We’ve got one of the best defences in the league and whilst the defending for Cardiff’s goal was poor, I see no reason why we should panic and start making a raft of changes on the back of it.
The important thing for Seelt and Triantis is that they stay fit and ready for when the inevitable happens and one of Dan Ballard or Luke O’Nien either picks up an injury or get themselves suspended.
That’s why playing in those U21s games is important, because it allows these lads to get the minutes into their legs that they’ll need if they’re called upon.
On that, note, I thought both of them looked canny in the U21s game against Derby on Monday night.
They both look like they’ve made progress physically and Seelt in particular stood out. I think once he’s fit, he’s the best placed of the two to make an impact, but I’m excited for the future with them both.
My gut feeling is that we won’t see the best of them until Ballard is snatched away for big money at some point in the future, and signing talented players and grooming them ready to step into a position when someone either leaves or ends up injured is just good forward planning.
Jonny Hawley says…
The time we discussed rotating the team, I was in favour of giving one of Triantis or Seelt a go and playing Luke O’Nien at left back and giving Niall Huggins a rest - and today is no different.
O’Nien is indispensable for me, with the experience and the dogged determination required to knit together and elevate Mowbray’s youngsters when the going gets tough.
However, the fact is that a sub-six foot utility man starting every game at centre half in the Championship is going to be found out now and then, so playing him in a familiar left back berth still allows him to influence the game, but from a less physically specialised position.
That opens up the second centre half spot for one of the two new signings, and a game against struggling opposition who are low on confidence couldn’t be more suited to them on paper.
Dan Ballard looks imperious at the moment. He’s the perfect partner for an acclimatising young defender and in a game where we’d expect to play most of the football, you’d think the pressure on our back four would be minimal (although we are still Sunderland…).
What’s that? Stop fence-sitting and pick one or the other? OK.
Triantis has the international pedigree and first-team action behind him to jump ahead of Seelt in theory.
He knows top division senior football well, he’s caught the eye when playing and he’s not come here to pick splinters out of his backside for months! However, he’s had slight injury issues since signing, so whilst available, he may not be quite 100% yet.
That leaves Seelt as the remaining option, and he’s a player that really intrigues me.
Schooled at PSV, their fans have told us that one of his strengths is his ball-playing, and with our ability to retain and move the ball as a team, this could be a key attribute- particularly as one of O’Nien’s best qualities at the heart of defence is his ability to zip passes around and break the lines of a press.
Seelt could end up fulfilling much the same role, with the added bonus of actually being a centre half by trade.
Admittedly, he’s not an experienced Championship defender (though few of our signings are these days) and so it’s tough to tell how he’ll cope in the thick of it - but we’ll never find out if he doesn’t start soon!
Martin Wanless says:
Not a chance. The spine of the team is incredibly important, and in the main O’Nien and Ballard have been excellent together so far in the centre of defence. To introduce someone who’s never kicked a ball in the Championship out of choice rather than necessity would be an unnecessary risk.
If Ballard or O’Nien were carrying injuries, or had looked tired, it would be worth considering, but they’re not, and they haven’t!
Both Triantis and Seelt have been signed to fill in for a season or two, while they’re developed to step up on a more permanent basis. It’s very early days for the two of them, and it’s going to be important they’re given the chance to settle into England, Sunderland and the Championship.
Anyway, we saw towards the end of last season with Mowbray’s reluctance to throw Joe Anderson in that there’s no guarantee a young central defender would get a game if we were short – if we do encounter an injury in the centre-back area in the next month or two, I’d expect Trai Hume to move inside and Pembele to come into the right-back slot.