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Four games in - what's our best first XI...?


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Interesting to read all the replies.

 

I guess the main positive in most folk having a (slightly) different view is that means most players are doing the business and will get their chance.

 

I don't think the quality of the squad can be doubted football wise but I do wonder how we'll cope mentally. Hopefully that's where the likes of Barton, Hill, Miller and Kranjcar will prove important.

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My first 11 would be;

 

Wes

Tav Kiernan Hill Wallace

Holt Barton Nico

Waghorn Dodoo McKay

 

Subs: Gilks, Wilson, Halliday, Forrester, Rossiter, Hodson, O'Halloran

 

I havent seen enough of Gilks to see that he is better than the man in possession, so Wes stays for now.

We simply have to break up the dumb & dumber partnership of last season, so it is Hill plus one, Kiernan preferred for me. Tav is a threat going forward and against Hamilton at home we will have a lot of forward possession, so he gets in ahead of Hodson for me.

 

Into midfield and Barton & Nico are nailed on, so for me last season's outstanding midfield player, Holt, has to be fitted in. I felt on Monday Barton & Nico were both quite deep-lying at times with Halliday ahead of them, I think Holt would be much better suited to these forward runs for these two to pick out and is a decent finisher.

 

Up front and Waggy & Barrie are a shoe-in, so it only leaves the other position. I would go for Dodoo to play the central role as he looks (albeit from not much action) to have better goalscoring instincts and gets into good positions and this gives him the nod for me ahead of MOH.

 

The better strength for us this season is on the bench, where we have good cover for all positions. I am delighted that I can honestly put a better bench together and not have to include the inept Miller, although his clearly explosive photos of MW & DW will see him get a place on the bench ahead of someone more deserving!

 

If we can find a real quality centre half to replace Kiernan, and a ruthless striker we will be very close to the real deal, and all without spending a fortune. Well done to all involved at the club to get us to here in 3 windows (2.5 really) from the squad McCall had to try to get something out of.

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I agree with Frankie's team to start with but there are so many interchangables I'd like to see whether they improve things.

 

Think Fotheringham suits our style and has been reasonably solid, so deserves to be the first choice in the first instance, but would like to see more of Gilks to decide if he brings more.

 

Like most, I like Tav coming forward but not defensively, so want to the see the potential of Hodson.

 

I would start with Hill, but not sure whether Wilson or Kiernan should partner him, but prefer the latter as he seems to make less of the obvious mistakes. Would probably prefer another new CB to partner Hill ideally. But last seasons CBs are both still young and could improve massively with an eperienced partner and with a more robust and effective, defensive midfielder in front.

 

Wallace is a no-brainer.

 

Halliday could be swapped quite easily with Holt, and I think the latter is better at creating chances, while the former is better at breaking up play while still an attacking threat.

 

Barton didn't come to sit on the bench, so he will be an automatic choice, but has a great understudy in Rossiter, who can come on later in the game, cover for injury and fully take over the role in a couple of seasons. I think we might see him a lot in the cups while giving Joey's older body a rest.

 

Kranjcar is similarly a first choice to me, and I'm quite excited about him. I think Windass might be his direct replacement, and he has looked very promising. These two could be crucial in unlocking the better defences of the top few teams in the SP.

 

Until we sign another forward, I think Forrester and O'Halloran will compete for the right hand forward slot. I'm not sure who is best at the moment.

 

For the left, McKay has made it his own, and it seems we have excellent backup in Dodoo; however, he also seems to be able to play the other side and maybe in the middle too.

 

So for centre forward, first choice currently is Waghorn with Miller as back up and super sub. However, we could be looking for a more clinical finisher there, and if so, I think Waghorn would take over on the right ahead of Forrester and O'Halloran.

 

For the main squad, I think that just leaves Crooks, who might not get much of a game with Barton and Rossiter in front of him in the queue.

 

That's two decent players for every position except for left back - where I expect Hodson can fill in.

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Interesting to read all the replies.

 

I guess the main positive in most folk having a (slightly) different view is that means most players are doing the business and will get their chance.

 

I don't think the quality of the squad can be doubted football wise but I do wonder how we'll cope mentally. Hopefully that's where the likes of Barton, Hill, Miller and Kranjcar will prove important.

Harking back to the cup final(i know,i know) a couple of experienced heads would maybe have got us over the line.

