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Player to Watch: David Ngog

David Ngog could be an important cog in Bolton Wanderer's attack this year. The question is, will he be David Ngoals or merely Ngood?

Charlie Crowhurst

David Ngog has been a sometimes healthy, mostly regular, striker for Bolton for two seasons now. While he has shown flashes of becoming the "David Ngoals" Bolton fans would love for him to be, he has been Ngood more than anything during his time at the Reebok.

Looking back at last season, Ngog scored eight goals and was credited with the assist on five of Bolton’s other goals in 31 league appearances, totaling 2035 minutes. This was in line with the 33 league appearances and 2046 minutes that Ngog logged in his first season with Bolton. So, going forward, especially with the loaning out of Marvin Sordell, I would expect Ngog to see similar usage this year. The main reason I do not expect to see the big man’s usage to increase in Sordell’s absence is in part because of newcomer Andre Moritz taking some of Ngog’s playing time and in part because of my belief that any significant increase in minutes will just result in more injuries for him.

Throughout his career N’Gog has been a thoroughly mediocre, perhaps even below average, goal scorer and his stats last season have done nothing to persuade me that this is not the case

Player Shots On Shots off Woodwork On Target % Goals G% Total Shots G% SOG G/90 minutes
David Ngog - 2012/13 34 25 0 57.63 8 13.56 23.53 0.35

While Ngog’s goals per 90 minutes works out to a decent rate of one goal about every three games, his conversion rate is less than ideal. A slightly above average to good finishing striker converts around 30% of his shots on target into goals. For comparison, new Bolton man Jermaine Beckford converted 38.1% of his shots on goal last season. In addition, Ngog’s conversion rate is unlikely to see a significant bump as his career conversion rate is 25%.

Despite his mediocre goal scoring record, Ngog offers a combination of decent target forward hold up play with the feet and passing ability that his more often seen in an acceptable withdrawn forward. This combination of skills could see Ngog become an important cog in Bolton’s attack this season, especially as he is the only striker on the roster that offers this combination of skills. His ability to involve teammates and set them up for scoring opportunities should result in more goals for the team with the addition of the more clinical Beckford and some more judicious shooting from wing and attacking midfield players like Chris Eagles, Chung-Yong Lee, Rob Hall, and Andre Moritz.

A strong season for Ngog would probably see him bag somewhere in the neighborhood of ten goals and chip in ten assists, while providing important hold play and involving the rest of Bolton’s attacking players as they rush forward overwhelming the opposition. A poor season for him would likely see the amount of time lost to injuries increase compared to his last two seasons, fail to establish himself as one of Dougie’s key players, and see himself contribute three goals and three assists. More than likely Ngog’s season will end up somewhere between these two extremes, but I’m hoping for more Ngoals than Ngood.