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This Relegation Battle Will Go Down to the Wire – Notes for Bolton
at 06:40:30

Garner will probably score a hat trick or the winner now I’ve written this and I hope he does, but surely his aggressive target man style is playing into Bolton’s hands? By all accounts Wheater and Beevers love a physical and aerial duel but get exposed by pace. Despite having no form I would give Sears a run out today and keep it on the deck where possible. I went to the reverse fixture in September and from memory, after a dire first half, McGoldrick came to life in the second and the introduction of Celina really gave us an attacking edge. COYB’s.
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Yet Another Year of Embarrassing Circumstances – Notes for Middlesbrough
at 12:50:22

A great read as always Harry. I'm hoping that their full backs being caught 'marooned' up field will leave space for the pace of Ward and Celina on the counter attack. Their centre backs sound fragile and will not like the physicality of Garner or Waghorn either, so lots of chinks in their armour for us to expose. Would normally be happy with a draw at the Riverside but reading this it sounds like they are there for the taking. COYB's!
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McCarthy: Who Would Have Thought It, a Top-Six Clash
at 08:13:59

I should have said not start Celina, not drop him, as he didn't start the Bolton game, even though it was crying out for his talent in the first half. Probably doesn't graft enough for Micks tastes but good managers find solutions to these problems
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McCarthy: Who Would Have Thought It, a Top-Six Clash
at 08:07:55

I watched the Millwall Leeds extended highlights and I believe the 4-4-2 which played the second half against Bolton would suit this game. Leeds looked vulnerable down the flanks, even if their goal came through the middle. They should have had a hatful from crosses. Hopefully an area where Ward and Celina, supported by our full backs, would find real joy. Plus our strikers are more clinical than Millwalls. Leeds also seemed second to every ball in cm and simple long balls down the field were causing havoc, which Garner could profit from. Now I've written this Mick will probably go with wingbacks and drop both Celina and Kenlock!




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Chambers: I Should Be Ready to Return Against Bolton
at 11:51:01

Great news! If he's fit enough to start I would play him alongside Knudsen so we have a left and right footed pairing. The Dane is pretty solid at CB from what I have read. Kenlock left back then Spence and Iorfa to fight it out for the right back spot. Looking forward to the game and I hope Mick goes all out and plays Celina and Ward out wide, with Adeyemi surging forward from CM. At the very least he has to start Celina. His dribbling and long range shooting ability will put teams on the back foot.
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Town Bid for Hibs Midfielder Rejected
at 12:38:40

Interesting insight from Brendan Rodgers on McGinns style of play.

https://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/sport/football/633591/celtic-boss-brendan-rodge

As people have said, I hope Mick perceives him as a partner for rather than an alternative to Huws. Won't hold my breath though.
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Skuse Back for Burton Trip
at 15:03:54

While MM is still here and with the players at his disposal we should go 4-4-2 with Bialkowski; Spence, Chambers, Berra or Smith, Kenlock; Ward, Huws, 'Dave', Lawrence; Sears and McGoldrick. I wanted this eleven to start against Fulham but it started the second half and we drew that 45 minutes 1-1 away at a play off chasing team, which is respectable. Only a mad man would revert back to Skuse and Douglas! Most fans have been well aware of their limitations for a long time but I thought the Lincoln embarassment highlighted their level as players for the entire nation to see? Well it did to everybody other than the man who matters, the one who keeps selecting them. Dare I say it but out of spite for the fans who state the obvious?! #pubtalk
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McCarthy's Blues Out for Third Craven Cottage Victory
at 07:19:07

I normally subscribe to the 'if it ain't broke then don't fix it' mantra but I'm hoping we play the team Phil suggests in a 4-4-2. One of the many frustrating facets of the game I saw against Wolves last month was that we had 3 centre backs marking a lone striker when we desperately needed more impetus in midfield. This switch would not only accommodate Lawrence but possibly deploy Spence and Kenlock as two attacking full backs in a 4, not wing backs in a 5. Can't recall that happening too often, if at all, under McCarthy.

I watch a lot of Spurs games on tv, and being able to comfortably switch between a back 3 and four is a massive string to Pochs bow. He can tailor his line ups to counter opponents without unsettling his own players. Conditioning our players to do this will benefit us in the future, regardless of whether Mick is here or not.
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Ipswich Town 3-0 Wigan Athletic - Match Report
at 22:22:18

I don't want to read too much into a home victory against a bottom three side but it makes you wonder what we could have achieved this season had MM not been so stubborn! I'm getting deja vu, no Skouglas, one defensive midfielder, everybody in their correct positions and we win! Maybe a younger more attack minded manager would utilise this squad better.
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McCarthy Surprised By East Anglian Derby Animosity
at 06:50:43

Well Mick, if you continue to play Chambers at cb instead of rb; the young attacking wing backs; the more gifted Huws, Ward and 'Dave' rather than Skouglas in the engine room; Sears up front instead of out wide, then at least you give us a chance against the enemy. Us fans have longed for these changes and picking up points against the top six with these alterations proves we are evolving. Please don't revert to type!

Take the game to them and expose their vulnerable defence. The likes of Naismith, Pritchard, Hoolahan et al are obviously a threat but for me they all want to occupy the same areas. None of them are comfortable out wide and drift in to the centre, where we should have large numbers with a 3-5-2. Neill may be tempted with the raw talent and pace of the Murphy twins.

COYB's!
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Ipswich Town 3-2 Blackburn Rovers - Match Report
at 18:04:16

I have thought for a while that our squad suits the in vogue 3-4-3/3-5-2. We have four decent centre backs (competing for 3 spots), no Chambers at rb and two young attacking full backs/wing backs from the academy. Hopefully after the players have had time to adjust to the formation we will stop conceding so many goals. Didn't go to the game today but from what I have seen of Knudsen and Kenlock, the latter appears better suited to the left wing back position. How did Knudsen perform in that role today?

