Reading the Manager's Options
Does the news that Reading will be fielding a weakened team affect our own team selection?
Does this also mean we will now adopt a more attacking formation or will we play a more defensive game hoping for at least a replay at the Turf?
The Clarets line-up for Saturday is not as easy one to predict. Based on the Manager's comments on the Official Site, it would appear even he is still pondering a number of options at the moment.
'We have a tough task on our hands at the weekend'says Steve 'and there are a few things to think about. Frank Sinclair is getting better, but that one has taken a lot longer than I anticipated'
'Michael Duff is suspended, so do we keep our back four, or try to get some stability back there, which might mean keeping Wayne Thomas at right back.'
'Do we play Stephen Foster at centre half, do we put Chris McCann at centre half alongside John McGreal?'
'We need to look at that and our wide areas, because while Wade Elliott has been doing very well lately, Steve Jones has probably been a little off colour. Do we play Ade Akinbiyi?'
'There is a lot to think about and we need to have a good look at the boys in training and see how they are shaping up.'
I suspect most fans will be hoping Ade Akinbiyi features in this match, hopefuly from the start. We have to be careful though that our emotional heart does not rule our head. Steve has said previously that we dont yet know the level of confidence and fitness of Ade, he has not played a competitive match in some time.
Lets hope his fitness levels are sufficient, there will probably be a huge psychological boost to the team alone if he starts.
The back four I would suggest should start with Thomas,Foster,McGreal,Harley. Chris McCann should be available for the back four if the system is not working or there are any injuries or red cards in that Department during the match.
My hope will be that we dont resort to a defensive match and go out to win. We do not often play 4:5:1 these days and the team seems settled with 4:4:2. If Ade is fit, then I would suggest he partners Gifton Noel-Williams up front. It will be interesting to see how a much improved and fitter Gifton plays with Ade. If there are significant doubts about Ade's fitness then it looks like Kyle Lafferty should start in partnership with Gifton.
My only concern is the current fitness and confidence of Steve Jones. The manager again in his comments above suggests there might be a problem. On his day, Jones can be one of the best assists player in this division although he also needs to improve his confidence in front of goal.
To beat Reading we really need both Wade Elliott and Steve Jones to be on top form running rings round what looks like might be a weakened Reading defence.
Oh well, the team selection for this match is intriguing and it will be interesting to know if the news from the Reading camp about weakened sides will have any effect on Steve Cotterill's thought processes for this match.
Lets go for it! Up the Clarets!!