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The Downside of Rotation ... 22:44 - Dec 16 with 1262 viewspablovian

When asked about the frequent rotation of players and switching of systems, the manager and coaches have asserted that players retain their fitness and match sharpness as a result of high-level training. I disagree.

Several decades ago, I had a brief period (two and a half seasons) of training for, and playing in, competitive games of amateur football. I experienced major differences between high-level training and competitive games. Mentally and psychologically the two situations were different, even if the number of calories expended was comparable (which it seldom was ...)

In intra-squad games, players are familiar with each other's tendencies, know what to expect, and tend to hold back bit in order to avoid injuries to themselves and to team mates. In competitive games, players must react quickly to unpredictable new information, and anticipate correctly how team mates will respond 'under fire'. Some players look great in training but struggle in combat. Others play at half-speed in training, but are warriors in combat.

These observations suggest that managers need to identify warriors, install a system that plays to their strengths, and allow them sufficient time playing together that they become a cohesive fighting unit rather than a collection of talented individuals.

The town squad has the potential to be elite in League One. If I were the manager I would play 4-3-3, with tweaks depending on personnel and circumstances. Midfield and strikers are well above the League One average, but would benefit from playing together consistently in a settled system. A benefit of the 4-3-3 is that it is more entertaining for supporters to watch than systems that use a lone striker and produce only occasional shots on target. I personally would rather watch an exciting 3-2 loss than a boring 0-0 draw ...

The back four has fixable problems. Wolfenden is a huge talent, Vincent Young has great potential, and Donacien provides adequate coverage for Vincent Young. Chambers is an experienced platoon leader but is slowing down, and Wilson would struggle in the Championship. Left back has been a perennial problem, and is what I would seek to upgrade during the January transfer window. As far as the other CB is concerned: I would try to work out why Nsiala was a League One player of the year when he played for Paul Hurst, and a dominating player in the Championship for the last half dozen games of last season while playing for Paul Lambert. I would then try to develop a long-term partnership between Wolfenden and Nsiala. If that were to flourish, it would solve a lot of problems ...

I have never watched professional players train, but would find it interesting to observe match ups between Chambers and Jackson, and between Norwood and Nsiala ...
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The Downside of Rotation ... on 08:07 - Dec 17 with 1001 viewsBluefish

Good post and mainly agree. I have reservations though at the moment in playing Nsiala and Woolfenden. Nsiala seems very short on confidence, hence the rash choices and errors, while playing him will help to get through that it won't help LW wo is growing into a fine player. Wolfy needs someone like Chambers to support him opposed to trying to lead the line and also support Toto. I am not personally a fan of Wilson, I think he is limit and a cover player at best.

Agree on the rotation though players need to command a starting place and play for it. We are not building that team mentality with the crazy levels of rotation.

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The Downside of Rotation ... on 08:11 - Dec 17 with 994 viewsBig_Jase

So you are basing your opinion on two and a half seasons at amateur level, several decades ago, and you feel this reflects professional football in the present day?

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The Downside of Rotation ... on 08:59 - Dec 17 with 968 viewsWickets

Good read thanks . The main problem for Nsiala and for all our centre backs is they are all right sided Toto simply struggles badly trying to use his left . Woolfie is sort of ok on the left but much better on the right and its a big ask for him as a youngster to play there . IMO .
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The Downside of Rotation ... on 09:05 - Dec 17 with 954 viewsSwansea_Blue

I'd give you the job.

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The Downside of Rotation ... on 10:15 - Dec 17 with 885 viewsNthQldITFC

Agree with a lot of that, but you also have to take into account the 'muscle memory' of the club itself. After a long period of stagnation and just trying to hang in there without a progressive mentality, which for me ran up until the end of last season, I don't think you can just expect our best players to come together in less than half a season and dominate in a lower division.

As things are now I think more or less everyone is getting a chance to reset and prove themselves without the pressure of having to perform every week, and from that our best team and best formation will evolve, but because of the way things have gone throughout the club for the last five years or more, this will take a longer period of time than many of us will hope or expect. There are several good signs already though.

Also, to have a rigid adherence and dependence upon a fixed 'best eleven' and a fixed 'best formation' is a dangerously limiting strategy. You need to have a broadly capable squad to cope with injuries, and you need to be capable of, and to some extent practised in, playing different formations not too frequently but on occasion to cope with better opposition.

So for me it's a question of (somewhat unfashionable) patience. As to when my patience will start to be tested, sometime from February I would think, because I do agree that we need to be promoted this season, and hit the Championship with a bit of form behind us.

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The Downside of Rotation ... on 10:43 - Dec 17 with 864 viewsghostofescobar

There is a well worn phrase in football: “he’s fit, but he’s not match fit”. I played football to a decent level many years ago (the level where my travel expenses were paid - yes look at me!!!) and you can be as fit as a butchers dog, but you have to play matches to get sharp, get your touch back, get up to speed with competitive football. I think too many of our players are not “match fit”. But what do I know, I work in an office!

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The Downside of Rotation ... on 10:46 - Dec 17 with 856 viewsBluefish

The Downside of Rotation ... on 10:43 - Dec 17 by ghostofescobar

There is a well worn phrase in football: “he’s fit, but he’s not match fit”. I played football to a decent level many years ago (the level where my travel expenses were paid - yes look at me!!!) and you can be as fit as a butchers dog, but you have to play matches to get sharp, get your touch back, get up to speed with competitive football. I think too many of our players are not “match fit”. But what do I know, I work in an office!


Agreed on match fitness/sharpness. You can be injury free or fit enough to run through a game but when you are match fit the whole game happens in slow motion. This is a mental fitness as well as physical.

