Eight games without a win - we’ll get one again soon, surely?
We’ve been rank for almost all of this campaign and are bottom of the league yet, somehow, we are still just four points off salvation.
I’ve written us off plenty of times this season, but the fact remains that a win (coupled with some other results going our way elsewhere) could put us a point off safety with nine games left to play. It’s amazing, really, but that’s the situation we find ourselves in.
I hope and pray Chris Coleman stumbles across a system that works today and we can get that elusive win. It could potentially change our entire outlook for the season - and lord knows we could all do with feeling optimistic about our future again.
Is it time to drop Fletcher?
Whilst we’ve all known for months now that Chris Coleman has a mammoth task on his hands, the situation is not being helped whatsoever by the fact the striker he brought in to lead the line in January has been absolutely awful.
I genuinely don’t think that Ashley Fletcher is playing at the peak of his powers - and, as Coleman admitted the other day, he’s suffering badly from a lack of confidence. But, we have ten games left to play and we really can’t afford to wait for someone else’s player to come good.
Joel Asoro and Josh Maja are the alternative in that position, and whilst they aren’t perfect they’ll at least give it their best effort. Asoro in particular continues to impress and show that he’s more than capable of hanging at this level, and in my eyes we need to get behind the pair of them and give them the run of games we have left to lead the line up top.
Another option would be to throw in Kazenga LuaLua, who is apparently back fit and ready to start making an impression. We have nothing to lose in giving him an hour today - in truth, we’ve tried everything else and putting him out there against his old team might be just what we need if we’re to come away with all three points.
Four or Five at the back?
In the space of just a few short weeks we’ve gone from having a fairly fit squad to having one that looks completely depleted.
In particular we’re short on defenders. We’ve seen the last of Tyias Browning as he’s out for the season, Marc Wilson - despite returning to training - is still not quite ready, Jake Clarke-Salter is serving the last game of a three match ban and John O’Shea is being held together by tab papers and spit.
Coleman, whether he likes it or not, might have to go with a four man back-line on this occasion.
Who he pairs together at the heart of that defence is anyone’s guess. Whilst history suggests we’ll see Billy Jones shoehorned into that role alongside Lamine Kone, there have been suggestions that Brendan Galloway could make his return from the wilderness in order to play. Who knows - we might even, god forbid, see the three of them grouped together.
New contract for Robson - play him?
Despite looking completely lost for months now only a sole bolt of lightening could stop Lee Cattermole from starting a game these days, so maybe Chris Coleman’s thinking going into today will be about getting a holding player that can provide energy alongside him again.
Ethan Robson signed a new contract on Thursday and it shows that, for the next few years at least, he’s seen as a first team player. Will he return to the side alongside Cattermole and Ovie Ejaria, particularly if we opt to go with a back four?
It would certainly make sense. In the absence of Paddy McNair and Darron Gibson we need to put round pegs in round holes - it’ll at least give our attack a solid base to work from.
What about the goalkeepers?!
So Jason Steele came back into the side at Millwall and played well - but, as many predicted, he wasn’t able to follow that up with another good performance and was absolutely awful against Aston Villa, finding himself partly to blame for at least two of the goals.
So... what now? Under normal circumstances you’d change the man between the sticks again but can we really do that? Lee Camp’s confidence must be on the floor having came here under the pretence he’d be playing regularly, and just throwing him back in could be disastrous.
Will the gaffer stick with Steele, or opt for the man he signed specifically to be his first choice ‘keeper until the end of the season? It’ll be interesting to see what he does.