We saw a few outgoings last week, with Mike Fondop finding a new forever home (until the Summer) and both Matt Sargent and Jack Thorn going on loan to gain experience, following Doug Tharme. So where does that leave our squad in terms of depth? I’ve tried to represent our current squad’s coverage of each position we’re likely to deploy below. Is there anywhere that looks a bit thin?
Clearly the thinnest area is left wing back, with right wing back looking susceptible too. I have misgivings about playing three at the back, except as an in-game move to chase a game to defend a lead. These areas of weakness reflect that.
Otherwise we don’t look too bad. Our strikers are rather different in profile, which is an advantage if we need to shuffle things around during a game, but a real problem if, heaven forbid, JJ Hooper is ruled for any length of time. Not that Jason Oswell isn’t capable of filling in, but we’d have to reassess how we fed our striker.
Likewise, the notion that a lot of the burden of creativity lies on Devonte Redmond’s shoulders is reinforced by the lack of another Number 10 in the squad. Bryan Hughes used Akil Wright in that position, but he’s more of a battering ram when asked to get into the box. Paul Rutherford can be very effective in the hole – Dean Keates used him there to help us press high up the pitch, and Hughes hasused him there this season. Bobby Grant could try to support a striker and shoot from around the edge of the area. None of them are playmakers.
The departures don’t make too much of a hole in the squad. Surely Fondop’s departure allows us to bring another striker in, and losing a player who we weren’t going to pick anyway doesn’t really affect anything. I don’t think he was going to pull a Gareth Bale, to be honest.
We have a decent amount of cover in the heart of defence, so sending Doug Tharme out for experience seems reasonable enough. I have a possibly stupid notion that we could retrain him as a thrusting wing back, but I might expand on that in another blog.
Matty Sargent, likewise, was competing for a place in a congested area, although he’s very close to being a useful part of the first team squad. Perhaps it’s the flexibiity of Jack Thorn, another player who is approaching the point where he’s ready to get first team minutes, that might be missed most. I’m not sure he’s quite there yet, but after a spell on loan he might just be.