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The Squad

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We now have:

GK: Green, Ward, Lewis, Gallacher.

DF: Colin, Fleming, Doherty, Charlton, Drury, Shackell, Luis-Jean

MF: Francis, Hughes, Jarrett, Safri, Huckerby, McVeigh, Brennan

ST: Thorne, Jarvis, McKenzie, Ashton, Henderson


That means the positions look like this:

GK(likely): Green/Ward Subs: Ward(1st), Lewis(2nd), Gallacher(3rd, based upon transfer listing).

Right back: Luis-Jean/Colin         Cover: Hughes

Centre back: Doherty/Fleming + Shackell/Charlton       Cover: Colin, Drury.

Left back: Drury/Charlton  Cover: Brennan

Right Midfield: Hughes/Luis-Jean Cover: Henderson, McVeigh

Centre Midfield: Francis/Safri + Jarett/Hughes Cover: None

Left Midfield: Huckerby/Brennan Cover: McVeigh

Strikers: McKenzie/Jarvis + Ashton/Thorne Cover: Henderson, Huckerby, McVeigh.

I think that from this we can see that Worthington has quite a lot of cover in most departments. We now have four players capable of playing central midfield although one is obviously ear-marked for the right flank not the centre.

What works well is that we now seem to have players that are capable of playing different formations more competently in the sense that Luis-Jean can play wing back and all four of the players capable of playing central midfield are good tacklers as well as passers.

The addition of Marney really would seal up the midfield in the way of cover and options. This summer we have seen the ambitions of Worthington. He doesn''t just want the quality - something he has already stated, he also seems to want variety, something a little different to add to the mixture of what we have already.

Central defence again is the only issue for me but I think we can hold it tight through the season with what we have. I just think that we have two young defenders in Doherty and Shackell and two  old veterans in Charlton and Fleming. All players are needed especially to offer comparable experience in games where a cool head means more than a powerful engine.

The problem for me is that in, say, one or two seasons the older pair may not be up to first team football all season or even at the club. Shackell will still be reletively young at 24 and Doherty will not be far off at 27.

If we could sign another central defender between 27-29 it would offer a player who could help bridge the years between the two and offer experience as well as the footballing years needed to offer that hardiness that many a game brings.

I now feel incredibly positive about the season ahead. We have quality all over the park and a reletively youthful side (defence apart). I think the blend of ages is right and that over the season we will see why it is still good to have Fleming and Charlton along with new-boy Thorne.

Although I like knowing what happens in the pre-season friendlies I am not overly worried about what the result is because its the league matches that count. All I hope for in pre-season is that the new lads settle in well, dig in and come the start of the season are well fired up for the battle ahead.

I feel this is going to be a long and hard season with quite a few teams spending well this summer to display their desires to get back to the big time. All of the usual guns are in there and who knows maybe there will be a new Crystal Palace this year with a team that breaks through at the last minute. My money is on Plmouth Argyle for that!!!!


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[quote]We now have: GK: Green, Ward, Lewis, Gallacher. DF: Colin, Fleming, Doherty, Charlton, Drury, Shackell, Luis-Jean MF: Francis, Hughes, Jarrett, Safri, Huckerby, McVeigh, Brennan ST: Thorne, Jarvis...[/quote]

Although I disagree a little with your analysis of the squads strengths and weaknesses Ihave to agree with you chicken that the squad has taken shape very very well over the last couple of days; we always had a starting 11 that on paper would compete with the leagues best teams.   I think we now have the cover for most positions that will do us proud for the season when the injuries arrive.

I am not as concerned as you about the central defence.  The back up pair (he types optimistically hoping Flem does not start)  are experienced but not too old to do the right job this season, if called upon.  Of course in a couple of years time they WILL be to old and will need replacing - in reality one will have to be replaced next summer replacing one centre half at that stage should fall within that budget..- Worthy has built a good squad for this season that plans for a year or two ahead (shacks and doc will hopefully prove their value this season and embed their careers here for acouple of seasons) but gives experience if needed and good quality cover.

My major concern remains in midfield.  Iam not so certain that Hughes will be used as a wide right player and my feeling is that WLY and Hendo are shaping up for this role.  This would thenbe the weakest slot in a 4-4-2 formation.  Signing Marney wouldbe a good step forwardbut would still be a hopeful signing, very much like Bentley last year.  At 21 and cosseted in a large prem club the demands of week in week out football are a totally unknown experience and inconsistency from week to week is highly likely, no matter how talented they are.   

