WHEN you have a manager who admits he hasn’t yet worked out his best side or how best to set them up, perhaps it is time to begin shifting a little uncomfortably.
It was hard to draw positives from Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Blackpool, other than: 1. At least 1,600 supporters were able to get a free ride up there and 2. Danny Collins’ debut suggests his acquisition will help shore up this leaky defence. I’m afraid that was about it.
On paper our squad looks far better than our current 18th position, but you have to earn it on a football pitch and currently we’re carrying too many players through games. Four defeats in the our last five league games is alarmingly relegation form.
Paul Jewell, who has now bought in 12 new players from last season, is yet to name the same starting line up in a Championship match and surely therein lies an obvious way forward.
A settled line-up and formation need to be put into place to get this bunch of strangers playing as a team, and only then do I think we will start moving up the table.
Currently Jewell seems to be trying to compromise a system to fit in what he sees as his best players, but that is not working. Grant Leadbitter is never a right winger and it is badly showing, leaving weaknesses that are being exposed and is Daryl Murphy not better suited by Michael Chopras’ side than out on the wing?
We also need a leader on a pitch to stop us crumbling as soon as we concede a goal and yet again, Leadbitter is a square peg in a round hole when it comes to the skipper’s armband. A straw poll I carried out on Twitter this week suggests I’m far from the only one who believes this, with a 7:1 ratio concurring. But who to take it on isn’t clear cut, with Inga Ingimarsson the most natural leader, but not having yet proved he will be fit enough to play week in, week out. Keith Andrews and Jimmy Bullard were the most popular choices on Twitter, though one is on loan and the other perhaps too much the joker of the pack.
The home game with Coventry on Monday night looks a must-win, with daunting trips to Middlesbrough and West Ham, within the space of three days, to follow. On the positive side, at least it can’t be worse than our last SKY game.