Sean Scannell was once on the cusp of Premier League football.
He played for Crystal Palace in the Championship, leaving them before they moved into the top flight. He then earned a living with Huddersfield, again leaving with them on the cusp of their maiden season in the Premier League.
He wound up at Bradford City, a player surely intended to fire them to the Championship at the very least. He endured a torrid time with injury and form but started this season with a goal and assist.
An offer from League One was too good to turn down and he’s now with Blackpool, a side fighting for promotion into the second tier. Will he be the man to help them achieve redemption after several seasons in the wilderness?
Our latest spotlight piece attempts to find out.
Bradford endured a torrid time last season, finishing bottom of League One and seeing three different incumbents of the manager’s role. One of those, David Hopkin, saw little of Scannell in action due to an injury.
He picked up a stress fracture in his back in November, by which time Michael Collins had already been fired. By the time Hopkin left the club, Scannell still wasn’t back.
He returned in April and ended up with 18 appearances to his name. In that time, he failed to register a single goal or assist. That’s a poor return and despite his pedigree, he couldn’t add value to a struggling side. They needed big players, but Scannell blended into the background.
Across his appearances, he failed to impress. He was looking to get on the ball and dribble, with a 50.5% success rate. That’s all well and good if the dribbles are leading somewhere, but inevitably the end product wasn’t good enough.
His crossing success rate was 26.2% which, when you consider none ended up in a goal, is not sufficient again. He wasn’t helped by a weak squad and a low level of morale, but he was almost certainly one of the players affected most by the situation.
It would be wrong to say he disappeared when needed. On average, he made 3.02 passes into the box per game, but as a supplier, if your strikers are not firing, your contribution doesn’t look as good. It’s not solely the fault of those around him, but he was a victim of circumstance as much as anything.
He did assist shots, 1.24 per game, so perhaps with better players around him, the stats would have looked better. Who knows, an assist or two might have sparked him into life. Let’s not forget that only 12 of his outings came before his injury, staggered across two managers.
There is little to suggest in his numbers last season that he’s going to be a success at Blackpool, but with consistent Championship football, behind him and a suggestion he was closing in on form last season, he might be a very wise acquisition by Simon Grayson.