NEIL RIGHT FOR BHOYS?
By Adam Marshall
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Dons boss Egil Olsen has indicated that, should his side reach a position of Premiership safety, he will sell Sullivan before the end of the season in order to recoup a fee. The Wimbledon man could be heading north of the border sooner than expected, but what is it about his performances that have attracted the attention of the Parkhead outfit?
Perhaps surprisingly, Sullivan has saved just 72 per cent of the shots he has faced this season. Only two first-choice Premiership keepers have saved a lower percentage of the shots they have faced - Arsenal`s David Seaman and Steve Harper of Newcastle.
However, no goalkeeper has faced more attempts than the 132 Sullivan has faced. Only Middlesbrough`s Mark Schwarzer and Everton`s Paul Gerrard have actually made more saves this season.
Indeed, Wimbledon have one of the most porous defences in the league, with just one side outside of the relegation zone allowing more shots on target from opposition sides.
Sullivan has played every minute of Premiership football for the Dons this season and it is to his credit that, despite this many efforts being fired in on the Wimbledon goal, the side remains equal 10th in the list of goals conceded.
With this amount of work to do, Sullivan`s shot-stopping is actually more impressive than it looks, especially when one looks at his rival for the Scotland, and potentially Celtic, number one shirt - Jonathan Gould.
Despite facing just 56 on target efforts, Gould has managed to save 70 per cent of them. The reason Gould has faced so few shots is because Celtic enjoy more possession and dominate matches in their league in a way that Wimbledon are simply unable to.
Where Sullivan is far superior to the present Celtic incumbent is in the air. Despite coming for 63 crosses - more than any other keeper - he has maintained a highly respectable catch rate of 93 per cent, while Gould has successfully caught just 86 per cent of the crosses he has tried to claim.
Sullivan`s performances this season have been remarkably solid. Despite the pressure he comes under and the sheer amount of work he does, he has refused to buckle under the strain. With the reliable presence of the 30 year-old between the sticks, there seems little doubt that Celtic would be better placed to challenge Rangers for the Scottish title.