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Morsy continues great form for Chesterfield, Dodo settling in Swindon
KingFut’s Adam Gray sheds some light on the progress of Sam Morsy and Mohamed ‘Dodo’ El-Gabas in the lower leagues of English football as the Egyptian duo settle in at their new clubs.
Morsy continues great form for Chesterfield, but unbeaten run comes to an end
Chesterfield’s excellent start to the new League Two season came to an end on Saturday as Mansfield put a stop to their unbeaten run in the ninth game. With a 0-1 win at the ProAct stadium, the Stags joined Chesterfield in the automatic promotion spots, moving to third in the table with the Spireites still at the summit with a four point gap. It was the first home game in this campaign that Chesterfield hadn’t won, nor scored, the only familiar aspect about the match was that there was another impressive performance from Sam Morsy.
Appearing in his tenth game of the season, a run that has seen him play in every minute of Chesterfield’s campaign so far, the midfielder, who turned 22 last month, hit the bar and saw a long-range shot well saved but could not stop his new club slipping to their first league defeat since joining from Port Vale in the summer.
In typical Morsy fashion, as he slotted alongside Jimmy Ryan at the base of Paul Cook’s midfield, the youngster picked up a booking, the 18th of his short career and the 4th of this season so far. Except this wasn’t for the type of tenacious tackling that he has picked up a reputation for in League Two, but for what referee Robert Madley saw as a dive as he looked to have been brought down by a defender in the box. It was another incident in a frustrating afternoon for Cook and his men who saw Gary Roberts sent off in injury time, and the eventual loss which the manager said felt like his team had been relegated.
Speaking after the game, Morsy told the club’s official website that the dressing room was “bitterly disappointed” to have lost the game and with that the overriding emotion, it was reflective of how far the Spireites had come since Cook had taken over last October.
“We have set really high standards for ourselves and everyone is trying to buy into what we are doing but we’ll just go again,” said Morsy. “We have to put it right next Saturday.”
Cook assumed the reigns at the Derbyshire club last October with the Spireites sitting fourteenth with just 4 wins from their opening 14 games. Having been steered to a very respectable eighth at the end of last season, attitudes at the club have changed so much that it is now seen as a setback to lose any game, irrespective of how they are top of the league. It has been a result of Cook’s impressive nous in the transfer market, overseeing a turnaround of 22 players in the summer, including building a new spine in midfield with the likes of Ryan, Roberts and Morsy.
The attitude of the Wolverhampton-born midfielder has been a revelation since he was described as a “coward” by his former manager Micky Adams during his time at Port Vale. Now growing into his defensive midfield role with intelligence and athleticism, controlling games alongside Ryan, or the experienced Ritchie Humphreys, with impressive stamina and dynamism that not only allows him to patrol the area in front of his defence, but to also get forward and join attacks. It is indicative of the faith Cook has in the solidity of his central midfield that on Saturday, he saw fit to field four attackers in Jay O’Shea, Eoin Doyle, Drew Talbot and Tendayi Darikwa. Chesterfield have found goals easy to come by, scoring 21 goals in their nine games so far, but with a defence shielded by a combative midfield, they have managed to keep things extra tight at the back, Calvin Andrew’s winner for Mansfield on Saturday only their 4th goal conceded in this campaign.
Morsy’s ever-improving reading of the game has been a major contribution to that, timing tackles well to win the ball back and to keep things ticking over in the Chesterfield midfield. At just 22, there is no doubt that as part of a team that looks to be in for a promising season, he is showing signs of realising a successful career, the one that was always on the cards, but previously undermined by indiscipline and silly tackles. He is still learning, though the Englishman with an Egyptian father is growing into a fine midfielder without losing any of his fierce competitive edge.
El-Gabas shows glimpses of what he can offer Swindon
Swindon’s new Egyptian acquisition, the 26-year-old Mohamed El-Gabas has been restricted to a few substitute appearances so far, coming on in the last few minutes of a 3-2 win over Bristol City, where he startled fans with his electric pace, before being given 15 minute cameos in the League Cup defeat to Chelsea and the loss at Preston.
The form of Swindon’s current attackers, Nicky Ajose, Nile Ranger, Grant Hall and Yaser Kasim means El-Gabas faces tough competition as he aims to break into the side, but early glimpses of his quality, notably his speed and movement, could give manager Mark Cooper an extra-option over the course of the campaign. Having not played competitively since April 13th, the striker known as “Dodo” will be lacking in match fitness but his qualities represent a big impact for Cooper should he need it coming off the bench.