Wednesday, 3 August 2011

First team for the season

Our Summer acquisitions grew on Monday as former Leeds defender Andy Hughes committed himself to the cause. As a centre-half or right-back, the jury has been out on which position Chris Powell has in mind for him, although having been given the number two shirt, it looks like he's seen as preferred choice at right-back. Hughes is apparently not the most technically competent footballer in the division (by his own omission) but he has been well regarded for his commitment and work-rate which have normally compensated.

The squad numbers would suggest we will start on Saturday with Hamer in goal, Evina, Morrison, Taylor, Hughes across the back, Jackson, Green, Stephens and Wagstaff in midfield with Wright-Phillips and Hayes up front. The departure of Elliot would appear well expected as he has been given the last shirt, some 11 numbers off Chris Solly at 44. I am surprised that Hollands is at 22 but that might be out of personal preference/superstition. Alonso looks high at 23 and I thought Bover-Izquirdo might be in with a chance based upon his pre-season but I guess if you are not first-choice, the number scheme is more irrelevant.

My guess is that Hollands may well start against his former club and will get on if he doesn't for 20 minutes. The only other question-mark is over Evina who has been struggling with an injury to date. Interestingly, he is listed as a striker on the Official Site and described as an attacking full-back or wing-back. With limited league experience, he looks to have been promoted on his move to the Valley and preferred in defence but much may depend on when he is eventually fit and can break into the side.

With only a couple of days left, we only look short now up front. BWP should start every game but we look weak with only Hayes and Benson as alternatives to partner him. I am expecting us to bring in another more experienced striker before Saturday. Rasiak has been rumoured and looks the type I would expect with a bit of pedigree, no fee and something to prove. We also have our loans in reserve and these might allow us to land a bigger fish but that might mean waiting until the musical chairs at the Premier League have stopped and we get visibility of who is surplus to requirement and which youngsters might be given a better opportunity of league football. If we can't land a big fish, I would be quite pleased to see Nathan Ecclestone back at the Valley.


  1. Schoolboy error! Green's suspended for the 1st game. This may be Wagstaff's last chance to shine. The midfield will be Jackson left, Wagstaff right, and Stephens and Hollands in the centre. And when Green is available, I would expect Wagstaff to be consigned to the bench...

  2. Can't see us starting with Evina. Wiggins comes highly rated (although looked a little shaky at Millwall) and Evina featured last night with the fringe squad players at Carshalton Athletic.

  3. Steve - thanks. I'd forgotten that.

  4. Dave,

    I read somewhere that Wiggins wore 16 at Bournemouth, so might have requested that number. I think Wiggins will start with Hollands and Stephens in the middle.

    I can't wait to have a look at Alonso and Bover-Izquirdo, but am more than happy with the starting line up you suggest with Hollands in for the suspended Green.

    I just can't wait for it all to start now!


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