These were two of the questions that everyone in the away end at Hillsborough on Saturday was asking.
OK – so they didn’t all make it rhyme, and not absolutely everyone asked the questions. But you get the idea – there was a fair bit of discussion about Marvin Sordell and Gregg Wylde; two Coyle signings who have seen less pitch time in recent weeks than your average streaker.
Well, Owen has been talking to The Bolton News about it, and in the case of Sordell, it isn’t that he’s being starved of opportunities for no reason; it’s all to do with the quality of striker he’s competing against.
“I think that David Ngog and Kevin Davies have been doing well as a pair up front, so when it came to picking my bench, we knew that Jay Spearing’s fitness had been touch and go, so we felt that we needed to put that extra midfielder in there.
“Stephen Warnock can play there and he scored against us last year from that position, so I felt it was important we had that option.”
We’ll touch on this in tomorrow’s podcast, but there’s a definite logic on display here. If you score you are good, and if you don’t you are bad.
It’s hard to fault such simplicity. But surely we should be looking a bit deeper than who and who hasn’t scored? We signed Tom Eaves from Oldham immediately after he scored a hat-trick against us, and although unlucky with injuries, he hasn’t really been seen since. Now we’ve brought Warnock in who scored against us last year (obviously something that has stayed in Coyle’s mind).
I’m guessing that might mean that, despite Marcos Alonso showing some defensive weaknesses, his place is now secure thanks to his goal against Sheff Wed? Or is Warnock’s goal against us last season worth more than Alonso’s against the Owls? Warnock is naturally a left back, after all.
Anyway – I digress. Marvin Sordell was not picked on Saturday because of the Ngog/K Davies dream team up top, is what Coyle said. It doesn’t quite address why our £3 million permanent signing wasn’t even on the bench, when a guy we have on loan from Arsenal (who hasn’t exactly set the world alight yet) was.
If I was Sordell I’d be tearing my hair out at the moment – to miss out on starting is one thing. To not make the bench is soul destroying for a footballer who wants to play – especially one that was showing so much ability at his former club.
“He missed out on this occasion but there’s no doubt his day will come,” Coyle added.
With Gregg Wylde, it’s a difficult one to analyse. We haven’t seen him at all, really, and Bolton have an embarrassment of riches on the flanks: Petrov, Eagles and Chungy are already fighting for two places, and Coyle has also used Mark Davies out there too.
However, you’d have thought we might have seen a little more of the Scottish winger. Why did we bring him in at all? Again, at his former club he was highly rated and seemingly doing well. Surely he should have made it off the bench a few times? I’m not calling for him to be starting, but if he isn’t good enough to play at all, then why is he here and not out on loan?
“There are only 11 first team shirts and since the Hull result I think we have improved, accepting we didn’t get the result we wanted at Birmingham,” Coyle explained.
“Tim Ream and Gregg Wylde were the other ones who missed out but that just tells me that we’ve got a healthy squad and some great competition. It’s up to the ones who are in now to make the most of it because I have got the scope to chop and change.”
While we’re winning, it seems odd to question managerial decisions. But for me, as a Bolton fan, I’d rather be seeing my club’s England under-21 international striker getting pitch time ahead of a loanee (unless that loanee is tearing up trees a la Daniel Sturridge); and if we sign a pacy Scottish winger, I’d at least like to have seen him play almost 7 months into his time with us. Maybe that’s just me.