Lincoln City’s electric start to the season continued this weekend as they thrashed Southend United 4-0 at Sincil Bank.
The Imps have four wins from their first four league and cup games, having not conceded a goal during the first 360 minutes of the season.
Sporting a new passing style and yet retaining the same steel and grit at the back, they’re certainly catching the eye in the first couple of weeks of the current campaign.
They’ve made four new signings who have changed the outlook of their attack. Jack Payne, Tyler Walker and Jorge Grant are all technical footballers with a high work rate and lots of flair. Behind them, Bristol City loanee Joe Morrell has slotted into a midfield berth.
Morrell has been a real driving force behind the Imps’ early form, playing all four matches.
This weekend he played in the centre of the park as Southend were dismantled, but do his stats suggest his loan spell is a success so far? Our latest spotlight piece aims to find out.
Morrell’s role in the Lincoln midfield is simple. He’s there to grease the wheels of the machine, feed passes into the players who can do the damage. Having Wales Under 21 experience and having been highly rated at Ashton Gate, he’s a player with a bright future.
He started alongside Michael Bostwick this weekend; the tough, uncompromising former Peterborough man complementing Morrell’s slicker, more refined approach. In the course of the game the 22-year-old played 53 passes, a high number for a player in a side labelled as direct.
83% of those passes were accurate, something that is key to his effectiveness. There is no point in playing the ball around if it’s not being received by a teammate. Similarly, 53 passes are all well and good but if 48 of them are backwards it’s a false stat.
That’s not the case with the progressive, forward-thinking Morrell. He played plenty into the final third, 73% of which were accurate. That’s a decent return from his creative balls forward and often he helped transition the Imps from back to front. In the past, they’ve retained the ball well but struggled to link the two areas of the field; Morrell is perfect for that role.
He did get forward too and he’s not scared to carry the ball. He made three dribbles, every single one of them successful. He’s confident on the ball, able to make effective use of possession and trusted by his teammates.
He even managed to create two shooting opportunities, so as well as being the pass before the assists at times, he’s looking to get forward and play a slightly more advanced role.
He’s started very brightly indeed for the Imps and with their thin squad, he’s likely to get plenty of first team football as the season progresses.