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The Madine Factor: Myth or Reality?

Ken Anderson reckons it's codswallop, but the stats tell a different story

Leeds United v Bolton Wanderers - Sky Bet Championship
Bolton haven't won one of their nine matches without Gary Madine in their side this season
Photo by Daniel Smith/Getty Images

Unless you've been living in a cave for the last few weeks you'll know that Gary Madine's ongoing absence through injury has been one of the big talking points among Bolton Wanderers fans.

In his latest pearls of wisdom on the Bolton website Our Great Saviour, chairman Ken Anderson, chipped in by stating that he doesn't believe Madine's absence has had any effect whatsoever on the team.

Anderson claimed:

Is this train of thought really a "misapprehension?" I'm afraid not, Ken.

This season, Bolton have played nine league matches without Gary Madine in their starting lineup. Of those matches they have won... NONE. Zero, zip, zilch. They've drawn four, lost five and scored just twice. Just to repeat that point, we've not won a single game without Madine in our side, taken just four points and scored just two goals.

Furthermore, in the last two matches at Scunthorpe United and Oldham Athletic, Bolton have only mustered four shots on target. Only one of those was at relegation threatened Oldham, while we also only managed one shot on target in the 0-0 draw at home to Chesterfield at the start of this month.

Also, considering the fact that Madine has only scored nine goals in 40 appearances this season, it's pretty clear that his importance to the side is not for his prolific goalscoring ability. So Anderson's comment regarding us winning matches when he hasn't scored is missing the point.

The point is that Madine is crucial to the way Phil Parkinson wants to play. Without him, in my opinion, the manager's tactical naivety is shown up as we don't have another striker that's able to hold the ball up and bully defenders. This necessitates a 'Plan B' or a different way of playing that doesn't involve booting it at Madine or relying on him to bring the likes of Josh Vela into the game, or relying on Morais' crossing ability - namely, using the pace of Chris Long to get in behind the opposition.

As a case in point, look at the way Manchester United adapted their game against Chelsea at the weekend. Jose Mourinho was without target man Zlatan Ibrahimovic (admittedly through choice) and put Marcus Rashford into the side. This meant adapting the side's approach accordingly, to utilise the young forward's pace. I realise comparing the two is a bit of a stretch, but could Parkinson adapt his approach to play to the strengths, or rather the pace, of Long?

Parkinson has so far been unable to find that second option, but let's hope he does tonight against Bury. As Madine clearly won't be playing, yet again.