It’s difficult to predict Tony Mowbray’s team selections – he’s loyal to players when you think they need a rest, and then leaves players such as Patrick Roberts sidelined after extolling his virtues constantly. Danny Batth and Elliot Embleton picked up injuries last time out at Hull – hopefully, Batth’s is less serious than Embleton’s – and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the former Wolves defender sidelined today, which would be a major blow.
So, who do we think will play from the off today?
Goalkeeper: Anthony Patterson
Didn’t have much chance with Hull’s equaliser last week and will start between the sticks today.
Defenders: Lynden Gooch, Dan Ballard, Luke O’Nien, Dennis Cirkin
If Batth is fit, I’d not be surprised to see us go to a back three, but I feel it’d be a huge risk if there’s any injury hangover and with Ballard back, it’d be an unnecessary one at that. Luke O’Nien will likely move over to the left side of central defence with Ballard coming in from the start, while I would hope Cirkin will come in ahead of Alese. I really like Alese as a player – in fact there’s an argument that a defence of O’Nien, Ballard and Alese would work well – but if we stick with a four I’d like to see Cirkin back in his proper position.
Midfield: Corry Evans, Dan Neil
Mowbray’s hinted Michut could come into contention during the festive period, and of course, Ba and Matete are waiting in the wings too, but the manager seems to like Dan Neil as much as he likes Jaffa Cakes and other assorted chocolate-based treats, so I’d be surprised if there was any change here.
Attacking midfield: Patrick Roberts, Amad, Jack Clarke
Alex Pritchard is out as is Embleton, meaning the door surely reopens for Patrick Roberts to come back into the team on the right of the attack. I suspect Amad will move inside where there’s possibly less onus on him defensively, while Clarke will keep his place on the left. He’s going through a dip in form at present, but he’s too good for that to last for too long.
Striker: Ross Stewart
In his cameo at Hull, Ross Stewart showed everyone what we’ve been missing. He’s class, he’s fit, get him back into the team. And get him tied down to a new contract!