Tomorrow will see Neil Harris and his side welcome Rochdale, looking for the elusive win at home. As mentioned in my last post, we have the best away record in the league, but also boast the worst home record in the league. Something isn’t going right, and hopefully.. Hopefully! We can get it right come 3 o’clock Saturday. Below is my XI for the game tomorrow, a couple of changes from last week, what team would you choose?
A change of formation along with a change of players, with Webster and Nelson both struggling we are more than likely going to see Craig and Beevers in the heart of defence. Although the norm is to have a right footed and left footed defender in the heart of defence, I believe with both Beevers and Craig they could compliment each other. Beevers brings the height, while Craig is the more mobile of the two. It was a few years back now, but Craig played on the right side of defence along with Zak Whitbread in a season where we reached the play-offs in 2009 which culminated with that defeat to Scunthorpe at Wembley. Craig was superb, and captained the side as Paul Robinson recovered from a season long injury, and with that in mind I have confidence that with Beevers and Craig it could potentially be the combination we need and looking for. Completing the back 5 including the keeper I would go with Archer, Edwards and Ferguson. Archer has been great since coming in and has done what has been asked of him, Edwards has brought valuable experience and composure and Ferguson comes in to add an attacking threat down the left, I will touch on this further below.
I’m the midfield, I’ll commit the crime of dropping Jimmy Abdou, dropping is a harsh term as he never does anything wrong, however his replacement Thompson adds something different to the middle. Away to Scunthorpe and other cameo appearances this season he has proved he is capable of doing the dirty work, along with spotting a pass and getting the attack going. He brings the energy Abdou also brings to the team, and doesn’t seem to tire and runs himself to the ground for the team. Jimmy is needed in big games, the likes of Sheffield United away, however at home to Rochdale I believe we need to play our game and let the visitors worry about us. Williams seems to have got through his dodgy spell and has looked a better player in the last few games, taking less time on the ball and looking more instinctive with his passing, on his day, he can be a key factor in the match result. To complete the 3 man midfield I’ve opted for Upson, he hasn’t looked the greatest on the left hand side and its unfair to expect him to do a job there, for me his best role is the attacking midfielder, running with the ball between the defence and midfield of the opposition.
Finally, up top I’ve gone for Fred, Morison and O’Brien. Fred probably had his worst game last week against Southend, however being young he will have off games, but he will also win us games on his own. Paris Cowan-Hall probably would’ve got a chance this week with Wigan on Tuesday night, however his injury in the Under 21’s forces our decision to play Fred. O’Brien on the left might be a weird decision, but with Ferguson also playing as a wing back having Aiden playing there will hopefully allow him to cut in and get involved in the middle. Ferguson has a great delivery of the ball in his locker and we need to see more of this down the left hand side, it has been a weak link in our team and probably contributed to Fred’s poor performance last week. At times we were relying on Fred to do too much and it shouldn’t be that way, we should be able to offer different aspects of attack on each flank of the pitch. Leading the line I’ve finally settled on picking Morison, another who was poor last Saturday, the other player in my mind was John Marquis, maybe a shock to some. I hope Marquis gets a game this week, Morison is clearly the better of the two technically however Marquis offers the work rate up top and is another who will run himself into the ground, he proved while on loan at Gillingham if you give him a run of games at this level he will score goals. Morison needs to contribute more goals as he was brought here to do just that, last game reminded me of the Morison of old under Holloway and Lomas, blaming others on his team when in fact he was having a bad game. However being capable of leading the line and linking up well with O’Brien I hope we see a top draw performance with goals tomorrow.
So that’s my side and my thoughts, what would your XI be tomorrow? Let me know what you think of my side and your predictions for tomorrow.