Sunday’s result was disappointing, so there’s plenty of opportunity tonight for the rest of the squad to stake a claim ahead of Saturday’s game at Preston. The club chose to play tonight rather than Wednesday, so the priority is obviously the weekend’s fixture, and it’s likely we’ll see a fully rotated team tonight.
Goalkeeper: Nathan Bishop
The new signing will likely get a run out tonight to get some match fitness.
Defenders: Zak Johnson, Nectar Triantis, Danny Batth, Niall Huggins
Regardless of what’s going on behind the scenes with Batth, he should have been in the first team at the weekend, and he’ll surely be given a chance tonight to stake his claim for a starting position on Saturday. Nectar Triantis should partner him, while Niall Huggins should get a start on the left, and Zak Johnson could play right back, as he did in pre-season.
Midfield: Alex Pritchard, Chris Rigg
We’ve got a serious lack of defensive minded midfielders, and this could be an area of concern for us. Tonight, Prichard and Rigg could play deeper – you’d probably go with Pritchard there due to his experience – and while I’d prefer to see Rigg in a more advanced role, it’s likely he’ll be deeper, too.
Attacking midfield: Lynden Gooch, Abdoullah Ba, Jewison Bennette
While Gooch has been primarily used in defence over the past year or so, it’s really a toss up between playing Zak Johnson or Ellis Taylor tonight – and I think the club sees Johnson as having more potential. That means Gooch could play a more advanced role, with Ba and Bennette joining him further up the pitch. I thought Bennette should have come on on Sunday while Hemir was still on the pitch, so he’ll have a point to prove to Tony Mowbray tonight.
Attack: Bradley Dack
There has been talk of Hemir being given another game tonight, but it would be an unnecessary risk with us only having one fit striker at the club, so I think Dack will get a run out as a ‘false 9’. Really, you could put a blanket over Pritchard, Rigg, Gooch, Bennette, Ba and Dack, and they could pretty much end up anywhere ahead of the defence, but we’ll give Dack the theoretical number 9 shirt tonight.