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The Downside of Rotation ... on 13:33 - Dec 17 with 777 viewspablovian

The Downside of Rotation ... on 08:11 - Dec 17 by Big_Jase

So you are basing your opinion on two and a half seasons at amateur level, several decades ago, and you feel this reflects professional football in the present day?


A valid question, but no. I have been a student of the game for several decades. I have decades of experience in organizational behavior and human resource management, and understand how and why managing a football team is an incredibly difficult job. Having played amateur football years ago has merely given me more insight into the modern game than I would have if I had never played.
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The Downside of Rotation ... on 13:47 - Dec 17 with 756 viewspablovian

The Downside of Rotation ... on 09:05 - Dec 17 by Swansea_Blue

I'd give you the job.


Thank you, but no, the stress would kill me.
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The Downside of Rotation ... on 14:19 - Dec 17 with 727 viewspablovian

The Downside of Rotation ... on 10:15 - Dec 17 by NthQldITFC

Agree with a lot of that, but you also have to take into account the 'muscle memory' of the club itself. After a long period of stagnation and just trying to hang in there without a progressive mentality, which for me ran up until the end of last season, I don't think you can just expect our best players to come together in less than half a season and dominate in a lower division.

As things are now I think more or less everyone is getting a chance to reset and prove themselves without the pressure of having to perform every week, and from that our best team and best formation will evolve, but because of the way things have gone throughout the club for the last five years or more, this will take a longer period of time than many of us will hope or expect. There are several good signs already though.

Also, to have a rigid adherence and dependence upon a fixed 'best eleven' and a fixed 'best formation' is a dangerously limiting strategy. You need to have a broadly capable squad to cope with injuries, and you need to be capable of, and to some extent practised in, playing different formations not too frequently but on occasion to cope with better opposition.

So for me it's a question of (somewhat unfashionable) patience. As to when my patience will start to be tested, sometime from February I would think, because I do agree that we need to be promoted this season, and hit the Championship with a bit of form behind us.


Very interesting and thought-provoking comments, thank you.

Two follow-on responses:

1. Who is advocating a fixed 'best eleven'? That would always be unrealistic, given the inevitability of injuries, loss of form, transfer activity and so forth.

2. Who is advocating a fixed 'best formation'? In fact, how rigid is any formation? There are different flavours of say, a 4-3-3. These variations may provide sufficient flexibility for most of the circumstances encountered by an attack-minded team in League One. However, other systems can be viable in League One; a more complicated system may be required in the Championship; and a different system might be selected if we were playing away at Liverpool in the 5th round of the FA cup ...
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The Downside of Rotation ... on 03:10 - Dec 18 with 614 viewsBlueBadger

The Downside of Rotation ... on 08:59 - Dec 17 by Wickets

Good read thanks . The main problem for Nsiala and for all our centre backs is they are all right sided Toto simply struggles badly trying to use his left . Woolfie is sort of ok on the left but much better on the right and its a big ask for him as a youngster to play there . IMO .


Nsiala's main problem is that he's not very good.

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The Downside of Rotation ... on 08:33 - Dec 18 with 500 viewslmfcblue

Also in any level of football to succeed you need a good understanding between the Goalkeeper and defence for starters.
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The Downside of Rotation ... on 09:14 - Dec 18 with 475 viewsNthQldITFC

The Downside of Rotation ... on 14:19 - Dec 17 by pablovian

Very interesting and thought-provoking comments, thank you.

Two follow-on responses:

1. Who is advocating a fixed 'best eleven'? That would always be unrealistic, given the inevitability of injuries, loss of form, transfer activity and so forth.

2. Who is advocating a fixed 'best formation'? In fact, how rigid is any formation? There are different flavours of say, a 4-3-3. These variations may provide sufficient flexibility for most of the circumstances encountered by an attack-minded team in League One. However, other systems can be viable in League One; a more complicated system may be required in the Championship; and a different system might be selected if we were playing away at Liverpool in the 5th round of the FA cup ...


Having re-read your post, I realise I drifted off-topic, sorry. Clearly you weren't advocating either off those things, and I guess I was responding to previous posts I've read where some people have tended to react dogmatically along those lines.

The only thing I know is that I might be wrong about everything else.
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The Downside of Rotation ... on 14:02 - Dec 18 with 432 viewsArnieM

The Downside of Rotation ... on 10:46 - Dec 17 by Bluefish

Agreed on match fitness/sharpness. You can be injury free or fit enough to run through a game but when you are match fit the whole game happens in slow motion. This is a mental fitness as well as physical.


...... and that is exactly why I disagree with all these “ international postponements” Lambert has used in the first half of the season.

Town players appear to be notorious for “not being at the game “ immediately after such a break- why in the hell then would you opt to postpone games Instead of playing them ? The excuse of needing all the best players available went out the window when , Judge ( supposedly one of our best ) didn’t even make the bench for re arranged games.

I’ve played sport to County level mist if my life , and there’s nothing compares to competitive matches for honing in that mental sharpness, reaction times, and decision making .

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The Downside of Rotation ... on 15:12 - Dec 18 with 407 viewspablovian

The Downside of Rotation ... on 03:10 - Dec 18 by BlueBadger

Nsiala's main problem is that he's not very good.


He was a League One player of the year at Shrewsbury two seasons ago, and a dominant player, especially in the air, for us at the end of last season. He suffered a hamstring injury during the pre-season trip to Germany, and has subsequently not had a run of games in the first team.

It would be short-sighted of us to write off the prospect of future contributions from a tall, strong, physical, 27 year old CB who was a dominating player in a higher league as recently as the end of last season.
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