It is hard to talk too much about young Max Sanders, because we haven’t seen him yet, but my gut tells me we will this week, even from the bench. He’s highly rated, the long-term successor to Bridcutt and someone who has to be blooded, sooner rather than later.
He is a dedicated four, it’s a role he has spent almost all of his career playing, and where he turned out for Brighton against Man Utd and Preston in the early stages of the Carabao Cup. He earned rave reviews in that Preston game too, with 89% pass accuracy and winning 60% of his defensive duels. They’re the sort of stats we need from the defensive midfielder.
We saw last night with Cohen Bramall, and back against Portsmouth with Robbie Gotts, that dropping into this finely tuned machine is not always easy. Sanders hasn’t yet pulled on a shirt in anger, and therefore he might be a little off the pace for a game or two. If you’re on the left wing, or at left back, maybe the team can soak it up, but if the heart isn’t quite beating right than the rest of the body doesn’t function. The youngster is an unknown, and Bridcutt’s injury has come four weeks too early. Had it been the end of March, and Max had been on the pitch for 200 minutes or so, then he might be the first choice. However, don’t rule out that being the case by the time Bridcutt does come back.