It’s been a few days since I’ve been able to write anything (I do have a day job, and you’re all welcome to submit your own pieces – firstname.lastname@example.org, ahem) but with Christian Doidge’s arrival, there is something to talk about.
First of all, how is it pronounced? It is a bit of an odd name. Listening to some commentaries from Forest Green Rovers TV, it seems to be ‘Doij’ and you would hope that they could pronounce the name of who was essentially a fellow employee correctly. But I thought it could be ‘Doo-ij’ or ‘Doh-ij.’
Anyway, onto the important stuff. Doidge’s scoring record down in Gloucestershire can’t be knocked, scoring 40 league goals in 73 appearances, his first season being in the National League, where they won promotion to then be in League Two. To break that down, last season, he got 15 goals in 32 games, even when he understandably wasn’t quite as prolific in a higher league, he was still one goal away from having a goal every other game, which is pretty good.
The question is now whether he can make the big step up from League Two to the Championship. It’s the biggest step-up in his career so far, but he has demonstrated the ability to find the net. Will he play regularly though, which is what goalscorers probably need? If we continue to play one up top, which frankly I don’t see as a problem, presumably Josh Magennis will be getting the nod for the foreseeable future, which would mean Doidge would have to be ruthless to grasp the opportunities he gets. It can be difficult to regularly get on the scoresheet if you’re not starting – Adam Le Fondre being a case in point.
There are some examples of players who have made the step up though. While they aren’t similar players, Ollie Watkins also scored 15 in League Two two seasons ago and is now doing well at Brentford, while the season before that Kemar Roofe scored 18 and is now a regular at Leeds. Then there’s the ultimate late-bloomer from non-league in recent years, Jamie Vardy.
By our recent standards, it’s a big deal, so let’s hope he gets the opportunities, and that he takes them.