Will it still be three at the back?
Whether Tuesday’s change of formation was a success is a matter of opinion. On the one hand, it was two goalkeeping errors which led to us losing at Fylde, not the formation. On the other hand, we were badly exposed when the home side changed their formation at half time, and were overrun for the last half hour.
The last time I recall Brian Flynn using a back three at Wrexham, he deployed Mel Pejic as an old-fashioned, deep-lying sweeper in the early 1990s. I don’t reckon he’ll retain the 3-4-2-1, so……..
Who partners Pearson?
Assuming Pearson’s starting spot is a given, who plays alongside him? Michael Chambers has had a run in the absence of Jake Lawlor, but neither centre back has looked like a completely solid option this season.
Renewing the Pearson-Lawlor partnership must be tempting, although Chambers lapses will surely only become less common if he gets more experience at this level, if they are to be eliminated at all.
What will the atmosphere be like?
The angry element have what they wanted: Bryan Hughes has gone. Will that satisfy them? Before his departure, the talk was of protests at the match. Will they now be cancelled, or will they continue against the board? The way some of the chanting at the Sutton game seemed motivated more by being ostentatiously rebellious than wanting what’s best for the club makes me suspect there will be another unpleasant atmosphere today. Whether that will help the players in a crunch match is obvious.
Who will win Oswell-King II?
Ebbsfleet’s Jack King is a centre back cut from the same cloth as Shaun Pearson. A strong, aggressive leader who defends his penalty area fiercely, he has been ever present this season. Last season he led Ebbsfleet in typical fashion against us, exhorting them on during a first half which saw us collapse horribly.
Then Jason Oswell came on,
The scrap that ensued was magnificent. The essence of old-fashioned British football, a battle between centre forward and centre back. Oswell asked questions of King that the callow Anthony Spirou could not. They fought in the air, they fought on the ground and at one point they came close to duking it out, a tussle ending with Oswell’s arm round King’s neck. They both got booked for that one.
I can’t wait to see the rematch!
How has Alex Reid progressed?
Alex Reid’s loan spell at The Racecourse two seasons ago started superbly but then petered out badly. That wasn’t necessarily his fault: our defensive line-up limited his scoring opportunities and he undoubtedly wasn’t fully developed as a player yet.
Since then he’s gained more experience, and comes into this match in scoring form. Shaun Pearson will know his game, but will that help him deal with his acceleration?