Im hoping their experience will be very valuable this season.Time will tell.

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Just going through the thread again and noticed in my post I have completed forgotten about Windass, Crooks, Thompson and a couple of the other U20's who are itching to break through and need some bench time to continue their development. We really need to play a 5-6-4 formation to fit everyone in!

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Just going through the thread again and noticed in my post I have completed forgotten about Windass, Crooks, Thompson and a couple of the other U20's who are itching to break through and need some bench time to continue their development. We really need to play a 5-6-4 formation to fit everyone in!

 

We're making the move to Rugby Union ;)

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I think we can safely say it's job done so far in our four competitive games and we can now start the new league season with some renewed confidence.

 

However, it's also fair to say our defending against Motherwell was poor and we're still not scoring as many goals as our attacking play should merit.

 

With all this in mind, what would be your preferred starting XI going forward? Gilks over Fod? Clint ahead of Kiernan or Wilson? A 4-1-4-1 or a 4-2-3-1? Miller or MOH?

 

I like this look of the following XI as it stands for the Hamilton game. Offers us a good balance of creativity without being overly gung-ho. The fact Rossiter, Holt and Miller can't get into the team perhaps says a lot about our squad improvement over the summer. Add in another striker and defender and we're really in a good position. I've went for Hill over Wilson as I think his organisational skills would benefit Kiernan and the rest of the defence.

 

With a stiff test ahead of us on Saturday against Burnley, that will provide further evidence of who should be playing and where. Dyche's men beat us 1-0 this time last year so hopefully we can turn that around this time.

 

formation_1000x500_hamilton.jpg

 

That's a very strong front 6 but as others have said, the main difference is in what we have on the bench. If this was our starting line up, we could have a great front six on the bench: Rossiter, Windass and Holt, and then Dodoo, MOH and Miller. I'd be happy going in with that team too. How many other times in our history could we say that?

 

As for the defence, I'm not too concerned. Our plan A of keeping the ball is working well and I think we will have a couple of games this season where we wouldn't even need the keeper. I'm serious.

 

We do miss a load of chances but I'd also expect us to hammer a few teams this season when everything just clicks. Of course the reverse is true that our attacking approach will result in games where it goes against us but no one in their right mind would sacrifice this style of football. The team is operating far higher than the sum of its parts and I can't see anyone living with us throughout the whole season.

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I don't think Kranjcar should start the season, he doesn't look fit enough to me, he should be on the bench. In the games he's played you couldn't have asked for more from Windass, he'd start ahead of Kranjcar. I'd also start with O'Halleran before Forrester although I don't think there's much between them. McKay, Waghorn, Wallace, Tavernier, Fotheringham, Halliday, Wilson and Kiernan should start the season, that's the core of the side that got promotion and should get first crack at the league this season. I'd include Holt in that list if he was fit. I'd add Windass, O'halleron and probably Barton (through gritted teeth) to them for the starting 11.

 

Injuries and suspensions apart my concern this season is keeping McKay, if he starts this season like he finished last season I think our directors will be tested in the January transfer window.

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I don't think Kranjcar should start the season, he doesn't look fit enough to me, he should be on the bench. In the games he's played you couldn't have asked for more from Windass, he'd start ahead of Kranjcar. I'd also start with O'Halleran before Forrester although I don't think there's much between them. McKay, Waghorn, Wallace, Tavernier, Fotheringham, Halliday, Wilson and Kiernan should start the season, that's the core of the side that got promotion and should get first crack at the league this season. I'd include Holt in that list if he was fit. I'd add Windass, O'halleron and probably Barton (through gritted teeth) to them for the starting 11.

 

Injuries and suspensions apart my concern this season is keeping McKay, if he starts this season like he finished last season I think our directors will be tested in the January transfer window.

 

I don't think Kranjcar will start every game but, in matches against opposition teams expected to sit deep, he'll be vital. Conversely in more open games, I'd expect Holt or Windass to take his place as they'll have the mobility to cover more effectively when required but still have the creativity and quality to cause problems in attack.

 

Right wing is perhaps the most difficult position to fill. We have a variety of players who can play there but none have really stood out (or are perhaps more effective elsewhere). MoH is supposed to be the natural right-sided player and he's done OK in pre-season so I'd have no arguments if he started but, again, he may be preferred for more open games where cover for Tav may be needed.

Edited by Frankie
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