We’ve battled our way to 3 points to retain our gap at the top, now our battered squad must pull together a team to play a Checkatrade game and avoid getting us one of those ridiculous fines. Here are some things to look out for:
Normally I start with a statistical look at the opposition but, as it’s the Checkatrade and we’re playing an U21 side, I’m not going to bother. I’m not sure my stats are a good way of assessing this kind of challenge.
So I’ll talk about something more interesting (hopefully). A certain DC has been raving about the impact of the subs against Forest Green and it’s not the first time he’s failed to hide a love he shares with all good managers, a match-winning substitution. As a tribute I’ve made a new metric, I’ve even made a new tab on my spreadsheet! I’ve been looking into the impact of our substitutes. I’m certain this won’t be news to the management duo who will no doubt tirelessly pore over far more detailed info than this.
Unfortunately, I don’t have the running totals and duels won figures. Nevertheless, here are some interesting numbers. Kellan Gordon is our 6th player to score off the bench already this season. In total, subs have scored 7 times as Akinde has done it twice. Subs have also got 3 assists. That’s 10 goal contributions from subs in 21 games, impressive stuff.
I’ve also tallied up the number of goals scored and conceded, so for example, Wilson came on at half-time against Port Vale (in the League), we scored 3 times and conceded 2. His score would be 1. We also had a +1 goal difference after Green was introduced in that game meaning that game scores +2. So far, the tally stands at +24, a testament to the impact our subs have and our ability to score late in games. Out of the 21 games so far, the substitute goal difference total has been positive 9 times. It has only been below 0 twice and both of those occasions were in cup games where the Essex duo were perhaps less inclined to introduce the big guns.
If you look at the period of play after we’ve made our first sub, we’ve had an overall positive impact of 10 goals and gained 13 points. In this metric you can also obviously lose points; for example, if a sub enters the game at 1-0 up and we lose, that’d be -3 points. However, after making the first sub, our result has been improved 6 times and only been negatively affected once in 21 games (Checkatrade against Mansfield). When it comes to subs 2 and 3, they’ve never had a negative impact on the result.
2) Matt Rhead
I’m sure many a head was shaken in some quarters when the lineup was released and, I must confess, I was also surprised to see Rheady out of the starting XI (not that many were complaining after long). Furthermore, he didn’t come off the bench so the Forest Green faithful were denied a real reunion with their old friend. The big man had previously appeared in 12 games in a row and this was the first time he’d not featured in a City game in over 2 months.
He’ll be fresh for Tuesday and no doubt eager to pit his experience and physique against some bright, but less battle-hardened, starlets. He might also be seen alongside a new teammate with talk in some areas of a debut for a young striker with Adebayo-Smith seeming the most likely. Especially because the prospect of seeing another number 30 running around Sincil Bank is probably enough to make Danny giddy.
3) Harry Anderson
It seems Harry is a doubt for Tuesday which is a real shame for him. So far, he’s still been involved in every game this season, starting 19 of the 21 (joint best with Toffolo). Nevertheless, I wanted to cover him. This is because it’s been a bit lost in the discussion of our latest victory that Harry picked up his 4th assist of the season through his tireless endeavour. This takes his joint second with Akinde and Toffolo in this tally (Andrade is way out in front on 7).
I’ve seen some press rumours about big teams interested in him in January. Despite there still being some who doubt his place, I feel this would be a massive loss. If you’d have told me at the start of the season that, 21 games in, he’d be 3rd in the minutes totals and 8 behind Bostwick, I’d have been very surprised. However, here we are and he’s developed into a vital part of the team.