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Team for Birmingham
at 13:37 23 Sep 2018

Pretty much the same team that started yesterday with a couple of key changes.

At the back, it's a toss up between Donacien and Pennington at right back but no biggie as the problems are further forward IMO.

I'd start with Edun over Nolan. I note Hurst was pleased with the positions Nolan took up and that's fair enough but he seems horribly off form. Better to take Nolan out of the firing line for a bit, put him on the bench and let Edun take over as he keeps the ball and us ticking over in possession.

Ward didn't have a bad game. He worked hard and his run and pass to Jackson was a rare moment of quality for the team. But I think Graham, again like Edun, helps us keep the ball better and link up with the players around him. We also need his crossing and set-piece ability as Chambers chance showed.

Now, I'm not saying that's a team that's definitely going to get a win but IMO it's our strongest team on form. I'd like to see Hurst persevere with that and build performances into results rather than chopping and changing and hoping one of his teams click or that players suddenly find form.
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Positives
at 17:40 22 Sep 2018

Edun – not sure why he wasn't playing for the last few games (maybe not entirely fit) but his energy and quality has been missed.
Skuse – our best player while he was on the pitch. He was our best attacking player too.
Jackson – no service but a threat through his effort and pace. If he can be released more consistently then he'll be a good player for us.

Width – didn't think Edwards or Ward had the best game and Graham wasn't on the pitch long enough, but I like how we stretch teams and create space. We've lacked that under Mick but there's something to work with.

Defence – we're not bad. Functional but we're alright in that department I think.


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Are we playing how Hurst wants us to play?
at 17:23 22 Sep 2018

Genuine question as I don't know.

I heard a lot during pre-season about the need to have athletes who could play a high-tempo, high-pressing game. And I'd accept the wholesale changes and not using our own youngsters if that's the plan. But we haven't shown that type of game IMO.

Hopefully, it's now a vicious circle where it's the confidence to get on the front foot that is lacking. But if it's the confidence from a win that we need then that fantastic save from Alnwick might define our next decade. Without a win today, we've got little to look forward with the fixtures comes up over the next month.
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Theresa, Theresa, Theresa ...
at 14:22 21 Sep 2018

You've had 2 years to come up with a plan but you didn't take negotiations seriously or urgently. Instead you've been focusing on the "optics" back home.

You knew all along the timetable was about coming up with a plan in Autumn 2018 that the EU needed to agree to. Unfortunately, that was entirely beyond the competence or interests of you and your useless Brexit team.

Just resign.

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Graham yesterday
at 09:34 16 Sep 2018

It shouldn't be seen as a standout performance but in the context of the rest of the team, thought Graham did well yesterday. He looked like the only player who could keep the ball and link up with his team-mates.

Overall, we seem to rush possession and screw up the basics before the rest of the team can get forward in support. I'm hoping that improves with a win and some much-needed confidence, but when we don't have the quality of someone like Waghorn to make something out of nothing we need to be better at bringing team-mates into the game.
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Haven't seen this posted but it bears repeating if so ....
at 14:14 14 Sep 2018

Great effort!

[Post edited 14 Sep 14:15]
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Zut alors!
at 19:21 7 Sep 2018

I know it's "only" a friendly. But against Belgium and preparing for the main match next week, Scotland are going all jazz improvisation ...

Ryan Fraser starting at right wingback!

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Mixed it up better today in attack
at 16:06 2 Sep 2018

I think Walters gives us that. But a bit of a worry that we looked most threatening when we went direct and lumped it into the channels – and it's based around a short-term loanee.

It wasn't great today but we look like we have more to build on and start winning games.
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Before anyone gets too worked up about Hurst's transfers and approach ...
at 11:52 1 Sep 2018

It's important to remember that this is based on significant funds neither he nor Evans could have imagined. I'm guessing that before the Summer we probably thought that player sales could make us about 4 or 5 million but the 12 million or so can't have been expected or planned for.

Because of this we've made a lot of changes far quicker than we could have expected. Sure, there are arguments against that much change in a short space of time. But if Hurst believes the changes are right anyway then in his mind we end up getting where we want to be quicker.

One of the questions that's now only hypothetical is what would we have done if we'd had half that money and in all likelihood little to play with after ensuring the 5-6 million funding gap was plugged? Undoubtedly we'd have made a lot more use of our younger players to fill squad and first team gaps. But that could have been fatal if as Hurst believes they're not physically up to the challenge of a full season of high-intensity games. Arguably we could have been risking far more.

I can certainly see the logic of having a little buffer here and keeping the younger players out of the firing line while we adjust to his new style and the levels it demands.
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We really need to stop butchering so many good positions
at 17:15 25 Aug 2018

I don't know whether it's a lack of confidence from not scoring and winning, a lack of quality when it matters on the ball or whether it's still players finding their feet and some understanding in a new team. Probably a combination at the moment.