In central midfield we have 2 cover players for the starting pair, who I assume will be Damo and Safri.  The latter we know will be away for at least 4 weeks in Jan and has a consistent injury and suspension record - thats just the way he plays and part of teh reason we like him.  However that does mean for significant periods we know we will only have 1 cover central midfielder and so I suggest we do need a 5th player here - over load maybe but it is the back bone/engine room of the side.

Finally on the question of cover there is left midfield.  Presumably to be filled by Hux and covered by Brennan?  Hux in left midfield exposing our defence (poor old drury) in this league we can get away with so I am fairly comfortable with it.   However if (god forbid) he gets injured I am not convinced we have the right cover.  Brennan is solid but still really only a left back.  

More importantly who is going to create our chances ifhux is not in the side - a midfield of

Hendo         Damo        Hughes      Brennan

looks hard working enough but what sort of creativity will Deano & co get ?  All strikers need some service.

This are taking shape very well and the management deserve credit for this.

We now have 2 goals in my eyes 

    1. not to let any more players leave the squad
    2. bolster midfield with 
      1.  a creative player whocan work from central midfield (no ideas) 
      2. Sign a true right midfielder (Dean Marney)         


Keep up the good work and roll on 6th august...

Just for the record this is not a moaning post - just my thoughts on who well the club have done so far and where I see the po

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Doesn''t look like a moan to me Zipper.....more of a balanced view of how the squad is shaping up and a reasoned expression of doubt about a couple of areas that still need strengthening.

In fact, I could hardly have put it better myself

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Two very good posts. A decent read and plenty of good opinions. One little gripe at chicken though... you are worried about the age of our defence?

Colin 24; Shackell 21; Doherty 25; Drury 26

Cover - Louis-Jean 29; Fleming 33; Charlton 33.

Average age of our starting defence I think will be 24. Doesn''t matter having older backup does it? Good experience, and I''m sure Charlton and Fleming can still do a slight job for us this year?

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as usual I find myself agreeing totally with zipper and fatman, good post chicken and zipper. 

I would like to add that I think Marney will be a better all round signing than Bentley and will provide very good if not as much creativity as Hux.   I also heard that Hughes likes to take people on, so he could surprise us too. 

Agree with zipp in the hope that Flem is just for cover.  I would like to see this back four become our regulars:

Louis-Jean   Doc     Shack    Charlton

On top of what has already been said the board and Nigel are also hinting that there may another signing on the cards with or without Marney coming, so the excitement continues to build

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I am not especially worried about the midfield; it''s looking fairly strong to me. I''m guessing Worthy will start with Francis and Safri in the centre of the park, with Hux on the left wing (despite some of our reservations) and Hughes or WLY on the right. When either central midfielder is absent, Jarret looks like decent cover (seems to operate as an attacking midfielder and his range of passing sounds good from the reports I''ve read). Hughes could also move central midfield as further cover (his assist rate looks halfway decent) and, again, either WLY or Hendo on the right (I am aware of some people''s reservations over Hendo in that position). I must confess, the right wing does look a little weak at the moment, but I''m hoping Hendo or WLY can return to the kind of form they showed when they we on song two season ago.

I''m unconvinced we''ll get Marney to be honest. I''m sure the lad would far rather spend a year on loan at another Premiership club than come to us. Fingers crossed, though, that Worthy can work his magic and Jol thinks he''ll benefit from a year in the school of hard knocks. I certianly think he''d be a valuable player to us.

Whatever happens though, we must all get behind ALL of our players right from the start (that includes Francis and Hendo if selected). The three home games to kick off the season is a real chance to get points on the board and I still believe firmly that our success two season ago was largely down to the positive vibes given out by the crowd, brought on by positive feelings following the three loan signings.


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Two very good posts. Especially agree with Zippers comments about creativity.

Its been one of our big problems over the years, we have never really had anyone to create chances. Gary Holt anyone? But in came huckerby and did all the creating, which was fine. But if he gets injured ill be more than a little worried. Francis can score goals, but he is hardly the man to pick a perfect pass.

Hopefully Mcveigh will have heeded his warning and will buckle down, a good crosser will be invaluable given the heading ability of Deano.

As for buying a player, I agree that with Safris absence we may need an extra player, maybe one of worthys "versatile" players that can do wing and centre mid. Not sure who right now, but ill assume worthys on the case.

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