Feels like ages since we’ve played already, doesn’t it? In some ways I didn’t want to interrupt the momentum we’ve been building up so far this season. On the flip-side, international players aside, it does give our relatively new squad time together with Sean O’Driscoll to hopefully iron out some of the creases in our performances so far.
Of course, the drawback for the break is the potential for injuries – and Simon Cox ending up requiring a scan is testament to this. Although he apparently wants to play regardless, SO’D might prefer not to take the risk, particularly with the not inconsiderable option of fielding Billy Sharp in his place! Dex withdrew from his game for Antigua & Barbuda but should be fit to face the Blues.
The other injury doubt for us of course Henri Lansbury who arrived at the City Ground from Arsenal with an ankle injury – so he might well be fit enough to feature in some as yet mysterious midfield combination. I really struggle to second-guess who will play where at the moment, which adds to the excitement of getting back to the City Ground at the weekend.
Our visitors haven’t had the best of starts to the season – so far their only victory has come against similarly struggling Peterborough. Lee Clark was probably grateful for some breathing space from football to regroup his squad – a squad that looks to me to be a bloody good one – and perhaps kick-start a season that will surely pick up at some stage for the West Midlanders.
They are expected to be able to call upon captain and long term absentee Stephen Carr should they need to, as well as David Murphy who did have issues in their last game against the Posh but should be okay. Looking at their squad, their start to the season belies where they will end up I’m thinking.
Butland in goal is quality, and has a solid defence infront of him as well. Burke and Ambrose provide the potential for threat in midfield and former Reds striker Marlon “She Said No” King is sure to want to quieten the inevitable shitstorm he attracts from the home fans, and even if he doesn’t manage that then Lovenkrands ain’t no slouch at this level either.
Having said all that, we have our own elements of danger too – and I certainly hope that the squad and management are feeling confident to pick up where they left off. Sean O’Driscoll will have conducted more than my half-arsed research of our opponents and put cunning plans in place to best utilise our squad to overcome them.
I’m quite excited – sooner or later we might experience a bit of burst-bubble syndrome, but let’s hope it’s not this weekend!