in FM18, My Approach to..., Samo's Stirling

Why the Medical Centre on FM18 ISN’T Needed

The addition of the medical centre for FM18 was called out as one of SI’s crowning new features. It’s a feature that I hadn’t seen many people requesting, it’s one we’ve managed to live without so far up to this point and personally, it’s one I think can still be lived without. Have a read of how I’m managing injury prevention on FM18 without clicking into the medical centre.

Manual rest

I became a big advocate of this on FM17, and I’ve continued it on to FM18 too. At different periods of the season, when midweek matches come thick and fast for example, I’ve even prioritised rest and having match fit players over them actually training.

Think about it in FM terms on the training screen. The preset option seems to be to have a day of rest/no training the day after you’ve played a match. Initially you might think that seems fine, they’ve just played a match, they don’t need to train today. But it was just your first 11 that played the match, including maybe giving three subs some gametime too. By all means they should be given a rest, but what about the other subs that didn’t get on the pitch and the rest of your squad that didn’t make the matchday squad? What are they getting a rest for? I untick that “rest day after match” button on the team training screen, and then once I’ve just finished a match I head to my squad view and sort my players by the positions I selected them to play in.

From there, I select my first 11 (minus the keeper, unless I really think he needs a rest (which isn’t often), and any subs I think need a rest too), right click and follow the breadcrumb you can see on the screenshot above. Depending on the situation, I’ll alter exactly how much rest I’ll give my players. In the example above, I might actually deselect my AMR and give him an extra day off to fully recover, seeing as his condition is down at 64% (he gives his all in every match with 15 for work rate but also his 17 for natural fitness helps here). I’ll take into account our schedule too. I’m still in the first half of the season, we’d just beaten Raith 1-0 here and it just so happens that we don’t have another match until next weekend, so I can afford to perhaps not give as much rest as I maybe would if we did have one in midweek. I’d probably go for one day of rest in this scenario.

Minutes played and rotation

When adding information to my squad views, one of my most important columns is minutes played.

Looking at the far right of the above screenshot, you’ll see so far in my 17 matches this season I’ve got a core set of players that I’ve chosen on a regular basis. I believe that core are my best players in those positions, the ones I can count on, but I’m more than happy to rotate and give the players in the next tier down a shot in the first team too. Rotation in football shouldn’t be an alien concept to you by now. I like to have at least two options per position in my squad, and they’re players I’d be happy with stepping in at any time.

When it gets to matchday, I generally don’t like to start a player who are below 90% physical condition. Even if that player is bang on form, if they aren’t fit enough they’ll not start a match for me. Ross Kavanagh has three goals and two assists in his last five matches, at an average rating of 7.68, if he’s not worked his way back up to a good level of physical condition prior to my next match, I’m more than happy to give Ryan Tierney a first team run out.

Substitutions

If I don’t make three subs a match, I get annoyed with myself. They can be the perfect way to manage injury prevention. The ability to see players condition is literally right there in front of you. Some prioritise subs to change the game and make a breakthrough, and I do do that on occasion but my priority with subs is taking off tiring players or ensuring that players returning from injury get minutes under their belt (as seen in the next section). As soon as it gets to the 60th minute, I’m starting to think about who’s coming off and who from my bench maybe needs to come on for some minutes. Very rarely will I get to the 80th minute without making a sub, there’s no room here for subs to wind down the clock. They serve a purpose.

Injury problems

Injuries can occur at any time. It doesn’t matter if you’ve just played four matches in less than a fortnight or if you’ve just come off the back of preseason with your players as fit as they can be. You can see in my previous couple of squad view screenshots that I’ve got quite a few players not at peak match sharpness. These are players that are either just returning from injury, or players that I’ve not really needed at all to step in yet for first team action.

Calum Gallagher was signed in the summer to come in and provide an upgrade in our right winger position. Before the season started, he tore his calf and was out for three months. Predict that, medical centre. Once he’s back to peak physical condition it makes absolutely no sense to just fire him straight into the first 11. He’s got to be nursed back to match fitness through a combination of u21 friendlies, sub appearances and maybe a start in a cup match against a lower tier side, if you’re lucky to get one. Since returning from injury, he’s only got on the pitch for 48 minutes so far. I’ll look to ramp this up in the next few weeks. Otherwise it’s highly likely, as he’s expecting to be a first team squad member, that he’ll come to me moaning. Plz give us an option to explain injury management to players, SI 🙏🏼.

Medical team

It’s an obvious one, but one of those things related to FM that I don’t fully know has an effect or not. Maxing out the options available to you in terms of the number of medical staff you can hire, I believe, puts you in a good position to deal with those injuries when they do occur and prevent them occurring at all.

Right now I’m allowed a head physio, a physio, and from this season, a head sports scientist and a sports scientist. We’re ranking first in the league for quality of physiotherapy and have the second best sports scientists in the league. We are still in the second tier, so it’ll be important to monitor and maintain our medical team if and when we get promoted to the top tier. The physiotherapy attribute is how good they are at issuing high quality treatment to prevent players getting injured and also how good they are at treating players to work them back from injury. FM18’s new sports science attribute is how competent that staff member is at managing player’s fitness levels and injury risk to keep them as fit as possible. Basically, get staff in with high attributes in both of these categories!

Thanks for reading!

So there’s what I do to monitor my players fitness and prevent injuries. Lots are finding the medical centre useful, and that’s fine for them. It does seem like much more of a hand-holdy feature, alongside dynamics too. Surfacing things that previously were there and you could control, but weren’t exactly right in your face when managing a club. If you aren’t busy smashing the space bar, there’s plenty to do and pay attention to in order to monitor and manage injury prevention. In my personal opinion, SI could have spent the time taken to develop that on other things. Maybe working on training a bit more? That’d be nice.

People are bound to disagree, maybe I’ll be won around by some of the arguments for the medical centre!

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