Behind The Numbers: are Huddersfield Town right to target Keith Andrews?

Town are reportedly interested in snapping up the Bolton Wanderers midfielder, but should they reconsider their options?

Action Images / Henry Browne
Huddersfield Town are believed to be interested in acquiring Keith Andrews

Huddersfield Town are interested in taking Keith Andrews from Bolton Wanderers and the noises appear to be positive ones, with Trotters manager Dougie Freedman reportedly set to let their forgotten man go.

First-team chances for Andrews at the Macron Stadium may be few and far between, particularly after the signing of Liam Trotter from Millwall, and the Republic of Ireland international will surely be tempted by another move elsewhere.

Andrews spent last season on loan at Brighton and Hove Albion but, after Oscar Garcia resigned in the wake of the Seagulls' play-off semi-final thrashing at Derby, it is unclear whether or not the 33-year old will be part of the new manager's plans.

With neither Bolton or Brighton seeming likely destinations for Andrews, his future is very much in limbo.

Should it not speak volumes that a fellow Championship club in Wanderers, who only finished three places and six points ahead of Town, are content to get rid of a player they consider a fringe member of their squad?

With that said, Andrews was part of a Seagulls side battling for promotion through the play-offs and no other midfielder made more appearances during Garcia's reign at the Amex.

Here, we look at the advantages and disadvantages for Town in signing Andrews this summer.

Advantages

During his stay with Brighton, Andrews perhaps acted as the perfect foil for Brighton's more nimble technicians as he sought to break up play and lay off simple passes to his team-mates.

While Andrews may not offer the creative edge of Adam Clayton, he would offer Town some much-needed height and presence in the middle third of the field.

Standing at 6ft, the Republic of Ireland international towers above the likes of Jonathan Hogg (5ft 7in) particularly, but that does not sacrifice on his combative style, as the stats suggest.

Here's our gallery from earlier this summer on midfielders who could be on the move.

 

None of Town's current first-choice midfield three were able to boast a higher duel percentage (57.1%) than Andrews last season, while his stature also contributed towards his respectable tally of 72 aerial duels won last season, some 29 more than nearest rival Oliver Norwood.

Andrews would also offer much-needed organisational skills and the sort that players of his experience bring in abundance in midfield, something Town can be accused of lacking at key moments last season.

The occasional naivety of the midfield triumvirate - whose average age amounts to just 24 - was one factor behind the defence becoming exposed last term and any potential move for Andrews would be a clear signal of intent to offset that.

He has developed a reputation for being in the right place at the right time, backed up by the 96 clearances and 14 blocks he made last season, while he also conceded the least fouls (44) when matched up with Town's midfield roster, with Hogg the next best up on 46.

Disadvantages

One aspect of Town's play that grated on fans last season was the lack of speed in the transition throughout the side as teams often found it easy to combat the pass-and-move style Robins has sought to implement.

While Andrews certainly covers the turf well, he would not be the antidote to allay the perceived fears of a lack of pace in the middle third.

His high defensive work rate masks his own failings speed-wise and also his inability to make a tangible impact further up the field, with his numbers in attacking areas leaving a lot to be desired.

His 20% shooting accuracy ranked as the worst amongst Town's midfielders while his tally of just 15 chances created was significantly lower than his prospective midfield peers.

Although not necessarily part of his central midfield remit, particularly at a side like Brighton whose passing principles are akin to Town's, his crossing ability is below the current levels set by the Town trio at just 13%.

While Town would surely be signing Andrews for his knack for goal stopping rather than goal scoring, a school of thought remains that, should the market be scoured enough, an opportunity to find a midfield general who can plug both of the club's gaps in midfield can be found.

Verdict

He may not be the perfect answer to Town's prayers, but with Keith Southern long gone and Oscar Gobern's future uncertain, Robins must move to address his requirements in midfield.

Andrews does not possess the poise of Clayton or the goalscoring ability of Norwood, but he more than makes up for that with a combative side to his game that was so sorely lacking from Town at times last season.

As well as holding international pedigree on his CV, there is also a stature to Andrews, both physically and style-wise, which fits perfectly with the anchorman role he performs well.

While hardly setting the Championship alight during his time on the south coast, if Robins can identify the right formula between his midfield options, then Andrews could prove an astute signing by Town.

 

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