Portsmouth transfers: Why AFC Wimbledon attacking midfielder ticks more boxes than £200,000 Accrington man

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Ethan Chislett could be the answer to Pompey’s attacking issues next season.

The Blues are believed to be in the race for the 24-year-old along with League One rivals Bolton and Wycombe.

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Pompey are also looking at Portsmouth-born Accrington talent Tommy Leigh to fill their current void at number 10.

The Accy ace, though, is valued at £200,000 following their relegation to League Two. Meanwhile, The News understands the Blues could turn their attention elsewhere as John Mousinho keeps his options open.

With Chislett a soon-to-be free agent, should he turn down improved terms at Plough Lane, he could prove to be a better value for money option than Leigh – if they are looking elsewhere.

Indeed, when you compare the two and the stats they recorded for key elements of the No10 role last season, there’s only one winner really.

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With creativity essential, the AFC Wimbledon man would certainly fit the bill as he ranks among the best attacking midfielders in League Two for progressive runs. Last season saw him make 78, which worked out at 1.98 per 90 minutes. That’s much more favourable than Leigh’s 21 and 0.61 figures.

From left: Ethan Chislett and Tommy Leigh.From left: Ethan Chislett and Tommy Leigh.
From left: Ethan Chislett and Tommy Leigh.

With progressive runs, comes forward passes – and Chislett steps up to the mark once again here. In League Two, where he ranks in the top five among players with similar responsibilities, he made an average of 8.88 per 90 minutes compared to the 8.78 the Accy No10 made in League One.

In terms of through passes, it’s the Wombles midfielder who also has the edge. He averaged 0.9 per 90 minutes for Johnnie Jackson’s side with a success rate of 34.2 per cent, whereas Leigh managed only 0.67. Leigh was more accurate, however, coming out with a 34.8 per cent success rate at the season’s end.

It’s more of the same for passes into the penalty area, with Chislett making 2.6 per 90 minutes and a 43.1-per-cent success rate. That’s compared the former Bognor midfielder, who made slightly less with 2.39 but had a greater success rate at 51.2 per cent.

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For supporters, there’s no greater feeling than watching a player shine on the ball and making defenders squirm as they take them on. And it just so happens that that’s one of the Wombles midfielder’s greatest strengths.

During the 2022-23 campaign, he would make an average of 3.52 dribbles with a 49.3 per cent success rate. Leigh, however, made just 1.37 with an accuracy of just 36.2 per cent. While that put Chislett in the top six for 1v1 dribbles in the fourth tier, his Accrington counterpart doesn’t rank in League One’s top 30.

Being good on the ball also draws more fouls, with Chislett suffering an average of 1.43 per game, which made the attacking midfielder a prime target of League Two’s hatchet men. Yet, it’s his conversions from set pieces which gives him another added advantage.

Last season, he netted three times from free-kicks, which is the most out of anyone in League Two.

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Leigh didn’t register a goal from a dead-ball situation last term, which makes him less of a threat. Meanwhile, Marlon Park – who normally takes responsibility for these situations for the Blues – netted twice from free-kicks in League One last term.

Most importantly, fans want to see goal involvements. Chislett netted nine league goals last season, while also registering three assists. Leigh, on the other hand, would strike seven times and pick up two assists.

Another key area, which frustrated Mousinho and supporters, was the lack of crosses into the box. The League Two man could prove to be the ideal serviceman to Colby Bishop as he registered 1.98 per 90 minutes.

With a success rate of 39.8 per cent, that sets him apart from the Accrington midfielder, who managed 1.37 during the same period, with a success rate of 38.6 per cent.

On paper, Chislett appears to tick more boxes than Leigh and could very-much prove to be a better value for money option should Pompey opt against a £200,000 move for the Accrington man.