But Hurst needs to sort this out somehow. We're playing well to get there but I don't think I've ever seen an Ipswich team let so many promising positions fizzle into nothing with a poor ball, a miscontrol or simply a bad choice. It's every time. And we're not even turning nothing situations into anything either.

I've seen all our games and to get 2 points from 5 is pretty criminal considering how much we were in all those games and even the better side for much of them.

Hugely frustrating.
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Well, it's clear we prioritize our youth
at 21:00 20 Aug 2018

Our youngsters looked so much better and more rounded as players - almost as if the Hull youngsters had never even trained with their first team let alone were in the squad and had played league games here and there.

Wasn't much of a contest but we played well and put in more effort than them too. Everyone did alright, Lankester and Morris in particular look very good and the more senior players like Huws, Emmanuel and Rowe look comfortable and ready if needed.

Also, I hope that scoreline sends out a message to other clubs that they'll need to put out a proper U23 team next time.

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How good was McGinn yesterday?
at 12:51 19 Aug 2018

As a Hibs fan, I was interested to see how McGinn did so I was always keeping a close eye.

Maybe my own bias but thought he was the best Villa player and possibly the best player on the pitch yesterday. Seems like the increased pace and bustle of the Championship suits him down to the ground. We were linked to him at the start of the Summer but that never felt like a possibility.
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Looking forward to Villa
at 09:46 15 Aug 2018

Be good to see how Town respond but also see how we do against a promotion favourite.

The odd thing about football is it may well be an easier game to prepare for and play. We're now the underdogs, and I'm sure Villa will have a lot more of the ball than our recent opposition, so working hard, stopping them playing and hitting them on the break might be an easier game plan to execute.

It'll also be interesting and a little depressing to see McGinn in the Villa team. My favourite Hibs player in recent years and a cracking all-round, all-action midfielder. I hope he has a sh!t game.

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Not there yet
at 17:14 11 Aug 2018

Encouraging in many respects and Nsiala and Nolan look very good signings. But we're also oddly toothless. Once Rotherham withstood the initial storm they looked pretty comfortable.

I think we need a few goals and a win in midweek to help us settle down.
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My take on Hurst's transfers (quality and quantity)
at 13:37 9 Aug 2018

For me it's not a question of whether individual players will be worth their transfer fee as they make the step up (I'm sure one or two will and one or two won't). It's more whether his system will pay dividends as it looks to me like Hurst is very much recruiting players (starters, cover and competition) for a system.

That in itself is why he needs so many players from the start. And even allowing for him knowing or at least being more familiar with players from League One and Two, it's also the only place you can get his type of player in volume without overspending the budget by millions.

We need a number of high-intensity players (either fast, hard-running attackers and advanced midfielders or athletic, solid defenders) and getting those in the Championship would no doubt be prohibitively expensive. It's why teams like Swansea and Bournemouth were so adept at setting their own distinct style as they'd effectively done the recruitment job in League One. So that gives me a lot of reassurance that not only can this system approach work from a transfer and playing perspective but also that it's been responsible for some of the more impressive promotion campaigns in recent years.

Exciting times!

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Nolan looks the key player
at 11:40 8 Aug 2018

Certainly based on Saturday we needed someone in the centre who is most comfortable pushing forward. But who do we think will be his understudy/cover/competition?

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PATIENCE
at 17:05 4 Aug 2018

Just putting it out there before people get too absolute in their opinions/scapegoating/general numbskullery.
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Well, if you can't be good be lucky
at 17:01 4 Aug 2018

Lucky point in the end but probably a useful experience for this new team. Thought Blackburn actually played very well which made things difficult. But not being beaten and snatching a draw at the death means we end on a superb positive.

Looking forward to Rotherham already.
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Possible rule change re: use of the arms?
at 19:36 12 Jul 2018

I seemed to have noticed it more and more as the tournament has gone on. But for me this World Cup has highlighted how much top-class defenders use their hands and arms to disturb the player on the ball and knock them off their stride. Seems to be that anything goes as long as it's not at head height, is an obvious hold or a shirt pull.

I know Berra was a master of this so yeah, hypocritical not to complain when he did it. But surely it's getting in the way of skill for both attackers and even defenders? You might have an arm out for balance but surely the rule otherwise should be about getting your shoulder across and not using hands and arms to disrupt the game and steal an advantage?

On a related note, any coaches know if players are trained at the whole flailing arm stuff?
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Unfortunately, I can't see anything in that McGinn link
at 10:19 3 Jul 2018

Been a great player for Hibs and has developed into a formidable all-rounder in midfield.

I'd love to have him here if and when he leaves but A/ I think he's now out of our league even if we stumped up the cash (Celtic or a mid-low Prem side could easily use someone of his quality). B/ We're already covered very well at centre/leftish midfield with two of our potentially best players in Huws and Nydam. In fact, the original link to us was just before we signed Huws on a permanent. And C/ Even if there's a way to squeeze him in alongside these players, I just can't see Hurst blowing our wad in centre midfield as that's where the squad unbalance comes from. If we're paying a biggish transfer fee, it's surely needed in another area of the pitch.

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