Pearce out for a while
When we signed Jason Pearce I called him as Slade’s best summer signing. He started slowly but has proven himself as a leader and a very accomplished defender. Today Pearce tweeted this:
Not the news I wanted at all. Tough one to take.Gonna work hard&come back stronger and hope to be back to help the team achieve our goals.⚪️🔴
— Jason Pearce (@jpearce05) December 13, 2016
That is a blow, but the silver lining is that this has to open up a return for Jorge Teixeira, who was outcasted by Slade, possibly under Duchatelet’s orders. However Karl Robinson involved the Portuguese straight away and he is undoubtedly a class act. Bauer is suspended but will be back for Saturday, and these two will still make a formidable central defensive pairing.
Interestingly Robinson last week talked of moving on some central defenders in January. Tex was an obvious one, so should be Johnson, and the club may well receive bids for Ezri Konsa. Depending on how long Pearce is out, it will be interesting to see how that conversation now goes between Robinson and Duchatelet. El-Hadji Ba is another that Robinson has brought in from the dark, albeit at U23 level.
The bigger picture, and hardly a secret is that Robinson’s squad is not big enough. He does have riches at centre-back, fortunately, but with injuries and illness taking hold of his fragile squad he will go into tonight’s FA Cup replay at MK Dons with four or five of tonight’s first XI being under 21 and with 8 of Saturday’s team being rested, or in Bauer’s case suspended. Regan Charles-Cook, Josh Umerah, Joe Aribo and Brandon Hanlon can all expect to start but depending on the make up of the home side, a positive result now looks unlikely.
In the scheme of things going out in the 2nd Round of the FA Cup pails into insignificance compared to the next four league games, but although Robinson talks of long term plans, I can’t help think that a defeat tonight will dent his insatiable appetite to talk up anything and everything.