Andy Lonergan, what a man
After another good display at home against Huddersfield Town, Neil Lennon went over to hug the big man between the sticks. I originally questioned his arrival, and still do at times, because he`s a Championship first team goalkeeper.
Why would you question that? You might ask.
When we have Bogdan, a (former) Premier League goalkeeper on Premier League wages as first choice, you have to consider whether you need the best backup in the division, which Lonergan may well be.
He`s had a few poor games, but so has Bogdan and while the latter maybe has it more in him to make incredible, heroic saves he`s much more error prone. We only have to look at last year`s game against Yeovil. In what can be a very very tight division, the smallest mistakes can be the difference between relegation and staying up, the difference between the play-offs and automatic promotion. Though, then again you could say the same about some of the incredible saves that Bogdan is capable of.
What we have at the moment is three goalkeepers good enough to start in the Championship- Adam Bogdan, Andy Lonergan and Paddy Kenny (who is at Oldham Athletic on loan). I think that this is unjustifiable given our finances, and to be honest- pretty pointless.
I think we could cope without one of Lonergan or Bogdan. I think that neither should be a backup ‘keeper at this level, and we can`t afford to have a backup ‘keeper on such high wages when we need to invest heavily in other areas.
I realise that I haven`t talked enough about Andy Lonergan about whom I`m writing this article, so to borrow a format in which I used to write at Voice of Bolton- let`s do a little player analysis.
Handling:Lonergan`s handling isn`t particularly good, but it`ll do at this level. It`s certainly much better than Bogdan`s, who`s dropped a few howlers in his time.
Distribution:His distribution looks pretty shaky, with too many balls flying into the stands for my liking, he seems only capable of kicking to the left hand side as well. He often seems to not strike the ball cleanly, slicing it in the process.
Positioning:As most goalkeepers at this level, there are no real problems with his positioning, as far as I`m aware. He`s rarely caught out stupidly, so on this front he is pretty solid.
Reflexes:The former Preston man has great reflexes and has the ability to make very good close-range stops.
Athleticism:Lonergan`s reasonably athletic, though maybe doesn`t defy the laws of Physics in the same way that Al-Habsi and Bogdan can.
As I said I do question whether we need both Bogdan and himself, and I`ve come to the conclusion that we do the following:
1- Sell Bogdan in January
2- Offer Kenny a new contract
3- Offer Lonergan a new contract
4- Sign someone like Arran Lee-Barrett, who will be on low wages- he might not be able to offer the best cover, though we don`t know if they`ll be needed. Maybe Neil Etheridge or someone similar. I`ve seen Ross Fitzsimons and I don`t think he`s good enough.
What are your thoughts on this? Leave them below in the comments.