It’s a squad game
Bob stuck to his script today re-iterating that no new players will join on loan. If true, and there maybe some gamesmanship here, then I think we are taking a chance. Roland does insist that his sides don’t carry cumbersome squads and will supplement needs from within the network.
However The Championship is an unflinching marathon of tough and high tempo games. One would hazard a guess that the Belgium, Hungarian Leagues and the Spanish 2nd Division aren’t so rigourous.
I make it that we have a first-team squad of 20 players, excluding those out on loan. Middlesbrough who visit The Valley Saturday have 27 and Norwich, who we go to on Tuesday, have 37 players at their disposal.
37 is cleary ridiculous and obviously the Canaries are hindered by relegation from the Premier League, but 20 is not enough, even though I am happy for players like Karlan Ahearne-Grant (congratulations to him by the way) to be given a chance, we are only a couple of injuries away from a mitigated disaster.
Bob talks sensibly today about managing players fitness both mentally and physically, particulary Igor, but I heard and read various reports of the team looking out on their feet in the final part of the game at Rotherham. Yoni Buyens has appeared off the pace in the last couple of games as has Ben Haim.
Buyens has fitted in very well, but the culture of Saturday, Tuesday might start to be showing. Old dog Jacko has looked sharper than his central partner since the international break because I suspect, his body is used to the regime.
I know Bob made changes at Rotherham, but I think he will continuely need to refresh it. Harriott, Fox, Morrison, Church and Bulot should all be chomping at the bit.
It’s funny, because it makes me think back to when I first started going to football in the late 70’s and first teams rarely ever changed. Despite the lack of mass media attention, one could pretty much recite every club’s, the bigger ones anyway, first team. There was one sub and a couple of others in the squad plus a sprinkling of colts, as they were called then, and that was it.
Saturday (and Tuesday) are another bout of very difficult games. I tipped Middlesbrough to challenge this season and they have been playing well as the country saw at Liverpool the other night. Unlike Boro, I hope our boys are well rested. Should be another exciting day at The Valley.