Bristol City have slipped out of the Championship play off race after showing so much promise up to the festive period.
The fact they’re up there at all is a testament to good management as they try to punch amongst some financial heavyweights. They’ve formed a promotion bid without the aid of parachute payments, super agents or huge crowds.
Much of their success comes from being able to find a player on a budget, spotting the next big thing and bringing him to Ashton Gate for an affordable price. Jonathan Kodjia is an example, snatched for around £2m, moved on for £11m after scoring 20 goals in 52 outings.
Down in League Two, one talented player is showing that the next big thing might not have to come from overseas. Jorge Grant is on loan at Notts County from neighbours Nottingham Forest and he’s been catching the eye for all the right reasons.
Grant has scored 15 times for the Magpies this season, often pushing on from behind the front two of Jon Stead and Shola Ameobi. He’s be adept at conjuring up exciting long-range strikes, as well as proving deadly from free kicks anywhere around the area. He’s the highest scoring central midfielder in League Two and has more goals than prolific strikers Tom Pope and Marc McNulty.
He isn’t just a scorer though, he’s a provider too. The Magpies have been blessed with a rich array of attacking talent, but Grant stands out with five assists. He’s often preferred to Terry Hawkridge and Lewis Alessandra in the County side and he rarely disappoints. At times, he’s carried the side on his own, when the rest of the players have been out of form, he’s remained deadly for opposition defences.
He has a shot conversion of 31%, a figure that betters many strikers in the division. He likes to have a pop from outside the area and whilst 31% of his efforts end up as goals, a much larger percentage draw saves from keepers or result in corners and opportunities for his team mates.
He’s made 37 appearances this season, which makes him ever-present in the County side in league football. He’s won 43 fouls, surprisingly low for a player who gets on the ball as much as he does, but it could be an indication that he’s simply too skilful to catch. His own count of seven yellow cards also demonstrates he isn’t a show pony, he’ll get stuck in and fight with the best of them.
He isn’t just a loan player, he’s integral to everything Notts County hope to achieve. With him being so effective in League Two, surely he deserves a chance higher up the spectrum?
Offering such a threat from the middle of the park he will surely be hot property in the summer, but much depends on whether new Forest boss Aitor Karanka sees the benefit in retaining his services. He signed a new three-year deal in the summer and won’t come cheap, but he wouldn’t be breaking the bank either. Bristol City have proven in the past they can polish an uncut gem, Jorge Grant has all of the necessary attributes to be the next to thrive at Ashton Gate.
What do you think Robins fans? Would you like to see Jorge Grant join your side this summer? Let us know in the comments below.
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