DAN THE FAN: Home reverse highlights flaws at the back
3:30pm Thursday 24th October 2013 in Sport
TUESDAY’S defeat to Walsall – the first at home in the league this season – doesn’t change the fact that the club have enjoyed a great start to the season.
But it has brought to light some of the frailties in this Town team.
I’ve mentioned the lack of depth in defence before.
Nathan Thompson, Jay McEveley, Alex Smith, Darren Ward, Jack Barthram, Aaron Oakley and Raphael Rossi Branco currently make up our backline.
Out of those seven, only two have made more than 50 league appearances in their careers.
The partnership of Ward and Hall has been decent but, at times, looked fragile.
Hall has been thrust straight into the first team with no prolonged Football League experience behind him, and been asked to play a key role in getting a side promotion into the second tier.
It would be a massive task for someone with 200+ career appearances let alone someone with less than 20.
The guy clearly has a big future ahead of him, but asking him to play 46 league games is far too much.
Signing another centre back before the loan window shuts in a month’s time is essential, primarily to give Ward and Hall some decent competition.
Nicky Ajose has had a big impact on the side since his arrival, but had his worst game for the club in midweek, which should open the door to attacking midfielder Ryan Mason to return to the starting XI.
It’s also important that manager Mark Cooper goes back to the 4-4-3 formation on Saturday, and leaves behind the idea of playing with three at the back.
McEveley needs to play as a full-back, not be pushed into central defence and Nathan Thompson also needs to prioritise his defending.
He was caught out of position too many times on Tuesday.
Results like Tuesday night’s happen in football, but it’s now all about how Town react after taking such a beating.
Saturday is a big opportunity to return to form as they face 19th-placed Oldham at Boundary Park.
Town’s away record against League One’s current longest inhabitants is a good one, with just the one defeat in the past ten years.
Getting at least a point is vital to our season.
- Follow me on Twitter @danjohnson_stfc