Saturday was poor all round – we didn’t look cohesive and didn’t really take the game to Stoke at all. However, we could, and probably should, have won – if we’d had a bit of luck and a semi-competent referee.
So, with a number of players waiting in the wings for an opportunity, will we see changes, or will Mowbray deem it unfair to throw players in against a side already steamrollering their way to the title?
This is how we think we might line up tonight...
Goalkeeper: Anthony Patterson
Same again in goal – Patterson could be in for a busy night.
Defenders: Trai Hume, Jenson Seelt, Luke O’Nien, Niall Huggins
Ballard was doubtful going into the Stoke game, and didn’t train yesterday, so I don’t see us risking him tonight. Will Seelt be the man to replace him? Maybe. While Mowbray has, in the past, preferred to play people out of position than use the untested more natural replacements we have, I think he might play the Dutchman tonight. O’Nien will start, as will Huggins and Hume if fit. Hopefully Huggins will be on the left and Hume on the right – I think we lose a bit with Hume at left back.
Midfield: Jobe Bellingham, Dan Neil, Adil Aouchiche
Pierre Ekwah came back into the team after injury on Saturday, although I’m not sure he would have had Dan Neil been fit. Mowbray said afterwards that he was having treatment on the injury, so he may be touch and go – and I have a feeling he might sit this one out in readiness for Saturday. Dan Neil will come straight back in, and if Ekwah does sit this one out, will probably sit deep with Bellingham and Aouchiche in front of him. I’ve predicted a few times now that Aouchiche will get a start, and one day that’s got to come true.
Wingers: Patrick Roberts, Jack Clarke
Given Mowbray’s liking for him, Roberts should retain his place – although he can count himself lucky after some poor displays recently. If he plays, he does need to be on the wing as he’s simply not effective centrally. On the other side, Clarke’s a certainty, pending fitness.
Striker: Mason Burstow
Personally, I’d get Rusyn up front and try to use his pace on the counter attack, but I reckon Mowbray will get Burstow back into the side tonight. He’s not shown much so far, hopefully that’ll change soon.