Often Partisan

Injuries and Cover

With Stephen Caldwell hobbling off the pitch last night suffering with a groin injury, Blues are stripped even further to the bone injury-wise. If we take the worst-case scenario that none of the currently injured players are fit to return against Brighton at the weekend Blues are back down to four senior defenders; one true first-team central midfielder and a bunch of wingers and strikers. Who do Blues bring in?

There is of course the option that Blues continue not to use inexperienced players (even as cover on the bench) working on the basis that the youngsters that they do have are either a) not good enough or that b) it would too big a risk to bring the players in. I will tell you now that option scares me; with the current fit senior pros we have we’d have a bench of Butland, Redmond, Huseklepp, Rooney and Folan – which whilst being incredibly attacking means we have absolutely no cover at the back. No thanks.

I’m of the belief that if we need to call a youngster up currently as cover it should be American u20 international Will Packwood. What Blues need to have on the bench realistically is versatility; someone maybe who could come on and do a job in a few positions – which I believe Packwood can. Blues have tended to use the tall American as a central defender but he was originally a defensive midfielder – in short two of the positions we’re short in. I won’t deny it would be a huge ask if he had to come into the team but I think I’d feel more comfortable knowing that there is someone on the bench that can play in those vital positions.

Another option is Cian Hughton. The son of the manager is by trade a right back but is versatile enough to play as a left back or even as a midfielder. He’s not quite as young as Packwood – he’s 23 – but he only has experience at League 2 level which means it would be a bit of a risk bringing him into the team too. Unlike Packwood he wouldn’t be a like for like swap at centre back, but it would be easy enough to shuffle Peter Ramage across and to slot Hughton into his most favoured position. I don’t honestly think we’ll see Hughton in a Blues shirt though because of the perceived nepotism in him playing.

Then there are the young central defenders Blues have – Fraser Kerr and Jack Deaman. Kerr was injured last month and I’m not sure as to how fit he is but at the start of the season was the highest rated of the young centre-backs Blues had. However, I do worry that we’ve not loaned him out anywhere and he’s the kind of player I can see being released as he’s not done enough to move up to the first team group. Jack Deaman was signed at the start of the season after some promising performances in pre-season and the tall Londoner was given a squad number before the home Chelsea tie when it looked possible that he may be called to the bench. He’s played either full back or central defender for the reserves and would be probably the best out-and-out defensive cover we could get from our younger players.

I think Hughton has got a big decision this weekend; with goal difference being what it is a point should be enough for Blues to confirm their playoff position. Brighton now have nothing to play for but pride in their final home game of the season and it might be a good chance to give someone a run to ensure those that aren’t fit have the maximum time to recover. On the other hand, Blackpool and Cardiff are breathing down our necks in the race for fourth and if Hughton is convinced that fourth is as important as some believe then it’s going to be all about maximising our chances for a win. It’s a tough call and I we’ll have to see which way he goes.

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15 Responses to “Injuries and Cover”

  • Julian Glass says:

    Chris was on SSN on Monday and said getting into the play-offs was all that mattered: sixth would suffix.

    • NooBloo says:

      Chris is very media savvy he wants to be 4th. A statement like that just helps keep expectations lower for his players so that there in not any undue pressure on them

  • Bluepenguin76 says:

    I’m totally confident we can get a draw with Brighton, in fact I think we’ll win, no matter who we put out (within reason).also I know there’s no such thing as a cert in football but a below par Boro beating Soton, unlikely???.

    I’m one that also believes that it doesn’t’ matter who you’re matched with in the Playoffs, you need luck, self believe and momentum to carry you into the final and beyond. Blues have at least two of the three (take your pick) 4th, 5th or 6th.Its irrelevant really, you just got to beat whoever you come up against.

    Of course having a thread bare squad could prove fatal for the teams playoffs chances…but I’ve wrote off our chances before I’m not about to start again…we could be back in dreamland in a few weeks. I for one thought we had no chance in August!.

    Well done to the lads whatever happens.

  • Oldbluenose says:

    Regarding your comments on young Cian Houghton,!!. Whyever did C-H, sign him up, if he was that worried about Nepotism,?.
    Most of your other comments on our young players have to be agreed with,!!. Between the devil and the deep blue sea, Take the chance or not,?. — Who would be a manager, eh,!!.

    • NooBloo says:

      having the lad on a small fee/contract keeps the lad fit and helps boost his CV which will eventually or hopefully find him a new club in the future

  • Bluenosesol says:

    Relax – We can lose both games, best Boro will get against Southampton is a draw – Job Done!

  • Only-Me says:

    Im not overly concerned as to where we finish in the playoff’s, as long as we do finish in the playoff’s, but again im fairly confident that we will, we only require a point, and if we are unable to gain that point, boro will have to win their 2 remaining games.
    my main concern is that our injury list A does not get any bigger, and B our big game players return to full fitness for the playoff’s, imagine losing Burke and King in the next couple of games, “touch wood”…………Whatever happens, the team have nothing to be ashamed of, KRO.

  • pierre says:

    isn’t hindsight a wonderful thing,looking back we could have signed a versatile defender,and not bothered with folan(will he ever play).ah well back to the crystal ball,

  • alexjhurley says:

    All this do we play the kids debate is a red herring. He’s not going to. They are clearly being deemed not good enough. Yet. if that’s hughtons judgement, then I trust him. He has got it spot on with Redmond who needs to vastly improve his level of involvment in games before he’s a genuine quality player. I’m sure he’s right with the others. If we have to go to Brighton with the same 11 who finished on tues that is better than blooding untested rookies for the sake of it. If they weren’t ready for Ipswich, then they wont be ready for Brighton either.

  • DoctorD says:

    I’m glad our Reading game is the very last match of the season — seemingly they can beat anyone standing in their way and so it was good to avoid them on their incredible winning streak.

  • Wingman Blue says:

    Try out an option – we could hardly take the risk if we make the play-offs. Let’s see if there’s a genie in one of them there bottles…

  • Blueboy88 says:

    We will be fine – Blackpool in the Final ? …… which would leave two huge elephants in the room
    messers Phillips & Ferguson..write your own script

  • bigbill says:

    don’t need any ‘kids’ on the bench. It’s fine as it is. Spector will be fit, Pablo and Ramage are cover. no problem. if Packwood and the rest were good enough they would be in the first team squad. they are not.

  • Bluenosesol says:

    Blueboy, I’ll write the script, Ferguson has a niggly game and gets sent off for a second yellow. Then Phillips has to drop back to help out at a corner as Blues mass attack after attack. King breaks into the box and is brought down by a Phillips professional foul. Philips sent off, Blackpool down to 9 men. King scores the penalty and Blues record the highest ever score in a play off final!!


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