Crewe v Rovers

Boz

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Iain Hume
Like last season, an early trip to Gresty Road and the closest thing to a derby for Rovers in L1. I won't be able to make this game.Neither side have started that brightly and, as yet, despite the defensive frailties highlighted in the Tranmere side, no reinforcements have been loaned in. A suggestion that Goodi is injured, if correct would mean no defensive options at all. In the absence of new personnel, expect an unchanged starting line-up from last weekend. While not a Sodje fan, I can see more of an argument for him starting the aways, where we'd expect to be under more pressure, as he did win the bulk of the balls aimed in his direction.

Prediction. Last year's game was a cagey affair with few chances, expecting a more open game this time round. There should be a good turnout from the SWA of around 1k. Score draw seems the most likely outcome.
 
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Goodison
I think our problems this season have mainly come from the fact that there isn't a defenisvely minded central midfielder to break up play. I would be tempted therefore to put Taylor in midfield, as mad as it sounds, in an attempt to shore it up a bit. I don't think Sodje adds anything to the team so I would rather play Lowe on his own or JLAA with him. If Goodison is available he should play, although I suspect Ronnie will play Foster and Taylor anyway.

Score prediction: 2-2.

I'd predict the same line up as last weeek but with JLAA in for Sodje.

I would be tempted to go with one of these two teams:

OFW

Holmes Foster Goodison Horwood

Thompson Taylor Power/Atkinson Robinson

JLAA Lowe

or

OFW

Holmes Foster Goodison Horwood

Taylor Atkinson

Thompson Power Robinson

Lowe
 

bigmart

bigmart
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Ian Muir
agree we need a defensive midfield but ash is not the answer.

I think they will win 2 1
 
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Jason Koumas / John Morrissey
I would agree that Ash should not play in midfield; apart from anything else, he is the only defender we have got who is in any kind of form at the moment.

I think the team will be the same as last Saturday, other than Akpro replacing Sodje. This is definitely a winnable game, but the outcome hinges on whether the back four are capable of putting in a ninety minute performance.
 

Ian

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Aldo
It always seems like we don't have too much luck at Gresty Road. I think the team still needs time to gel and the balance isn't quite right. I'd take a draw but have a feeling like Bigmart that they'll nick it by a goal.
 
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Jason Koumas / John Morrissey
I think we were unlucky today and deserved at least a point, despite playing the majority of the game with ten men. For the first time this season we actually looked like a team and if it had not been for a nightmare performance by Danny Holmes we would have taken something from the game.

We actually created the better chances over the ninety minutes and dominated the second half. Akpro was outstanding but should have scored at least one more goal, hitting the keeper's legs in a one on one literally seconds before Holmes was red carded, and heading straight at the keeper with a free header in the second half. Prior to the sending off Crewe had been better in possession but we should have been ahead, hitting the woodwork from a corner in addition to Akpro's chance.

The back four worked better as a unit than they have previously, with the exception of Holmes. Taylor and Horwood were both good, although Foster still looks a bit iffy. The big problem area still seems to be the centre of midfield as although Power and Atkinson did ok, Crewe players were able to run directly at our centre backs too often in the first half, and there is a lack of experience and physical presence in that area. Holmes's replacement looked good and set up our goal, and I am actually quite glad that Danny - who was awful and deserved the red card - looks likely to be binned for the forseeable future. Holmes should probably have been substituted before being sent off, having already been warned for a challenge from behind, but apparently RM has said he was about to take him off but he was red-carded before there was a stoppage in play.

We showed some spirit and played as a unit in the second half, so hopefully we can take something of that performance into the (very difficult) game next week.
 

Ian

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Bad luck at Crewe continues..
I'm pleased Akpo had a good game. The more he plays, the more we'll get from him. Little bit rusty with his chances but I'm glad he scored and we should hopefully see more from him. He can be a real handful.

How did Lowe get on? Did he have another quiet game or was he more involved?

Glad it was more of a team performance. I do think its going to take a bit more time for the players to gel but we need that first league win ASAP.

"Ronnie: One idiot let the whole team down" - ohh dear, think Danny's in for a rough few days. Especially after just signing a right back on loan.
 
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Goodison
Silly comments by Ronnie - calling Holmes an idiot and claiming Goodison cried off. These kind of comments should be kept to the dressing room. Turning Goodison against you would not be a bright idea for team spirit. A partial reason for Holmes' poor form is Ronnie's lopsided squad were he's spent the last bit of his budget on a useless lump in Sodje rather than signing a defender to provide some competition.
 
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Jason Koumas / John Morrissey
Lowe was bright and worked hard but no chances really fell to him, which was understandable given we played 60 minutes with ten men.

Ronnie should not be publicly barracking Holmes but his frustration is understandable as Crewe were there for the taking today. Regarding the squad, I would still support Ronnie's policy of overloading in attacking areas at expense of the defence. Finances dictate that we can't have a squad of 25 players, so there will inevitably be gaps somewhere. I am not sure lack of competition is the reason for the poor performance of Foster, Holmes etc. Given the individual ability we have in the first choice back four it was reasonable to expect they would perform a hell of a lot better than they actually have done so far.
 

Ian

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I think when Ronnie gets frustrated, he doesn't hold back. I can understand to some degree. As a manager, it must be frustrating when results don't come in. Especially today when you play well and one of your players let's you down, you come away with nothing. He's got a small squad, small budget and has the expectation of last season. It's not been a great start but it will improve.
 
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Goodison
Part of the problem has been Ronnie hyping the team up rather than playing expectations down. After September/October last season and a 4 game run around Christmas we were average at best.
 

Ian

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Every manager hypes their team up. Looking back at the start we had last season which was incredible, will always create a higher expectation no matter what happened after Xmas. We blamed the situation more than we did the manager.

Maybe we're doing it the other way round this season. :rolleyes:
 
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Alan King, Barry Dyson
I agree with RTID and hope Ian's right. I take some comfort from RLC's analysis and at least conceding less than three goals is progress! What's worrying is our appalling disciplinary record. Last season we were 22nd in the bad boys league and got just over one yellow card per game plus two reds. This year we have already had 11 bookings and one sending off. Can anyone explain that? If it continues, our wafer-thin squad will be not be able to cope.
 
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A combination of a team which can't defend - so players are caught out of position defensively and have to hack people down, and frustration/over wound up players?
 

Boz

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Iain Hume
Not much to add to what's been said already. However, while we do have at least one player for every defensive slot, Ronnie's decision not to recruit a defensive central midfielder to add to Wallace, when fit and Power, both of whom are primarily attacking players was odd. While Rowe was perhaps an understandable recruit, as a promising free attacking midfielder, couldn't he have loaned someone who's got more of a defensive bent than Atkinson? Not saying Atkinson is a bad player, just not, given our small budget, what was most needed.

The midfield not offering much protection to the back four may also be a factor in the card count, you're less likely to get carded for a foul in the middle of the park than one further back, with the opponent bearing down on goal.

It does concern me that the team aren't working to bring Lowe, one of our best players, into the game more. He can be clinical if given the chances as the late equaliser v Crawley shows.
 

Ian

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It does concern me that the team aren't working to bring Lowe, one of our best players, into the game more. He can be clinical if given the chances as the late equaliser v Crawley shows.
+1
 

drwhoman

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On defenders, I see that Scott Wootton has left United. Signed a three year deal at Leeds. Will be interesting to see how he gets on at Championship level.
 
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