Tranmere Rovers got their first win of the League One season with a resounding 5-0 victory at Prenton Park against Bolton Wanderers.
The Trotters are in turmoil with a youthful side taking to the field against Mickey Mellon’s team, but they still needed to be beaten. Coventry City struggled last weekend, but Tranmere made short work of their opponents.
They’re settling back into life in the third tier slowly, with a win and a draw before the weekend. They’re also hoping to find a long-term replacement for James Norwood; the striker left for Ipswich in the summer and both Stefan Payne and Morgan Ferrier arrived.
Both were on the scoresheet this weekend, former Walsall man Ferrier bagged twice, but does that mean he’s going to be an adequate replacement for Norwood? Our spotlight piece attempts to find out.
Norwood was a real handful whenever he played for Tranmere; he led the line well, was always in with a shout of goal and got plenty of touches in and around the area. Of course, a striker is judged on goals and that’s where Ferrier can hold his head up high this weekend; he bagged two which Norwood himself often did last season.
That is where the similarities end though. Ferrier only got two shots on target and scored with both. Against a side like Bolton, packed with inexperienced young players, a striker can look sharper and aware. However, he might need to get more chances in future matches, certainly against the bigger clubs.
Having two shots and scoring twice can be seen as a positive or a negative. It might be that he’s simply a clinical striker, but in the context of this game, I’m sure his manager would have liked to have seen him get more chances.
Indeed, his xG rating (expected goals) was very low, down on 0.06. Contrast that with 0.37 for Stefan Payne and it could point to another area of concern around Ferrier’s chances of replacing Norwood.
He got four touches in the box, a number that is average for a centre forward, but again with the inexperience of the Bolton side and the resounding nature of the scoreline, a truly potent striker might have found more chances. He only won 38% of his aerial duels as well, suggesting the fledgeling defence of Jason Lowe and Yoan Zouma had the beating of him on several occasions.
Even when he drove forward with the ball there wasn’t quite enough to suggest he’s going to replace Norwood. He averaged a 50% success rate; not terrible but not what might be expected of a striker leading the line for a competitive League One club.
Morgan Ferrier did score a couple of goals and strikers are judged on that stats in the main, but he’ll have to show much more in and around the area if he’s going to replace James Norwood in the longer term.