Date: 30th January 2017 at 2:28pm
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Despite not getting anything from the game at Norwich, I have been feeling more optimistic recently that Zola can turn our luck around. Not that I believe in him as a manager to be fair, but in the fact that our business in January has been good. It’s unusual to get so many players in January as clubs are reluctant to sell and change their squad too much but also players contracts tend to be for Summer and therefore the prices go up. But I think Zola has made some signings that are good and that clearly suit the way in which he wants the club to play. Acquiring wingbacks instead of fullbacks and letting Caddis go really does show that intent.

However, I have been a little disappointed with the lack of a new centre half other than the youngster Scarr. We haven’t exactly been keeping a lot of clean sheets recently and so I would have thought that the defence really needs looking at. Then Spector went to Orlando City which I presume didn’t just come out of the blue. So we had Shotton, who has been converted into a centre half, Morrison and Robinson who really isn’t able to play a lot of game time. So we are seriously lacking in that department. Reports are surfacing today that Morrison is a doubt for tomorrows game at Reading due to a slight injury. So that leaves Shotton and maybe Morrison as well as Scarr and Harding, both who haven’t featured this season in a first team fixture for the Blues’.

Based on this, who would I choose to partner Shotton if Morrison is out? No matter what way you look at it, it is a risk to play any of the other three. Robinson probably is the safest option as he clearly has bags of experience but against the pace of Reading, will he really be the best option just because he has played at this level? I am not so sure really. I think he will be the player that Zola chooses basically because it is safe but it is not the best in my opinion. I personally would choose Harding.

Some may disagree and I can see why. But really, we don’t have much to lose. We have not won in 9 games and we may as well try and risk something in order to win rather than just playing the same way that has seen us fall to defeat after defeat under Zola. Harding is a really good young player. He has the perfect attitude in order to succeed and he has had this ever since he joined the club. He really has developed physically over the last year in terms of his strength and I have admired his footballing brain. This season he has really taken charge in the development team and his increased involvement hasn’t gone unnoticed. I believe that Harding has the pace to stop the pace of Reading whilst also being aware of any danger in the air.

If he is partnered with Shotton then Ryan will take command and so Harding can just focus on playing the simple ball. But he has made a handful of appearances under Rowett in friendlies and the like so he will have confidence and Zola was willing to throw Cogley in so I don’t see why Harding shouldn’t have a chance.

Some may argue for Scarr and that is fair enough. Scarr has been brought in to the club after he impressed recently in the FA cup for Stourbridge. But I think that he needs time to get to the required fitness of the Championship and up to speed with his team mates. Harding has been in and around the team for a long time so just based on this, puts him at ease a bit more. Scarr has the potential to be a great player and I think that once he has settled in and is up to the pace of this league, then he can shine. But it is too early for him.

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6 Replies to “Opinion: Do We Have A Centre Half Crisis?”

  • Morrison looks absolutely finished, he looks a completely different player to 12 months ago. It might sound naive, but if you look back on our last 10 games you’ll see exactly what I mean. He’s been at fault for countless chances throughout that period and beyond, he’s looked rocky all season. He was abysmal again at the weekend, I don’t know what’s happened to him. When he arrived he won everything in the air and you could tell our defenders fed off his commanding presence, now he’s constantly losing his man from corners or getting beaten in the air, especially when his man runs near post. The way he lost possession for Jerome’s goal on Saturday was an absolute disgrace, it wasn’t even schoolboy stuff. People will put that down to Zola wanting us to play more, but you simply don’t try and beat a striker, who has lightning pace, with skill inside the oppositions half when there’s nobody behind you to cover. In fairness, Nsue dropped him in it a little bit with the pass back to him, but yet again Morrison’s dropped another clanger. It’s frustrating because I love the guy, he was exactly what we needed when we brought him in from Charlton, but that was also at a time when our side was terrible. Are we now seeing the reason he couldn’t get into Charltons side?

  • We have been defensively poor since before Zola arrived. The amount of free headers opposition players get means something is seriously wrong. Zola needs to get a defensive coach in to get us defending the Italian way. We have been short of defensive cover for a while. If Morrison is injured then Zola could move Grounds to CB and play Keita at LB. I doubt if Zola will give the likes of Harding a chance. I think he’ll keep Grounds at LB and play Robbo alongside Shotton.

  • I Agree with Ijaz H. But I also think we should use Dan Scarr, in a 3 at the back We should be playing 3-4-3 when playing wingbacks IMO

  • 3-4-3. The starting 11 would look something like this GK: Kuszcak, CD: Scarr, CD: Morrison, CD: Shotton, AWBL: Keita, AWBR: Nsue, CM: Gardner, CM: Kieftenbeld, IFL: Frei, IFR: Adams, CF: Jutkiewicz, SUBS: Legzdins, Grounds, Cogley, Tesche, Davis, Cotterill, Storer, I would give Storer a chance until Donaldson is fit.

  • I think Morrison has been carrying an injury for some time and having to play due to lack of other options. My proposed solution is to move Grounds to left sided CH ,he has played there before at Oldham and bring Keilta in as LB. In order to protect these two foward playing FB’s (Nsue / Keita) we need a defensive 3 to cover for them, Davis, Gleeson and Kiefenbeld. Then play Adams and Frei as the forward 2 and Gardner just behind. Then bring the Juke, who is also looking tired on later to mix things about. KRO

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