I predicted we’d make three changes for Saturday’s game against Reading but Tony Mowbray only made one - Joe Gelhardt returning to the starting XI. I do think we should have made more changes – I thought we looked slow and sluggish for large parts of the game, and the manager hinted at a couple of changes for tonight’s fixture at QPR. But who will be given a rest tonight? Here’s what might happen...
Goalkeeper: Anthony Patterson
Patterson had a good game on Saturday, which will have done his confidence the world of good, and will start tonight.
Defenders: Trai Hume, Dan Ballard, Danny Batth, Aji Alese
Dennis Cirkin’s available again after his head injury at Millwall, but I think we’ll be unchanged at the back tonight. Left back is the only potential question mark really – Alese isn’t a natural there, but given his ability to play a left back/centre forward hybrid role I think we’ll see him retain his place.
Midfield: Edouard Michut, Luke O’Nien
Here’s where I think we could see a change – O’Nien’s come on in centre mid the last two games and made a real difference, so I think we could see him start there, despite Tony Mowbray saying after the Fulham game we probably wouldn’t. Alongside him, well – who needs a rest the most? Both Michut and Neil have played a lot recently but I think Neil may sit this one out – Michut’s getting better all the time and is having a steady influence on each game.
Attacking midfield: Patrick Roberts, Alex Pritchard, Jack Clarke
Now - time for a controversial pick. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Amad given a rest today. I think he looked off the pace on Saturday and was brought off pretty early. He’s played a lot of football this season, and we need to manage his fitness carefully over the coming weeks to get the best out of him. Alex Pritchard has done really well from the bench in the last three games, and could start behind the striker – he’s made us tick when he’s come onto the pitch, so I think we’ll see him start tonight.
Either side, Roberts and Clarke should start. I did wonder whether Bennette might get a start in place of Clarke tonight, just to give the ex-Spurs man a breather, but I think we’ll want Clarke’s workrate and support for Alese in from the off tonight.
Striker: Joe Gelhardt
He struggled to get into the game on Saturday but Gelhardt’s learning how to play in our team and is being asked to play a role that’s probably not his best. But tonight should be a far better game for him to play in after the rough and tumble of Millwall, and the defensive, timewasting antics of Reading.