So the football season kicks off tomorrow, where we will be traveling to Shrewsbury looking to kick off the season with a win. The newly promoted against the recently relegated, Shrewsbury will prove tough opposition being in the mentality of winning games, and often teams carry this form into the start of the season. This is pretty much the toughest match we could’ve hoped for to start the campaign. Shrewsbury under manager Mellon last season were a constant threat in a similar style of play to what we will play this season, with Barnett and Collins up top scoring 30 goals between them. Both are all round forwards, capable of winning headers and also putting themselves about up top, working hard for their team. Defensively during promotion they gave away the fewest goals in the league with only 31 conceded, young centre back Goldson has draw many plaudits and also managed to score 7 goals from the back.
Here is the lineup I predict for tomorrow’s game:
Barring John Marquis I believe the starting XI will be exactly the same as last weekend, with Forde keeping the gloves in goal, pressure will be on for him to return to good performances with Archer in the background pushing for a starting berth. Forde was poor last weekend and a few got on his back, however we can’t doubt how good of a keeper he is on his day and if he performs to what we know we should keep clean sheets often. The back four seems to be the settled choice Harris had hoped for, Joe Martin is a big loss to injury however Beevers comes in with the opportunity to prove he deserves a starting XI place. As much as I’d love to see Nelson and Craig at the back, Harris believes Webster with Craig will be the perfect pair for Shrewsbury. While they might be more static at the back, they bring experience and leadership qualities to the side along with a physical presence, perhaps going to Shrewsbury who are on a high lining up with these two could be a blessing in disguise. Cummings at right back seems to have the position to himself for now, defensively solid he compliments Onydeinma by allowing Fred to have the freedom to take the ball on. Last weekend Cummings showed exactly what he isn’t, which is a wing back, often crosses failing to beat the first man however with Fred in front of him you wouldn’t expect him to cross too often.
Onto the Midfield and with both Fred and Lee Martin impressing in pre-season, both should start tomorrow. Fred has gained and improved a lot from his loan spell at Wycombe and looks an established winger at the age of 18. Having worked with Harris in the U21’s it allowed Harris to know what Fred is about and where he belongs on the pitch. On the other side Martin seems to have been given more of a free role in the side, often drifting across the field during matches looking for the ball. Harris believes this is when he is at his best, with the ball at his feet and the ability to either cross or shoot on goal. He seems to have come back with a point to prove, and also having the ability to use his left foot puts him in a good position on the left. Looking to the middle of the pitch we have Upson and Williams, both seem to get on and compliment each other on the pitch. Williams is the deeper midfielder with Upson pushing on, however we saw in the final game of pre-season that they seemed to have worked on taking turns to push on. Williams provides a threat in the air and if able to make a late run into the box, could be on the end of a few deliveries from the wide men. Jimmy will be a big miss in a game like this however with Upson and Williams we should be more composed on the ball, and therefore be able to keep it at times when under pressure in the match.
And finally up top I’ve gone for Morison and Gregory to start. Perhaps harsh on Marquis who has started each game of pre-season, but the signing of Morison is a huge one for us this season and in a game like tomorrow he could be crucial. Despite being nearly 32 years old he provides a great option as we know previously for going over the top of defences, and with Gregory next to him I believe they could be a great partnership throughout the season. As mentioned it would be harsh on Marquis however I don’t feel he has taken his chance during pre-season, if he had finished with bags of goals after the 4 games we might not have been so keen to take Morison on. Having only returned 1 goal from the spot against Bromley it doesn’t speak volumes considering he has started every game of pre-season. We know what Marquis is about and he provides a great outlet as a target man and does win headers and draw fouls. He will be a great option during the season and I believe if given the game time will score goals to add to Morison, Gregory and O’Brien.
So that’s what I’d go for tomorrow, what team do you expect to see? Should Morison start up top?