Nottingham Forest striker Sam Surridge has played a supporting role since joining the East Midlands club in the winter window but he could well step into the spotlight in the final weeks of the season.
Aston Villa loanee Keinan Davis has been ruled out for the rest of the regular season, which means Surridge has got some big boots to fill.
Davis has been brilliant since joining at the start of the January window but we saw in the 4-0 win against West Bromwich Albion last night that Steve Cooper’s side can succeed without him.
Surridge was in the goals against Albion but with some big games coming up, we’ve dug deeper into the numbers behind his performance with the help of Wyscout to analyse what he offered in his 98 minutes on the pitch at The City Ground.
The key moment for the January arrival came in second half stoppage time as he latched onto Phillip Zinckernagel’s through ball and bagged his fourth goal in Forest colours off the underside of the crossbar.
It was a finish that speaks volumes about the confidence he is playing with right now and one that ensured he made the most of his best chance of the match and helped him outperform his expected goals (xG) figure of 0.66.
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Surridge had three shots in total but failed to find the target with his first two, which were from more challenging situations, and was always looking to be a nuisance for the back line.
The 23-year-old picked up some dangerous positions against Albion, as his four touches in the opposition box show, and occupied opposition defenders – though he only won two of his eight offensive duels.
We know what Surridge offers as a goalscorer – he has bagged four goals in less than 400 minutes for the Reds – but it is replacing Davis’ offering in link-up play that will be the real challenge.
The striker didn’t provide a shot assist during the game and connected with just one pass to the final third and only two to the penalty area but there were signs that with more regular minutes, he can grow into a useful asset.
Though he was not constantly involved, Surridge connected with 11 of his 14 passes (79% success) and received nine passes in the game – those numbers might not seem high but they fall just below Davis’ averages in both categories this season.
Given almost all of his appearances this season have been from the bench, it’s only natural that he is still building an understanding with the players around him.
Cooper and co. will be hoping he can continue to make progress in that area of his game in the final few weeks of the season because Davis’ absence is clearly an issue.
There is rightful optimism after last night that Surridge could be the solution.