After just two games of the season it’s pretty clear that Giovanni van Bronckhorst doesn’t trust Fashion Sakala.
It might be early doors but against both Livingston and Union Saint-Gilloise, we needed someone to make a difference, someone to open up the opposition defence and – more importantly – someone to score a goal and, each time, the manager turned to his bench and chose someone else.
The Zambian international is yet to play a single minute of competitive action this season.
Despite scoring 12 goals and creating 7 assists in his first season with a goal contribution record bettered only by James Tavernier and Alfredo Morelos, the additions of Tom Lawrence, Malik Tillman and Rabbi Matondo appear to have pushed him even further down the pecking order, rumours of a potential move away from the club now look like the most likely outcome and would give Gio room in the squad and funds to add his own player.
The good thing about Sakala is that he arrived on a free transfer, isn’t on big wages and isn’t going to cause any problems by being on the bench. His goals/assists record per minute played is also at a level that there should be plenty of interest should we decide to move him on or if we have to play him because of injuries.
I still think, when you compare him to Scott Wright, that he hasn’t had enough chances from the start – just 18 all season – and yet he still produced decent numbers. Perhaps more relevant is that he finished the season with two goals and five assists in five games in April and May and yet he still finds himself out in the cold.
We all know his limitations but when others are getting chances ahead of him and regularly failing to produce the time is either to give him his chance or replace him with someone Gio can trust.