Yet again we see the benefits of Douglas being dropped in favour of the more adventurous and talented Bru and Dozzell. Gutted Lawrence isn't ours, hate to think where we would be without him.
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Winter Is Coming, It’s Going To Be A Long One – Notes for Nottingham Forest
at 08:24:00

Watching the goals they have conceded, Forest look particularly vulnerable from crosses. Hopefully Lawrence and Ward will be able to exploit this. If Cohen and Kasami are as bad as their fans suggest in the holding roles then Didz and Bishops dribbling ability should also be suited to the occasion. Hoping we can put on a bit of a show but you never know in this crazy league.

Frustrating times for Forest. Burke has been a revelation at Leipzig. With Osborn on the other flank, Lansbury and Vaughan in the middle, Bendter alongside Assombalonga, they would have had an excellent front six. Luckily for us only 3 of those are likely to feature. I hope Lansbury stays quiet as he can run a game when in the mood. Would love Assombalonga and Osborn at Town, great players who could do us damage today if they get the right service.
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Smith to Keep Place, Best and Grant Fit But Hyam Could Face Surgery
at 16:15:32

Some very healthy competition for the attacking roles now. Will be even stronger when Williams and Didz are back. Highly unlikely to be played by Mick but this is my XI when everybody is fit: (4-3-3): Bart; Emmanuel, Smith, Berra, Kenlock; Williams, Skuse, Grant; Ward, McGoldrick, Lawrence. Great attacking options like Sears, Best, Pitman, Bishop and Bru on the bench.
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Lawrence: Town's Ambition Key to Move
at 18:55:01

*Grant Ward
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Lawrence: Town's Ambition Key to Move
at 18:53:53

Found this interesting analysis on Tom Lawrence following his loan at Rotherham. Sounds like he is best suited to playing behind a main striker or cutting in from the left like Ryan Fraser. Good pace, dribbling ability and an eye for goal. I like the fact he is direct and takes people on, so maybe him and Grant on the wings in a 4-3-3? Apologies if somebody has already posted this, haven't read the other threads. http://foxestrust.co.uk/3513/tom-lawrence-rotherham-loan-report
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The Pleasure, the Privilege, Decline?
at 16:57:19

A great read Mullet. This is just a hunch but cast your minds back to the pre season friendly at Barnet and the powerful and pacey 6 ft 2in striker called John Akinde. Adept at holding the ball up and bringing others into play, his pace and finishing led to him winning and scoring the penalty which won them the game and gave our centre backs a torrid time.

Now 27, a bit of a late bloomer, having had some poor spells at Bristol City and Portsmouth, he scored 33 goals in the conference, followed by 23 in his first season in league two and 3 already this year. He seems unfazed by stepping up through the leagues so far and may have a cheap release clause.

Watch his YouTube videos (admittedly not always a balanced indicator of ability) because I think he would suit the rough and tumble of the Championship. His performances against our centre backs, who are no mugs, also suggest he could step up.
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McCarthy Would Take 42 More Performances Like Norwich Display
at 08:00:43

I hope Douglas keeps up his form of the last two games and has a great season. He deserves his place if he does. However, based on last season I can't see him maintaining this and would like to see Bru and Bishop with Skuse. These three have a nice balance with different skill sets: a ball winner, passer and somebody who can skip past people.

With Douglas and Skuse I feel we look more solid but over the course of a season too pedestrian. I've not seen a great deal of Conor Grant but he could play on the left of a three and add the passing ingredient when fit.

It's far from ideal for Sears but I like the greater fluidity the 4-3-3 brings and Ward's pace and directness on the right is very much welcome. For me, we just need Sears and Murphy to get a goal each and hopefully the momentum will build.

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Town Confirm Ward Signing
at 14:11:48

Rotherhams local journalist raving about him: http://www.southyorkshiretimes.co.uk/sport/local-sport/rotherham-united-how-gran

Hopefully this will allow Bishop to play centrally. Would like Bru in the midfield too. Over to you Mick, will be interesting to see how we line up on Saturday.
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McCarthy: Dozzell Might Be Better in Midfield Three
at 07:48:20

Regardless of our opinions Mick is likely to start the season with Bart in goal and his favourite back four (Chambers, Smith, Berra, Knudsen) but what would everybody choose as their preferred midfield and attack with our current squad? I was thinking 4-2-3-1 with Bru and Hyam, then Bishop, Didz and Sears as the three, with Murphy up top. If we need to change it then maybe McGoldrick up front and Dozzell in behind or on the right (with Bishop in behind). I just hope we don't see Skuse and Douglas together without a natural passer in the engine room like Bishop and Bru.
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McCarthy Delighted With "Prodigious Kids"
at 07:39:52

Great credit should be given to our Academy (Category 2 remember) and everybody behind the scenes. It's perfectly plausible that at certain points this season we could be fielding 5 or 6 youth products at the same time in competetive games (Kenlock, Emmanuel, Smith, Hyam, Bishop, Dozzell). What a great advertisement for recruiting young talent in the future, especially when you consider how few youngsters come through the ranks and get a chance at other clubs.

Their progress and promotion to the first team is partly down to their talent and partly down our lack of spending and I hope we can strike a balance between giving these youth products a chance and getting some proven quality through the door. The creative goal scoring wingers/midfielders we all crave could still come in and be pushed by the likes of Dozzell and 'Blanch'. If they are good enough then they should take their place in the team like Bishop. Emmanuel and Kenlock are in this position now, providing cover for Chambers and Knudsen. Let's hope the 'favourites' concept is a thing of the past, as it is a stumbling block to progress. I won't hold my breath though.
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