Hibs manager Jack Ross insists Christian Doidge’s goal drought is nothing to worry about
Christian Doidge has faced bigger challenges than a 13-game goal drought according to the man who has shown faith in the Welshman despite the barren start to 2021.
A player who took a meandering route to the Scottish top flight after he was released from both Southampton and Bristol Rovers youth ranks.
After a spell out of the game playing basketball instead, Doidge had to work his way back up through the Welsh leagues, combining playing and his job with South Wales Police, before finally making the breakthrough into the professional game in his early 20s.
“If you look at his pathway through the game, how hard he has had to work to get to the level he is at now, it is an example of how resilient he is,” said his manager, Jack Ross
“He has always been a team first player and although he loves scoring goals, as all strikers do, equally he understands the contribution he can make to the team with his overall play.
“He is not one I would ordinarily worry about. If it was a different player then I might be concerned but he is ok. I know he is fine and he has been through more challenging periods. He is playing at a good level and he has been an important player for me since I came to the club.”
Ross’ arrival last season coincided with Doidge finding form after a slow start to his Hibs career. And once he got going, he could not be stopped, ending the curtailed season level with Alfredo Morelos on league goals scored, and adding another half a dozen in cup competitions.
That offers Ross and the player himself comfort during what remains a frustrating time.
“There are very few strikers who will go through their career without having a run where they are not scoring,” said the Hibs gaffer. “He loves scoring goals and you can see the disappointment on his face when he doesn’t but it’s not something we dwell on.
“Christian is fine. He is one I don’t have to worry about in that regard. If you look through his career and look at his scoring record it has been mostly good but equally he has had runs of games where he has found himself not scoring. But, just as they did then, I have no doubt the goals will come again and, as I have said previously, his all round contribution has been good.”
In a season when he has had spells out of the team as Ross tinkered with the number of strikers deployed in certain fixtures, he has scored just seven. Even accounting for the slow start following his arrival in the capital, he had rattled in 17 by the same stage of last term.
“The one thing about Christian is that he always gets chances and if they ever dry up then I think that would be more concerning for him and me,” added Ross.
“He works hard, he gets opportunities and sometimes he takes them, sometimes he doesn’t. He would admit that himself, that’s the type of striker he is. The first opportunity he missed on Saturday is what he is judged on but his movement was brilliant and the day that stops that’s when I will worry.”