Crawley Town are not expected to be amongst the front runners for promotion this season. A promising start to the last campaign under Harry Kewell saw them fall away from the top ten, ending up as genuine relegation candidates.
They’ve had a quiet summer, much of their business has been conducted in the non-league rather than the Football League. Their one big summer signing, Ashley Nadeson, picked up an injury pre-season and will miss much of the early part of the season.
That shifts the responsibility for goals onto Ollie Palmer and Norwich City loanee Mason Bloomfield. The 22-year-old got a run out this weekend, playing 36 minutes as they went down 2-1 at Carlisle United.
He’s on his 16th club, a huge amount for a player of such a young age. After a number of stints around the non-league scene he joined Norwich City, spending time on loan with Fylde and Hamilton Academical.
Did he show enough to suggest he’s going to be an asset this season? Let’s check the stats.
It’s never going to be easy to make a big impression in such a short space of time and when Bloomfield replaced the ineffective Palmer on 63 minutes it seems he wouldn’t get half an hour. With a generous portion of injury time, he ended up playing for 36 minutes.
The stats clearly show what approach Crawley took when he came on. He wasn’t involved much at all, getting just one shot off which failed to hit the target. That sums up Crawley’s afternoon, with 16 of their 20 efforts at goals off target.
The young striker, whose most prolific spell came as he bagged nine in 20 for Aveley, didn’t see much of the ball at all. He only played three passes in the whole time he was on as well, although to his credit all three found their target. He only got one touch in the box, that led to the shot.
You’d be forgiven for thinking he was ineffective, his stats don’t suggest he was a viable option up front, but you have to consider the aerial duels won stat: 45%, but he was involved in 11.
Here we have a young player from a Premier League side coming on for his debut at a new club and it seems all they did was pump it long to him, hoping for him to win a header. He wasn’t asked to run in behind, he wasn’t asked to create and he wasn’t given service of his own in the box.
If they’re going to get the best out of their loanee, then they’ll have to adjust the approach, be it the 4-1-4-1 which saw him as the target man, or the method by which they feed the ball into him.