Rochdale v Rovers

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Jason Koumas / John Morrissey
At any level, one member of the back four needs to be the organiser and communicator. In the past that would have been McNulty, but in the absence of Clarke we don't have a player like that.

Somebody needs to give a defender a shout to let him know a striker is on his shoulder, somebody needs to tell the defence when to push up and when to drop. That communication needs to take place on the field of play, in reaction to the game, and there is only so much the coaching staff can do to organise off the pitch.
 
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aldo
most of the team are struggling with the step up . think mm and mp have had massive eye openers with the difference in quality between the lgs
 
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aldo
looking at liverpool they even have a throw in coach and a corner coach . we are crap at em ok we cant have loads of coaches but when you see the ball not getting past the first man 99% of the time we have to ask if they do train on em and if they do its being done wrong
 
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If you review our results so far this season, in the last fifteen games we have picked up seven points, but in the first fifteen we earned sixteen. That suggests that even if we could return to the form of the early weeks of the season, which was still poor, we would give ourselves a chance of staying up.
 

Sparky

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Not wishing to state the obvious but yesterday again highlighted our major issue - lack of goals.

In recent weeks MK Dons have had Rhys Healey banging them in. Rochdale have had Henderson all season. Wimbledon scored 2 yesterday at the league leaders and we’ve not scored in the last 6 league games.
 
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Jason Koumas / John Morrissey
Not wishing to state the obvious but yesterday again highlighted our major issue - lack of goals.

In recent weeks MK Dons have had Rhys Healey banging them in. Rochdale have had Henderson all season. Wimbledon scored 2 yesterday at the league leaders and we’ve not scored in the last 6 league games.
Although they have not been convincing so far, I think Cook and Vaughan are much better than the strikers we started the season with. Vaughan has been slated left, right and centre by our supporters, but he scored more goals in the first half of this season at Bradford than Mullin has in an entire season in his whole career !

However, there is a real lack of creativity at the moment, partly I think because of lack of confidence and partly because we are playing two defensive midfielders to protect a very fragile defence. When Clarke and Banks return that might improve a bit. Banks is not a silver bullet who will solve our problems, but he is more creative than our other midfielders.
 
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Sparky

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Agree about bans and Clarke although Olly in his cameo a few weeks back looked very cumbersome. Suspect he is the type of player that takes a while to get match fit. The dilemma as ever as whether he can play in. 4-4-2
 
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Agree about bans and Clarke although Olly in his cameo a few weeks back looked very cumbersome. Suspect he is the type of player that takes a while to get match fit. The dilemma as ever as whether he can play in. 4-4-2
I don't think he can. I think he would have to play in a three man midfield, certainly at this level.
 

Sparky

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There lies one issue. We’ve got a strong target man in cook whose service would come from wingbacks which isn’t ideal for us to score regularly. He needs wingers I think to give more service by players getting to the byline and pulling crosses back. Rides and Caprice etc will do a job but we need more. Hey ho
 
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There lies one issue. We’ve got a strong target man in cook whose service would come from wingbacks which isn’t ideal for us to score regularly. He needs wingers I think to give more service by players getting to the byline and pulling crosses back. Rides and Caprice etc will do a job but we need more. Hey ho
It depends, I think.

Cook scored plenty of goals for us when we played with Vaughan and Ridehalgh as wingbacks providing crosses. It all depends on the quality of the service.

Plus, I think Vaughan needs a different kind of service. He does not want balls slung into the box, he needs more creativity from behind in midfield.
 

ONIGP

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Eddie Bishop
There lies one issue. We’ve got a strong target man in cook whose service would come from wingbacks which isn’t ideal for us to score regularly. He needs wingers I think to give more service by players getting to the byline and pulling crosses back. Rides and Caprice etc will do a job but we need more. Hey ho
Not ideal but a 4-3-3 with Cook as target man and 2 of Ferrier/Vaughan/Jennings/CBT/Morris playing wider - one pulling in as we attacked from the opposite side. It would give them some backtracking responsibility, though. The difficulty is that a lot of our players are of a similar standard which makes formation building theoretical at best. Normally, there would be a core of automatic starters around which the formation would be built. We don't seem to have this at all and, arguably, from a fully fit squad only Clarke and Monthe would be nailed on starters. In the past 2 seasons that "core" was a lot larger.
 
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Not ideal but a 4-3-3 with Cook as target man and 2 of Ferrier/Vaughan/Jennings/CBT/Morris playing wider - one pulling in as we attacked from the opposite side. It would give them some backtracking responsibility, though. The difficulty is that a lot of our players are of a similar standard which makes formation building theoretical at best. Normally, there would be a core of automatic starters around which the formation would be built. We don't seem to have this at all and, arguably, from a fully fit squad only Clarke and Monthe would be nailed on starters. In the past 2 seasons that "core" was a lot larger.
I agree completely. Aside from the two players you mention, plus perhaps Morris and Davies, I could not tell you what our 'best' eleven was. The general lack of quality has been our real downfall this season.
 

Boz

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I’ve only seen the Portsmouth game since Vaughan and Cook joined, but from comment on the other games, they haven’t had the impact expected. Hopefully with the time off, there has been an opportunity to work on their partnership and the supply to the forwards.

I’m not expecting great things from Banks when he returns and agree with Sparky’s observations about his fitness. He does offer something different but is too much of a liability away from home to merit a start, when fit imo. I’d rather see Gilmour or Jennings in the forward midfield role on our travels.

When Clarke returns wonder if we will go with a less defensive central midfield than Woodyard and McCullough?

I’m in Herts next weekend, so will try to make the Wycombe game and break my away duck. Doesn’t seem likely on current form though
 
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