After beating Everton U21’s in the week, there has been a suggestion that Danny might have a selection headache this week. There are positions that may be up for grabs, by on the whole I can’t see there being any major headaches for the management team.
All of the assumptions below are purely based on the players being fit, if anyone is injured it obviously changes things.
The suggestion that Farms will return in goal for today’s game is way off. I like Farms as much as the next man, he’s been a brilliant servant for this club and he had a significant part to play going forward. However, Josh Vickers has not put a foot wrong in a Lincoln shirt and I’m afraid one Checkatrade Trophy game is not going to change. Danny will never let sentiment get in the way of making clear and concise decisions I’m afraid. It was nice to see Paul Farman back in the sticks but for the time being, get used to it being infrequent.
There’s no contest at centre-back either. Luke came in and did well, but Raggett and Dickie is our centre back pairing barring injury, suspension or loss of form. None of those three apply today, so nobody will be dropped. Even at full back, the decision is only the same as it has been for the last three or four weeks. Which side does Neal Eardley play on and which of our defenders starts on the bench. It wouldn’t surprise me for Sean Long to play on one side and Eardley on the other, but we’ll see. So, no surprises at the back.
Michael Bostwick and Alex Woodyard will play in midfield and I can’t see us switching too far away from 4-4-2. 4-3-3 worked well enough on Tuesday, but will Danny risk a major change of formation against opposition we should be registering a home win against? Even if he does I can see those two playing with one other in midfield. The one question is who plays in the midfield or partners Matt Green? I’ll come to that shortly.
Matt Green, I’m almost certain, will start today. Whatever those fans think about him being shot-shy or not being up to the job, you are wrong. He’s not having a good spell but I still assert that is down to the set up and not getting him into the game in the right positions. The guy is a goal scorer, he has been all of his career and there is no reason to suggest he won’t be here. I would be very, very surprised if we chose to go with Matt Rhead on his own up top due to his mobility, similarly I just don’t think Ollie Palmer is a natural centre forward. He’s trying to be, he’s working hard and having shots, which is often detrimental to those around him. Palmer clearly has lots to offer, his pass for Ginnelly on Tuesday was superb, but he isn’t a number nine, in my eyes.
Out wide we’ll combine any two from Ginnelly, JMD, Anderson, Stewart and Arnold. Again, depending on fitness, Harry Anderson would probably start. Something tells me he isn’t fully fit though and even if he is, he won’t be thrown straight back in to match action. With Nathan being rested on Tuesday he’s probably one of the starters, the other will come from either JMD for his two goal salvo against the Toffeemen, or Cameron Stewart. I have another of ‘those’ feelings I get that Stewart has come here to start games, getting the full 45 minutes has convinced me of that. He’s not a squad player, he’s the real deal. If he doesn’t start today, whoever does needs to impress because that kid will, eventually, be a shoe-in on the wing.
That leaves the elusive ten position, the one true headache Danny has. If he does decide to go 4-3-3 and tuck the wide players in, then expect Billy Knott in there. Billy is one of the managers favourites, we know that, and he does possess the ability to change a game as he sees fit. Elliott put in a good showing against Everton though, there is an outside chance he might get the nod. If we go 4-4-2 then it is widely expected to be Ollie Palmer, but today could be the day for Matt Rhead. A Matt Rhead flick on is just the sort of supply Matt Green feeds on and if the wide players can tuck in to support when the ball comes central, but also offer width when the full backs break, I think we can accommodate the big man. Palmer and Rhead wouldn’t work, Palmers runs aren’t in tune with Rhead’s supply lines and all you’d hear this afternoon would be groans of dismay. I think Danny will start with Billy at ten, for today I’d like to see the big man back in action. Crawley won’t be expecting it, plus if Cameron Stewart does play we might se some supply into the box, the sort Rhead thrives on.
Therein lies the only real headache though, even if social media has Farman, Waterfall and Ollie Palmer as the first names of the team sheet.