DAN THE FAN: Four-man defence is the future – TrustSTFC

DAN THE FAN: Four-man defence is the future

Dan the Fan

After finishing October on a high away at Mansfield, then enduring an awful November, hopes were high that December could kick off with a win against 19th-place Crawley Town.

Sadly, the home side enjoyed a new manager bounce with Matthew Etherington taking charge of his first game, as Town came away with nothing after another poor overall display.

Since our best performance of the season at Field Mill, Town Head Coach Scott Lindsey has reverted to playing five at the back. In my opinion, this stems from losing Tom Clayton to injury, and Lindsey not trusting the centre-backs available to play in a back two.

This has been a mistake from Lindsey, and in games, when you can see this formation isn’t working, he’s failed to change things.

Losing Clayton has made a huge difference, but he should have trusted the defenders he had in his squad to step up and play in a two.

Another reason the Head Coach may point to for the change in formation is the absence of Jonny Williams, as he’s been part of the Wales squad for the World Cup in Qatar.

Not having him to play in the attacking midfielder role behind the strikers was a big blow, but he should have given Ronan Darcy the chance to fill that void, instead of reverting to a different formation.

The Head Coach hasn’t been impressed with the former Bolton Wanderers midfielder as he found himself on the bench at the weekend.

Louis Reed came into the team as the defensive midfielder, with Saidou Khan replacing Darcy in midfield, something I had been calling for in recent weeks.

Sadly, it was a bad day at the office for Reed as he again looked nothing like the player we enjoyed watching last season.

But we all know, on his day, he can be the best player on the pitch, he needs more game time to get back up to the levels he hit last season.

Hopefully, this Saturday when we welcome AFC Wimbledon to the County Ground, we will see a return to the 4-4-2 diamond formation which worked so well in Nottinghamshire.

Williams will be available for selection and should slot straight back into the attacking midfielder role he flourished in before his international call-up.

But it doesn’t sound like Tom Clayton will be fit, as despite starting last Saturday, Lindsey said in the post-match press conference he played most of the match in discomfort.

If Clayton is missing again, this doesn’t mean we need to see five at the back, Baudry and Brennan would be a good partnership, allowing another man to join midfield, and see more attacking intent from Town.

Saturday’s game is a huge one in our season with The Dons sitting 11th in League Two, just two points behind us. If we succumb to a third straight defeat in the league and begin to tumble down the division, questions will be asked of the Head Coach.

I still want to give Scott Lindsey the benefit of the doubt, as we have been in and around the playoffs most of the season, and enjoyed some superb results over the campaign.

But he has to make sure this bad run of results is stopped this weekend, or what starts as a minor blip, turns into something which kills off any promotion ambitions.

Even if results do take a turn for the worst, I don’t see our Head Coach out of work soon like our former manager Mr. Garner, with those behind his appointment fully behind their man this season.

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