Gloversblog; curious case of Alex Bradley

Alex Bradley in conversation with manager Darren Sarll.

Have you seen Alex Bradley?

The former Finland youth International turned a loan deal from Lincoln into a permanent one back in January of 2021.

It’s probably safe to say the next year hasn’t quite been what he imagined.

At the time he said; My ambitions for the rest of the season are to play as many games as I can to the best of my ability and to help the team achieve what we are all capable of.

“To reach the play-off spots is doable and it’s up to us as a squad to make that happen. I hope we can have a very successful remainder of the campaign and get this club back to where it belongs.”

Those play off spots of course never materialised, and the reasons for that are complex and in no way, shape or form down to Alex.

In total, the defender/midfielder played 24 times in the 2020/21 season for Yeovil, mostly from the start and mostly at right back.

He was rarely absent through injury and only got sent off once right at the end of the season away at Aldershot.

Alex Bradley is sent off at Aldershot Town

Now, this season feels a very different story.

He has played in nine league games so far.

That’s less than half of the matches, what’s more alarming is that’s he started NONE.

Using Soccerbase as a guide his nine sub appearances in the league have come in the following minutes of matches; 89, 76, 89, 86, 87, 88, 75, 81 & 89.

He did get nearly half an hour vs Yate Town in the FA Cup and started the Trophy game against Woking but was taken off after 73 minutes.

All of this means his last completed match was the defeat to Stockport on the final day of last season.

I’ve been scratching my head as to what’s changed and why Bradley has been left out in the cold so often.

…and before you all start screaming “he’s clearly fallen out with the manager”…

I’m not going to putting that forward as an argument, there’s no evidence to suggest that and there might be more to it.

Yeovil signed Mark Little and then Dan Moss both would have been ahead of him in the pecking order for the right back shirt that he occupied so regularly last season.

But at Lincoln, he was predominantly a midfielder, playing as such in an EFL Cup game against Liverpool shortly before heading to Somerset.

The Glovers have moved to a 4-3-3 system this campaign for the most part and with the success of Gorman, Staunton and Worthington as a trio there means there has been little need to tinker with that – despite the little Mitch Rose experiment of which we shall not mention again.

It was suggested that he might be more suited to a standard right side of midfield position, recent talk of a return to 4-4-2 might have fuelled some excitement in the 22-year old of a potential return, but suggestions after the Southend loss are that a tactical switch might be on the scrap heap already have probably quashed that.

Alex Bradley. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

Has he just been unlucky then?

He’s done nothing wrong in his mini cameos, but even then he came on in multiple different roles.

He played left wing at Stockport replacing Tom Knowles, he played on the right of the front three for a few seconds against Stevenage in the cup tasked with just killing time and being a nuisance.

He went into a defensive back line made up of about 7 players at Solihull and at Wrexham too.

Maybe he has just been biding his time, a little like Morgan Williams who had to snaffle a chance as an emergency left back when the opportunity came.

Others, like Matty Worthington have had unexplained time out the side and come back to be a mainstay in the team, so I don’t think his time at the club is coming to an end either.

It’s all a bit confusing and this weekend’s game against Needham Market might show us exactly where he stands in the respect of his involvement.

Despite Darren Sarll suggesting not much will change, he’d likely make a slight alteration or two.

We still expect Max Evans to play in goal (well, we don’t think Dillon Barnes is going to play) and with a potential reshuffle of putting Staunton in defence and with Worthington recovering from illness it might give Bradley some space in midfield.

Or will the early departure of Moss and the slow integration of Little back into the side offer him the chance back on the right side of defence?

What do you think? Has Alex Bradley been unlucky? Will he get a chance this weekend? Let us know!


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