Could Liam Bridcutt's signing impact Leeds United's Alex Mowatt?

Elland Road pitchside

Could Liam Bridcutt’s move to Leeds impact on Alex Mowatt?

According to a report in The Telegraph, Sunderland midfielder Liam Bridcutt is set to join Leeds United on loan until January as new boss Steve Evans seeks to bolster his squad.

Following their 2-0 defeat at home to Blackburn, Evans hasn’t been shy in making his feelings known in terms of how open and under par the hosts were on the night.

Bridcutt, 26, has Premier League pedigree with the Black Cats and featured 18 times last season as the club preserved their top-flight status with a superb late-season run.

He will add bite in the central midfield, his leadership skills were evident at Brighton and as a defensive-minded player, he will shield his back four well and relieve the pressure off youngster Lewis Cook.

Bridcutt’s mooted arrival at Elland Road is great news for the club, but fellow midfielder Alex Mowatt may once again be the odd man out.

Mowatt’s season so far has been underwhelming as he failed to assert himself under former boss Uwe Rosler and has since started Evans’ reign as manager on the substitutes bench.

But how much can be attributed as his own fault? The 20-year-old’s excellent campaign last season has led to expectations rocketing.

  SeasonGoalsAssistsTouches per GameAccurate Passes per GameKey Passes per GameTackles per GameDef Duels Won per GameBall Recoveries per GameAppearances
Alex Mowatt 2014-2015 9 2 51.32 28.95 1.29 1.13 3.26 4.29 38
Alex Mowatt 2015-2016 0 1 33.38 20.62 0.77 0.23 1.46 2.85 13

As per the table provided by Opta, Mowatt’s performances last season compared to the current campaign are in sharp contrast and rather compelling.

What is the reasoning behind his huge drop in form? Well, positioning has been a major factor and so far this season, he has yet to feature in a deep-lying playmaker role.

Former boss Rosler seemingly looked at his goal-threat last season and saw an attacking midfielder in him, yet that particular role restricts his general involvement and ability to make his mark on matches.

The table illustrates how Mowatt, often in a deeper role last season, averaged more touches, accurate passes, key passes, tackles, defensive duels won and ball recoveries per Championship match.

This season, in contrast, the 2014/15 Leeds Player of the Year is relying on his teammates to feed him the ball, and alarmingly he finds himself woefully out of position when the ball is turned over.

Mowatt’s best position is undoubtedly in central midfield, yet Bridcutt’s imminent arrival puts another body between him and a regular spot.

If Evans persists with a 4-4-1-1/4-4-2 formation and favours Lewis Cook, Tom Adeyemi, Luke Murphy and now Bridcutt in the middle - Mowatt's difficulty at getting regular playing time only gets more tricky?

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch