Friday, 20 September 2013

How about a wildcard to play against Boro?

The mounting injuries have really put a spanner in the works as far as team selection goes for Eddie Howe. This game is probably the hardest ask for the Cherries to get some points from since the away game at Watford. Indeed, when fans did our poll the other week, which is still on the panel on the right hand side of the blog, Middlesbrough is not a game many of you fancied us to get something from.

So if Eddie wants to go 4-4-2, I would expect Ian Harte to come into the team in the back four in place of Charlie Daniels. That could allow Ward and Elphick to stay as centre backs and perhaps Cook could go into midfield to cover for MacDonald who was also injured in the Barnsley game.  

Hughes could be of great value against Middlesbrough.
Eddie also has the option of playing Richard Hughes in midfield with Eunan O'Kane, which I think would work well. I know Hughes has not been used for 90 minutes but I would expect him to be fit enough to do most of the match. Another option could be to play Donal McDermott or Josh McQuoid, but I don't expect him to play one of these two out of position, in a four man midfield, when they are best in attacking or wing roles. Brett Pitman could be withdrawn to midfield although  I don't think any of us like seeing him there.

It is plainly obvious that we will be struggling in centre midfield with only O'Kane as a first choice and Macca, Arter and Surman all out. And before you say Miles can play in midfield, I hope not. 

Looking at the challenge ahead I would not be surprised if Eddie played five in midfield and Lewis Grabban as the loan striker. That would allow him to play Fraser, Pugh, O'Kane, Pitman and McQuoid in midfield, which may be the solution. I don't expect Rantie to start having heard Eddie Howe in mid-week, that means he will be a lively replacement when Grabban runs out of steam. It will be bench viewing for Thomas I would imagine. We could also see some other unlikely names on the bench too. 

Indeed, just to throw a wild card out there as well, what of the chances of Sam Matthews being drafted in? That would be some first team league debut for the young man, although he has already played against Real Madrid albeit in a pre-season friendly.

Eddie Howe is not adverse in giving youth its chance.
Could Sam Matthews be included in the squad or even start against Middlesbrough?

I think damage limitation will be the aim of this game and if we escape with a draw I think that would be a great result. Sorry I can't be more positive for once looking at out probable starting line up.
For another view of Saturday's game take a stroll over to Rival Lines where you will learn all about Middlesbrough courtesy of Stevo's Boro Blog.

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