Spreading the Goals
By Editor
Sunday 08 Dec 2019 15:19:00
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It is still remarkable that Terry McPhillips managed to steer Blackpool to 10th place last season, although it is worth noting that by the final game we were 11 points off 6th place (a mammoth 23 points off 5th place) and just 12 points ahead of the bottom 4. It was an average league, at best, and McPhillips had enough in his side to cobble together the 15 wins we needed to stay up. However, when you scratch under the surface of the stats last year there was one area where we were badly lacking. Goals. We were 40 goals behind Luton who were promoted and yet just one goal ahead of Bradford who came bottom. Only 3 other sides scored fewer goals than the Seasiders in 2018/19. Naturally, it was the focus for player recruitment this summer, although it hasn't really worked out that way we thought. 

29 goals scored this season make Blackpool the 5th highest scorers this season and we've actually scored more times than the top two. Peterborough and Oxford are the stand out sides this season for goals (42 and 37 respectively) whilst both Fleetwood and Rotherham have notched up one more than we have. However, 11 of our 29 goals have come in the last four games. Armand Gnanduillet's 13th of the season against Fleetwood continues a brilliant season for the Frenchman whilst Fonz and Kaikai now have 5 a piece and are finally starting to increase their tallies. Most noticably on Saturday, Liam Feeney scored his first Blackpool goal, which seems remarkable bearing in mind the number of assists he's had. Midfield, as a whole, is still short on goals with Spearing on 2 (pens) along with Virtue and Thompson on 1. You'd also hope for more from the big lads at the back but Edwards and Heneghan have only got one apiece (compare that to the days of Evatt, Gorkks and Barker who were regularly amongst our leading scorers).

The real disappointment this season comes in the signings up front - Joe Nuttall and Ryan Hardie. Nuttall has played 574 minutes this season (effectively six and a half games) and has scored just once and during that time has managed just 4 shots on target. Hardie has yet to get off the mark although he has scored in the ressies. It was clear last summer that this was the area that we were desperately short and yet it doesn't feel like we've found the answer. Of course, neither player has had a lengthy spell in the first team, however neither has really shown the ability and desire which would give Simon Grayson selection nightmares. Darren Ferguson at Peterborough has the luxury of three players who are hitting the back of the net for fun. Mohammad Eisa on 15, Ivan Toney on 14 and Marcus Maddison on 10. How much further up the table would Blackpool be with someone scoring as prolifcially as Gnanduillet?

What is interesting is that none of the top 10 goalscorers in League One come from Wycombe and Ipswich. Everyone talks about Akinfenwa who actually only has 6 goals to his name (along with his team mate Joe Jacobson) whilst Ipswich have Kayden Jackson and James Norwood on 7 apiece. Maybe we've all been looking in the wrong area and actually need to tighten up at the back where we've conceded 22 goals. Wycombe have kept 11 clean sheets this season, Ipswich and Oxford 9 whilst Simon Grayson's side have only managed to keep the opposition out 6 times (and frustratingly three of those occasions were in 0-0 draws). All food for thought for Simon Grayson going in to the January window and the second half of the season and if it were down to the manager, he'd probably like to strengthen in both areas. 

If you would like to contribute an article, e-mail us at avftt@mail.com - we'd really appreciate your input.



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