Only one thing can derail this great season we’re having, and that is player absences.
If we lost a key player, say Jorge Grant, through injury, we’d be weaker for it. The same goes for Tom Hopper, the wingers and of course, Liam Bridcutt. Sadly, in the case of the latter, that is now a reality as we expect to be without the skipper for four to six weeks.
Firstly, Michael told BBC Radio Lincolnshire what a blow it is to lose the former Leeds man.
“It’s a bit of a blow because he’s an important player,” Appleton told BBC Radio Lincolnshire prior to yesterday’s draw with Accrington Stanley. “We’ve had to do it before this season. We have got players who can play in numerous positions. We just have to deal with it the best we possibly can.”
What has our record been with Bridcutt in the side? He’s appeared on 20 occasions this season, with us winning 12 matches, losing three and drawing five. That’s a win percentage of 60% with him in the side. Overall, in league and cup, we have played 38, won 22 with eight draws and eight defeats, a percentage of 58%, which suggests we are a little weaker without him. Bear in mind that of those 22 wins, we beat Mansfield, Forest Green and Shrewsbury, all of whom played weakened sides.
Still, whether he is influential or not, the fact is we must do without him for the foreseeable future. There are several choices Michael now has when it comes to team selection, and I have selected the five I think are tangible alternatives for the duration of Bridcutt’s absence. Remember, if he missed the full six weeks, he may be back around Easter weekend, meaning him not playing in home fixtures against Swindon, Fleetwood, Crewe, Rochdale, Gillingham and MK Dons, or away at Sunderland twice, Wigan, Plymouth, Ipswich, and Oxford United.
What might our esteemed gaffer do to combat that absence?