The Defensive Dilemma – Options Available as Bolger Sits Portsmouth Game Out

Neal Eardley, Jason Shackell, Max Melbourne, Harry Toffolo


Credit –

Max played at centre half against Manchester United Under 21s as well as Doncaster in the EFL Trophy. He also appeared there for Ross County in a 3-2 defeat against Kilmarnock in the 2017/18 season, giving him three outings as a left centre back. I imagined he was signed as cover in that area by the previous manager but with the hope he wouldn’t have to feature.

I thought he had a decent game against United’s kids; he got caught out once but brought a bit of pace to the back four which would be the main advantage of him playing tomorrow. He would have to swap over with Shacks though, he’d play on the left with the former Wolves man on the right hand side. I wonder if that might be a bit too much disruption, given that he’d also be a bit of a square peg in a round hole.

It’s an option, Melbourne is tall and athletic and seems good on the ball as well as sharp in the tackle. Whether he would be the best choice given the other options is debatable, but he’s sure to be on the bench in the event of another red card or injury.

So, who do you think should get the nod? Have your say on the next page



  1. Hate to be a pedant but there’s a typo in your headline ‘availabe’ (also in the URL). I’m sure you’d like to change it :).

  2. I hope I dont see Tyler Walker on the left again, if Akinde comes on again I would like to see him take up Paynes postion. Walker must keep that central position.

  3. This was the danger. Cowley had built a dangerously unbalanced squad. If Shackel, and ageing centre back, picks up an injury we really are struggling. Or if he picks up a card as he has form for.

  4. Fully agree with Malcolm. Walker needs to stay central as he is our only one goal scoring striker. That was an odd change last Friday…
    As for tomorrow I would play 3 centre backs with Melbourne and Eards around Shackell and Lewis/Toff as a wing backs…
    Little bit worried about tomorrow’s aerial battles in our box if am honest.. We all know how good Ragget is in this aspect….

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. You don’t always get what you deserve: Portsmouth 1-0 Imps – The Stacey West
  2. Big Defensive Decision Awaits Michael Appleton This Weekend – The Stacey West

Comments are closed.