With new signings Danny Batth and Patrick Roberts available for selection, Carl Winchester back from suspension and Corry Evans seemingly fit again after suffering concussion at Wycombe, Lee Johnson has a few more options this weekend. But how will the lads line up? This is what we think the head coach will do.
Goalkeeper: Thorben Hoffmann
Hoffmann returned to the side last weekend, and with all respect to Patterson it was clear what we were missing when he was out with Covid. The on-loan keeper’s the clear first choice.
Defence: Bailey Wright, Danny Batth, Callum Doyle, Dennis Cirkin
The biggest decision ahead of Johnson today is whether or not to bring new signing Danny Batth straight into the team. After an excellent first half of the season, Tom Flanagan’s form has dipped badly in the past three games, and given the magnitude of the game I think Batth will come straight into the team – particularly given he’s been playing fairly regularly for Stoke recently. There have been rumours of an injury to Bailey Wright, but nothing has been confirmed by the club – if he’s fit I think he’ll retain his place at right back. Completing the defence will be Doyle and Cirkin – since returning from injury the ex-Spurs full back hasn’t hit the heights he did earlier in the season, but is a class act and I believe he’ll get back up to speed sooner rather than later.
Midfield: Carl Winchester, Dan Neil
We’ve struggled for central midfielders recently, and Embleton was forced to drop back there last week – but with Winchester back from suspension and skipper Corry Evans back from injury Johnson has options. I think he’ll go with Winchester alongside Dan Neil – although that would change if the Northern Ireland international is needed at full back.
Attack: Leon Dajaku, Alex Pritchard, Ross Stewart, Elliot Embleton
In attack, Alex Pritchard and Ross Stewart pick themselves if fit – Pritchard has been struggling with an injury over recent weeks but hopefully he’s recovered enough to take part today. In the wider areas, I think Dajaku will keep his place and Embleton will take up a more advanced role with Lynden Gooch dropping to the bench.
If there’s any concern with Pritchard, new signing Roberts could well come into the starting line up with Embleton moving inside, but given his lack of game time this season it’s more likely the former Man City man will start from the bench.