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Everything posted by Bruce

  1. If McGree really is as good as he looked then he looks better than Tav in left midfield. In that case it's time for Tav to retrain as a wing-back. Tav certainly has the attributes to play wing-back though we would lose some of the defensive solidity that Taylor and Bola offer.
  2. I don't want to be too mean about the kid but I think he's a striker or nothing. That said, something Wilder said the other day when talking about Howson is that I don't think he sees the central midfielder of his 3 as a defensive midfielder as such. I think the central midfielder is meant to be an all-rounder. Wilder name checked Gerrard and Robson as midfielders who could do everything. Howson is frequently very advanced and I think his role is also meant to include shooting from just outside the area. It's sort of the midfield general role which has possibly gone a bit out of fashion.
  3. Short answer. Bad idea. Long answer. Really bad idea. I have seen no sign that he links play, can tackle, show positional awareness, track back or help dictate a game. Other than that we don't need another attacking midfielder who fires blanks in front of goal. He may yet come good as a striker; he works hard and is trying. At the moment he would be my third choice striker after Watmore and Sporar. Maybe as an impact striker the pressure might be lifted a bit and goals start to flow. A man can hope.
  4. This will tell us a lot. So far, we haven't lost two on the trot under Wilder and if we're serious about the playoff places this feels like a must-win game. WBA haven't scored under Bruce and this is also a make-or-break game for them; they can't afford to lose again. With the players at their disposal they are massively under-performing. By now, the rest of the league have seen how Wilder sets us up and what seems to work best against it. Wilder though doesn't really have many options to change things around. On Tuesday I expect we'll see a midfield three of Tav-Howson-McGree with
  5. Morphling? That was *after* my time. Team? I think I would be tempted to start the same 11 that started against Derby. Maybe Sporar in for Balogun because Sporar does link up play better. I think I would be planning a 60 minute double sub of Balogun and McGree though because they showed signs of linking up really well. In McGree's brief cameo he looked a cut above our other midfielders. Points - win prizes. It would be a knockback not to win but to call it failure would be overly harsh. League prediction. Most likely we'll end up around 4th. One thing I do rem
  6. Agreed. If you watch, as McNair clears the ball you see Lumley give a little jump as he's trying to see where the ball is going. He then resets himself in place. If he started moving to readjust his position he would run the risk of being wrong-footed. He certainly didn't expect a shot to make its way through so many bodies without being deflected; by the time he sees it he has no realistic chance of getting to it. Quite a few of the recent goals against us can be traced back directly to a mistake by us: not this time. It was a good shot, well executed and lucky to get through. About the
  7. Serious answer. Born in Saltburn, my first matches were at Ayresome Park with my grandfather during the Jack Charlton era so the Boro are my team. Growing up I wanted to be a keeper and my role model was Pat Jennings so Spurs were always my second team. I still like to see them do well. Moved to Yeovil and went to secondary school plus college there and went to a lot of matches with my friends. So my team is Boro but I will also support Yeovil and Spurs in that order. Other things. When I was a kid I liked the Wolves kit so I still have a soft spot for Wolves. One year I
  8. 1. 2-0 to us I think. Forest recently beat them 2-1 and I think we need to go one better. 2. Probably none. Maybe Peltier for Dijksteel who has been struggling but perhaps best to keep faith in Dijksteel. Depending on how Brynn has been doing in training it may be possible to bring him in but Wilder has made it clear that Brynn is 3rd choice. 3. Bettinelli, Guzan, Officer Dibble 4. I think once survival becomes possible that they may freeze and end up being narrowly relegated irrespective of who buys them. 5. Good question. I was going to say promotion but we've been promot
  9. Thing is, we do. We mix up going long and short and are more likely to go long when being pressed to the extent that I've seen posters complaining about us reverting to Warnock Ball over the last few games. I would go further and say that we're not yet very good at playing it out from the back so we tend to retreat to Lumley for a punt down field when we're pressed. Look at how good QPR are playing from the back; we did almost catch QPR a few times when Watmore was on the pitch and it is notable that they started going longer during the second half as they panicked. We're nowhere near the
  10. Simply put, Jones is a winger who has converted really well to wing-back. Spence is an attacking right-back or wing-back who was being asked to play as a winger by Warnock. Jones plays the furthest forward of our team on the right with Dijksteel supporting him. Spence would struggle to do that. At Forest, Johnson is the furthest forward. Perhaps ironically, my understanding is that at Sheffield, Wilder's wing-backs were more defensive and playing to a system that would suit Spence better than Jones. With us, Wilder and Knill have clearly decided that having Jones at the tip of the a
  11. Transfer window? I think the squad is very shallow. McGree is the only signing where the player is match fit and experienced in the championship. Balogun and Connolly are gambles. I suspect though that we were not financially capable of bringing in 2-3 match-fit championship players during this window. What we need is a 25 year old George Friend who can play left centre-back or even wing-back or a 25 year old Ledbitter to dominate the centre of midfield. Without one or the other I think this window will prove to have been a failure. I don't think any keeper that we can afford will make a
  12. Exactly that. If you're going for a Hail Mary you don't need more people to throw the ball, you need more people to catch it. At that point in the game we had 2-3 players to get the ball into the danger area (Tav, Jones, McNair), a couple to keep any eye on any breakouts and the rest were tasked to get into the box and try to score. Even if you don't get a chance to score, your presence is causing problems. It was noticeable that when Blackburn scored they started to panic and drop back. We did create the chances to equalise but didn't take them.
