Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Player selection conundrum

Eddie Howe will have to quickly assess the fitness of his squad when they come back to training in the next few days. While some will have summered well others will be in need to pick up the pace of their fitness. Eddie has sport science expert Dan Hodges and performance analyst Garavan Stewart to guide him and Steve Hard will no doubt be checking on any injuries. Things are going to start to get busy.

I suspect that is only after working out who is most ready that Eddie's player plans for the friendly fixtures are likely fall into place. He may well have some ideas of who he already wants to play in some games, but at this stage of the season I imagine nothing can be set in concrete. Plans for the German-cased pre-season camp and Zurich match will be uppermost in everyone's mind after the League fixtures have been announced.

The way the dice has rolled to bring up two Portsmouth fixtures in the space of a couple of weeks is quite freaky. Both Guy Whittingham and Eddie Howe will have to out whit each other as to their line ups for the second tie for the Capital One match. It has been customary for AFCB to give a second or third choice keeper the chance to play in such cup games and I expect this to be the case.

I do expect Eddie to keep a fairly familiar back four for the second game but perhaps Zubar, Addisson or Purches might win some game time in the friendly with Pompey. Both games might come too soon for Partington, but we will find out soon enough.

It's in the midfield and up front where Eddie has lots of selection dilemmas but I don't feel that is a great problem to have. While Matt Ritchie is keen to face his old club he may only get the one outing as I'm sure most of us would like to see Ryan Fraser given a real opportunity.

There are others too who will be lining up to impress Eddie. As for the front men it could be any one's guess who plays there for the first match, but I am intrigued to know what is going to happen with strikers that have been out on loan and of course if we do bring someone new in like Danny Ings. May be we will know a lot more before we come round to the double-header Portsmouth games.

There are some great opportunities for AFCB players in the next few weeks.

P.S. I see the BBC website has updated the league tables to put Bournemouth in the Championship but we are not at the top as they have not included AFC in front our own name!!

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