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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