  13. It doesn't include any January signings but noteworthy that of the top 11 earners, only 5 are first team regulars and Hernandez has been moved on. Isiah Jones is on urchin wages.
  14. Agreed. The best partnership in the team is between Crooks and Jones on the right. Maybe in the future Crooks might be better in the middle but I get the impression that his partnership with Jones is also improving Crooks as a player. Trying to shoehorn Payero into the team because he cost money and is from Argentina would be a mistake. Our problems are down the left side and our non-scoring strikers. Defensively we're pretty good across the pitch though we miss Watmore's pressing from the front when he's not playing. Taylor is a perfectly fine but limited defensive left-back who can pla
  15. Yeah, back a while ago I wrote Wilder's SOP is to have two players for each outfield spot with others who can flex and cover a few spots in an emergency. We currently have 7 first team centre backs on the books with Hall and Wood being the obvious weak links and no natural left-footer.
  16. On the plus side he has pace, aggression, strength on the ball and, at least when he broke through, an eye for goal. He has that low centre of gravity that makes someone really hard to play against. 18 months ago he was roughly where Balogun is now: scoring for fun in the U23s but he wasn't able to maintain his good start in senior football. Maybe he's simply not good enough for the Premier league and just got lucky for a while or maybe he had that slump that most young players need to work through. His record in the cups implies that he will be prolific against teams below the Premier league
  17. True that and, ironically, part of why we won the race to sign Balogun was because we wanted to play him down the middle rather than wide left. I thought Connolly did ok and showed promise but he seemed to be winding himself up. While Balogun is with us to make a step up from U23s and show what he can do, Connolly has stepped down because he has been failing over the last year. It's hard to know which way things will go with Connolly; if he gets his head and performances right he will be some player at this level. He could just as easily flame out if he doesn't score in his first few ma
  18. I would have thought so originally but Balogun did look like he offered a lot better balance down the left when he came on. Originally I thought the two roles would be Sporar/Balogun as the link up forward with Watmore/Connolly as the pressing forward. I suspect it depends on training and covid recovery. I also thought Connolly was trying too hard and ended up offering less to the team than Watmore does. I think you're probably right but as we have lacked threat down the left I wonder if we might see Balogun start with Sporar.
  19. Team? Probably the same as usual, Covid and injuries permitting. Probably a question of whether Watmore, Connolly or Balogun starts alongside Sporar. Presumably McGree will be added to the bench instead of Coburn. what do |I think of the new signings? Early days yet. They're either "projects" (Boyd-Munce etc) or calculated risks (Balogun, Connolly). McGree is the only one with any championship experience. Score? I actually fancy us for this. I think Blackburn have overachieved and that gravity might be about to suck them back down to mid-table. New signings befor
  20. A hard agree from me. Here's his Championship stats. He had been going along at a goal or assist every 4-5 matches in a team that was nearly relegated despite playing everywhere from left back to second striker. This season his productivity has really dropped off but he appears to be being re-trained in more disciplined left centre midfield role. While Crooks has played alongside Jones since Wilder started, Tav has been having to mix and match with Taylor, Bola and Peltier. Again, while Crooks has either McNair or Dijksteel behind him, Tav doesn't have a natural left-footer behind him. S
  21. This feels remarkably like his agent at work. I don't think any of these are going to spend 10m on a championship player who can't even play for them this season. I don't think Arsenal even play with wing backs.
  22. This is a thing isn't it. Although promotion is still relatively unlikely it is now possible and that means we need to be planning for it; something I suspect that wasn't on the agenda 2 months ago. It's hard to see that many of our current first team could make the step up but if you dismantle a promotion winning team it tends to go badly wrong.
  23. quick and dirty approximation. For each of the "big 6" to draw one of the non-big-6 in a round of 32 then I think it works out something like (out of 64, 6 are "big 6" and 58 are not) (58/63)*(57/61)*(56/59)*(55/57)*(54/55) Which is to say that around 77.4% of the time, none of the "big 6" will play each other in the third round or roughly 1 year in 4 (about 25% of the time) at least one match will be between two of the big 6. That's roughly consistent with draws over the last 12 years from the looks of it.
  24. Depending on who has recovered from the Rona I want us to put out the strongest team we can. We don't have any midweek matches coming up so we ought to be building momentum and drilling our first choice players in the formation rather than testing out fringe players. Assuming that our current first 11 (aside from known injuries) is Lumley Dijksteel Fry McNair Jones Crooks Howson Tav Taylor Watmore/Hernandez Sporar Then the only change I would make is Connolly for Watmore/Hernandez and putting Brynn on the bench. If Balogun is signed he can go on the bench. If
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