The away kit doesn’t look quite as nice on the formation builder as it does in the flesh, does it?
Anyway, if we want to truly get the best from the side, I wonder if we might look to Leeds United for inspiration. They played a 4-1-4-1 last season, a setup that promoted a slick, passing game but relied heavily on extreme pressing and heavy workload for the two central players further up the field.
The back four wouldn’t be affected, not for the first game of the season anyway. If we do go down this route one of the key roles is the holding midfield role. It’ll take a player with a lot of energy and a real ‘box to box’ mentality. I’ve gone for Morrell or O’Connor here, depending on a couple of factors. Obviously, Mickey missing the Reading friendly might bring Joe Morrell in, plus the fact we’ve even got Morrell might mean we want to play hi over the Irishman anyway. Ellis could play here too, but it’s a role that needs a lot of legs and a good reading of the game.
The attacking flair comes from the four behind the striker. I’ve obviously gone with Big John up top, with three of the four from the other formation also included. Jack Payne plays in one of the attacking roles and the wide players remain the same as well. All this formation means is we get Jorge Grant on the field on the left side of the central pairing.
Look, we’re not going to play this away at Sunderland, no chance. However, at home to a Bury or Bolton might be a bit different, at least until they sign some players. We might need to go out and attack and the best way to unlock defences is to put the pressure on in the right areas. Payne and Grant have a lot of guile, plus if one of those was missing Morrell could step forward and leave Ellis of Mickey to fight for the holding role.
This formation certainly suits the recruitment and skillset that we have, but it’s not one you’ll see away when teams need to get at us.