There could be a school of thought that might see a game like this as an unnecessary distraction, but after Saturday’s performance at the City Ground it’s clear that Steve McClaren’s team could do with all the practice it can get! So a trip down to Adams Park to take on the Chairboys in the second round of the Carling Cup.
I’d hope to see a reasonably full strength side out, obviously not risking anyone to injury. Our opponents have had a mixed start to the season – they’ve won only one game in the league, away at Leyton Orient, drawing two and losing their most recent at home to Bury. Their first round win was over Colchester at home – on penalties, much like ourselves.
As much as I’d like to pretend otherwise, I must confess I know not a fat lot about our opponents – but taking the simplistic stance of league standings screams banana skin. Wycombe won promotion to League One last season after finishing third, just pipping Shrewsbury Town to the coveted last automatic promotion spot.
Whilst I’ve argued a full strength line-up being a sensible ploy for us, I can see the merit in granting experience to some fringe players or youngsters too – however, I do think that McClaren really needs – at this point – to be making a concerted effort to be working out his best combination of personnel and tactics. Something he’s not really demonstrated in previous games!
If we’d enjoyed the kind of storming start to the league (at least in results terms) that certain other teams not a million miles away geographically have managed, then I’d be quite open to a cup exit – but right now, with performances looking sketchy – we really could do without anything to further dent the old confidence.
Adams Park isn’t going to be an easy place to play, and whilst I’ve already freely admitted how little I know about our opponents, they ain’t going to be looking to do anything other than making it difficult for us – so if we indulge in a campaign of making it difficult for ourselves as well then we are more than capable of being turned over.
Steve McClaren thinks that the comeback against Leicester could turn our season around – that’s a sentiment that obviously appears to us, a top notch performance and positive result in this game could really help us to kick on as we then go on to prepare for another tricky league fixture with West Ham making the trip to the City Ground next weekend.
And of course, whilst we worry about the performances (rightly), we must remember that the points haul we’ve amassed so far is highest in a while at this stage. Plus this time last year we’d been dumped out the cup by Bradford City (revenge of sorts, since we’d knocked them out in the first round of the competition in the 2009-10 season).
Anyway, I’m rambling in the absence of any genuine insight. Let’s just not embarrass ourselves!
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