It’s that time again; someone who has never played football at any level offers their opinion on a squad of League One players based on nothing other than 90 minutes every week or so.
Yep, it is the Stacey West yearly rundown of the Imps squad. This year, to give it a bit of depth, I’ve added a few little bits. Before you jump into my look at the current squad, here are a few things to consider.
- Players who left the club during the season are not included; there’s no Edun or N’Lundulu, for instance.
- I’ve included a few stats. All appearance and goals data are from all competitions.
- The assists are from Wyscout, in case there’s any dispute.
- The average rating, and best and worst performances are from your ratings over the season. I haven’t put the Accrington data into the averages (as there’s also another game to go as well), but I have included those players who you felt had their worst game of the season in Lancashire.
I’m going to break it down into small sections, released daily this week, so as to not drop a whole load of stuff on you, and so you can debate and discuss in small chunks. I’m writing this on Sunday, and plan to drop one article per day through until Friday, which leads us into the Crewe game. If you’re reading this Friday, I hope I feel better, as I’ve had a stinking cold all bloody weekend, exasperated by the Accrington performance!
Without further ado, let’s crack on, shall we?
Apps 16 (12) Goals 2 Assists 3 Second Assists 2
Average Rating – 5.33
The signing of Hakeeb Adelakun was, for me, a marquee signing that could have given us some real flair out wide. Sadly, it didn’t turn out that way. His season will be defined by two big occasions; the first was away at Morecambe, when he was taken off at half time having had a mare. He got a chance in the EFL Trophy, that’s what it’s for, but he flushed that chance away by having a drink when the ball was in play, resulting in the home side, League Two Carlisle, scoring. I thought he might get a chance in the final away game at Accrington, but that didn’t happen. In the end, we’ve not seen enough of Haks, which is a shame as he’s proven on his day (Sunderland away and MK Dons at home) he’s a decent player, but it hasn’t worked out for him here.
Hit / Miss – Miss
Best Performance: Cambridge (A) 8.1
Worst Performance: Crewe (A) 3.2
Apps 33 (9) Goals 5 Assists 3
Average Rating – 6.34
When Ted arrived from Ipswich I heard all sorts of superlatives, such as ‘the new Jorge Grant’ or ‘how is he not playing in the Championship’. I think he’s been unlucky; he’s shown real flashes of brilliance, and in some games he’s risen to the occasion like nobody else (Cheltenham away). According to Wyscout, he’s been played in ten different positions, which hasn’t helped, and he’s suffered from inconsistency. He can be sublime one game and anonymous the next. If anything, his is the one-player epitome of our entire season – promises a lot, beautiful when he delivers, but ultimately completes the campaign with us thinking what might have been. That said, I think he could be a key player for us, and his capture was certainly worth it.
Hit /Miss – Hit
Best Performance: Cheltenham (A) 8.3
Worst Performance: Portsmouth (H) 3.8
Apps 27 (9) Goals 2 Assists 4
Average Rating – 6.18
Cohen has had two seasons in one. He started the campaign seemingly on the fringes with Tayo Edun or right back and Jamie Robson rumours starting early. When Edun did leave, Bramall seemed destined to be left to one side, but with Robson struggling to settle, the former Arsenal man got himself into the first team. It wasn’t all plain sailing; I recall the 2-2 draw at Cheltenham as much for Cohen’s late, weak header than Ted’s brace. When we went to three at the back, Cohen sprang into life, and he’s looked lively going forward in a four as well. His pace is unreal, but the technique and end product isn’t quite there to match it. I can see him being the sort of player all managers will take a risk with; whether Michael does so for another year is the big question.
Best Performance: Cambridge (H) 8.2
Worst Performance: Carlisle (A) 4.1
Apps 15 Goals 0 Assists 1
Average Rating – 6.95
If the appearances bit in the title said anything beginning with a ‘3’, we’d be talking Player of the Year, without a doubt. When you count Leeds, Forest, Sunderland and Chelsea as former employers, and have appeared in the Premier League, you’re a top player and Liam Bridcutt is. He’s just not in the team enough to affect our fortunes. In two seasons, he’s started 36 League One matches for us; Joe Walsh has started 30. It’s just not enough for him to help us out of the bother we get into when heads drop, which is a real shame. On his day he’s the best footballer at the club, no question. The trouble is his day is increasingly infrequent.
Best Performance: Cambridge (A) 8.7
Worst Performance: Oxford (A) 5.6
Apps 12 (7) Goals 1 Assists 2 Second Assists 1
Average Rating – 5.91
I get the sense Michael likes Liam Cullen. As a personality, I do too. However, 12 starts, 19 appearances in total and just one goal is simply not enough. If you’re a fan of xG, which some are, then this is the stat you need; he’s scored one, but his xG has been 4.4, meaning he should perhaps have scored four or five. I can’t help but liken him to Callum Morton (and maybe even Dan N’Lundulu), as a young player with lots of potential but who can’t quite affect games in the manner he might like at the moment. Like Morton, he gets bullied quite easily, and he’s missed a couple of great chances too. He’s been overshadowed by other winter signings, and has only really come into the side when safety was more or less within our grasp. The fact he sat out some crucial matches says it all really; lots of promise, not enough substance.
Hit / Miss – Miss
Best Performance: Portsmouth (A) 7.3
Worst Performance: Ipswich (A) 3.5
Apps 3 (6) Goals 0 Assists 0
Average Rating – 6.35
I haven’t been including players who left the club, but for Freddie (and the two lads with Drogheda), I’ll make an exception as they’re likely to be part of the squad last season. There’s no doubt he’s got a big future in the game, and that’s likely to be here. He was dropped in at the deep end towards Christmas, he’s probably a year away from regular first team football, but we called on him to do a job where others, on loan from the Premier League, couldn’t. were it not for a cynical foul at Wigan he’d have had a goal as well. One to watch, but maybe not in the first part of 2022/23.
Best Performance: Bowers & Pitsea (H) 7.2
Worst Performance: Doncaster (A) 5.5