left fans wondering what else is to come. Had he not struck that goal then there might have been a bigger question mark over his head this summer.

I stand by what I said all along, Tom Pett is a quality footballer who wasn’t brought in to take us up this season, but to be an integral part of what we do next season and beyond. The more I look at Danny’s transfer policy and the contracts being signed now, the more I’m convinced that losing the play off semi final wasn’t such a bad thing. With a Cowley pre-season under his belt, this guy is going to be big for us.

Danny Rowe

What a talent Danny Rowe is, a rampaging winger the like of which would have fitted beautifully in our 4-4-2 set up. He started out well too didn’t he? That goal against Peterborough was excellent and his devastating runs were only ever going to bring goals and chances.

Then came the 4-1 defeat against Crewe, the day which ultimately prompted our management team to switch to a 4-3-3. With three forwards tucked in tightly, there was no room for Danny Rowe. Even worse, towards the end of the season when I think we may have reverted back to a 4-4-2, he was injured and unable to play at all.

Danny Rowe is a really good footballer who I would love to see back here permanently. However, much depends on how we set up next season as to whether it would be worth it or not. If we go with two orthodox wingers, the formation that helped us to the National League title, then he fits. even if we go to the 4-2-3-1, he fits, but that depends on the middle player of the front three being something very special. One wonders if Lee Frecklington or Tom Pett have been earmarked for that role? If we stay as we were at the end of the season, then we don’t see Danny Rowe back.

Whatever happens, we will always have that wonderful goal against Posh and the similarly excellent strike against Exeter in the home league match. He’s had an impact that is for sure, but I feel with Danny Cowley, loan players can’t have a significant impact unless they have already played a high number of games, such are the demands on fitness and understanding the system.

Next Page – perhaps the most improved player and the short-term flop


  1. Really good analysis again Gary. Keep up the good work.

    Only thing I would add is Cameron Stewart-there is quality there but not confidence, nor possibly a hard working mindset.

    When we had a bit of a goal drought and on twitter was vids of goalscoring comp at Robert Patt, did he not make final (if not semis !) with Elliot Whitehouse ?? I would have liked to have seen him given more of a chance personally.

  2. I hope Alex Woodyard stays with us for years to come. I’d like to see the actual stats but I think he really never does give the ball away. He has developed rapidly under the guidance of the Cowleys, and I see no reason why that won’t continue at whatever level we reach.

  3. I have to agree with some of the criticism of Alex, he does indeed give the ball away contrary to the song and he is not creative enough. His performance against Exeter was less than average. Recruitment this summer of at least two quality midfield players and some for other positions are very necessary for the cause. However I do agree that he is a ‘keeper’ and I think will dovetail with creative midfielders and Freck alone is good but not enough……

    • Danny has a random group of players right now! 1/3 National League 2/3 Division 2. This small squad mentality will not get us prmooted to Div1. A number of players over hyped! Will not name names but the evidence is there… Danny is a winner… he won’t let sentiment get in the way of progress… Fascinating to see where we go from here.

  4. I think in the voting for ‘Best Midfield Players’ I put Alex Woodyard on a par with Dennis Booth and preferred the latter solely because of his better ability in dead ball situations – mainly when taking corners. Those who remember ‘Boothy’ will know what that says about my opinion of Woodyard.

    Re Elliott Whitehouse, I think at worst he’s a good squad player at this level but if we’d gone up I think he would/should have been released.

    I’d rather have Rowe than Williams – but I don’t suppose I’m the only one to think that.

  5. If there’s one area of the pitch I’ve been disappointed with this season, it’s been our wide players. We started the season with so much promise and anticipation, none of them have contributed nearly enough, with the exception of Harry at a push.
    JMD was the biggest flop, Ginnelly spent too much time hiding behind his fullback. Arnold didn’t contribute enough as an attacking force, his work rate was still outstanding though. Harry was great up until the new year & seems to have lost his way.
    Danny Rowe was sensational at times, but drifted in & out. Williams doesn’t have the pace or trickery to play out wide & I don’t think we found his best position. Tom Pett, I’ve seen it said he didn’t get a chance. I believe he did, he started about 4 or 5 games immediately after signing for us & made zero impact. I’ve not given up on him, but he does have a fair bit to prove.
    All in all, none of them have had the impact we’d hoped for. Is it the system? The role they’re being asked to play? God knows…
    Alex Woodyard though, he’s outstanding for us. If the wide players had pulled their weight I guarantee nobody would be expecting Alex to be more positive. If he goes he’ll leave a huge hole, a bigger hole than Raggett left for sure.

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