Oldham v Rovers

Oldham v Rovers
Posted by Ian
Boundary Park
Tuesday, April 2, 2019 - 07:45 PM
Until: Tuesday, April 2, 2019 - 10:00 PM
(Adjusted for timezone: Europe/London)
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Ian

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A sensible head as always RLC. No-one likes losing but I don't think we should be too worried. There was talk of tiredness with some players. Not sure if this was a contributing factor at all, but it's now important we respond well and look ahead to Sat for another crucial, tricky game.
 

Boz

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Pringle has played a fair bit in central midfield and could have replaced Banks. Also, it didn’t sound like anything was happening for Norwood. While I know that he can conjure something out of nothing, it’s not going to happen every game. There’s a case for giving Mullin/Dagnall a go in circumstances like this.
 

Sparky

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I agree we must move on but there were still plenty of people wondering why Micky didn’t make more changes at 2-0. Personally I didn’t think Jennings or Morris were effective. They worked hard but it was one of those nights where it wasn’t working, especially for Connor trying to link up with Nors.

Their centre halves totally dominated Nors so I thought Mullin should have come on to give him some support.

Hey ho. We move on. Only one game
 
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The biggest issue for me last night was not our attacking play, although our final ball was generally poor, but the lack of protection for the back four. For both of the goals Lang dragged the centre backs out of position and beat them in areas where McCullough usually provides cover for the defence. If McCullough had been available, both of the goals could have been avoided last night.

In the games ahead one of the midfielders needs to sit in front of the defence and sweep up a la McCullough, particularly when we play sides like Lincoln and MK. The problem is, it is not the natural game of any of the midfielders who are fit. Perkins is perhaps best suited to the role, but you would lose the attacking side of his game if he was asked to sit deep. Harris works hard and tackles but does not have the positional awareness to play that role.

Plenty for Micky to ponder.
 
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There are no obvious answers but I was thinking whether a more defensive minded player like Sid Nelson could maybe do a job in front of the back four rather than forming a back 5? I’ve not seen the guy play so have no clue but know that Swindon rated him highly & he was due to partner Manny before his double broken nose & Ellis’ subsequent form, which may in itself ironically come back to McCullough.
 

Boz

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In the few minutes I saw Nelson play, he looked quite raw. Unsure, when he’s over his illness, that it would be worth trying him in the McCulloch role.

Recall Buxton was deployed in midfield at one point this season and it didn’t work, while think Ridehalgh did play a bit in midfield in his early days, but again can’t see him protecting a back four.

It will be interesting to see how Micky tries to plug the McCulloch gap.
 
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Nelson is a centre back, he can't play in midfield. It is a question of mixing and matching with the midfielders we have, perhaps with more of a role for Gilmour. I think Mellon will try something different in the games ahead.
 
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It must be very tempting for Micky to play with a back five for some of the tougher games, particularly Newport and Lincoln away.
 
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It must be very tempting for Micky to play with a back five for some of the tougher games, particularly Newport and Lincoln away.
I am not sure. We used that system for a few games during our poor spell, and did not look entirely comfortable with it. After the defeat to Swindon, Mellon effectively said the system was not working and we have not used it since. It is difficult to see how Pringle / Morris / Smith would fit into a 532.

However, the new players are better established now and we are playing with greater confidence, so who knows.
 
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Charlton1975

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McCulloch is a huge miss and that was so apparent on Tuesday. I think the work he does goes very much under the radar for most as it isn't particularly eye catching, however every good team relies on a player such as that.

There is no natural replacement unfortunately, Harris cannot do that job as he doesn't have the discipline or awareness to see things phases ahead of where the game is, and the other midfield options we have are much more attack focused.

This is a real concern, as Manny and Ellis looked very vulnerable on Tuesday against a forward that wanted to run at them and pull them out of position.

It will be interesting to see what Micky does now, but it could be that he narrows the formation to try and provide more defensive support, however this means that we lose the attacking strength out wide which has been brilliant throughout this run.

Lets see what Saturday looks like.
 

Ian

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Agreed @Charlton1975 this is a big loss just when we need that final push for the last half dozen games. I like Harris, but his quality is somewhat short of McCullough. Like you say, let's see where we are on Saturday and if our defence looks as vunerable as it did on Tues night. I don't think it is 100% down to McCullough however as Ellis and Monthe just didn't perform anywhere near their best either.
 

Boz

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It’s a team game and it seems we were below par on all areas of the park on Tuesday. On another day, our attacking players could have made up for the defensive frailties mentioned by putting the ball in the back of the net. On the highlights I’ve seen, which may not show the full picture, only Jonny Smith really tested their keeper.
 
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