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A small but flexible squad

Obvious gap at the moment with GK which will no doubt be filled over next few days but struck me just what a flexible squad GA is building on no doubt scanty resources in advance of the new loan rules. Each position already has a fair bit of cover with a number of players well capable of covering more than one position

RB: Jombati, Harriman, Bean
LB: Wood, JJ, (Jombati)
CB: Pierre Stewart, Jombati, Rowe
RM: Harriman, PCH, Thompson
LM: Wood, Weston (PCH)
CM: Mcginn, Bean, Bloomfield, Rowe, onien
F: Thomson, Hayes, Southwell, Akinfenwa, (PCH)

While a couple more outfield heads required, possibly a kid or two with some promise , no glaring outfield gaps to fill. Quietly GA appears to have done a canny job again. We are IMHO lucky to have him.


  • I still think we are one short in central defence and central midfield but with a painfully small squad the skill of Ainsworth's management will be how he looks after them to get to the business end of the season. Our style of play in the last two years hasn't left much in the tank of those not already injured.

    It's a pivotal season for Gareth in my opinion.

  • urban myth re 14/15 Right, breaking season into three, we won 10 drew 5 and lost 3 in the final third. (or won 5 of last eight if you prefer). Last season ran out of steam.

    I suspect you are right that additions will come in Cm and Cb, although for me looking at the squad biggest risk is attack where all four have some question mark.

    No doubt if we are not top of the league by November and champions by March, the negative snipers will be out again, weapons pointing at GA and some poor lad who is this seasons boo-boy. I am cautiously optimistic that we will again exceed reasonable expectations, If we do I hope GA gets the credit he deserves.

  • I too am optimistic, I think the squad is looking reasonable, young and as noted versatile. Then again they've got my money now so what can I do?

  • Looks like a decent squad.

    Comparing to last year on the downside we're clearly missing the quality of McCarthy and Ingram; and Hayes, Thompson, Bean & Bloomfield are another year older.

    On the upside Weston, PCH, Akinfenwa and Southwell give us a lot more attacking options.

    I expect us to bring in a few more loanees before the end of August, which may include a replacement for Pierre if he goes (which would be a big blow). One good thing about the end of loans outside the transfer window - if Pierre is still here in September then he's here until January.

  • It's slightly worrying that neither Sam Wood nor Paul Hayes have featured in either of the friendlies played so far.

    As the two players who had deteriorated most in terms of fitness last season, they arguably need a full pre-season workout more than anyone.

    Let's hope we see them tonight.

  • From

    "...Manager Gareth Ainsworth is also expecting at least one of Paul Hayes and Sam Wood, who both also missed the Brentford clash, but through injury, to return tonight.

    He said: “Hayes and Wood both got knocks during pre-season, which is tough because you don't want to fall behind. Both are pretty close to returning, perhaps even one on Friday, definitely next week for both.”

    Ainsworth also dismissed any concerns over the fitness of Hayes, who missed two months of last season battling a long-term achilles problem.

    He added: “The stats have showed Hayesy has played 81 per cent of games since he's been here, which is incredible.

    “People look at his age and the fact he's been around the block and think he's been out for ever, but he only missed a few games last season and was ever present the year before, so there's no concern at all.

    “He will be back on track. Everyone gets tweaks during pre-season, but he's a high profile name here. He's only 32, not one of the older ones yet.”

  • It's one thing being back, it's another being back to your best.

    Let's hope his achilles problem doesn't hamper him again this season.

  • Having offered Hayes a two year deal you'd expect nothing less that these words from Ainsworth. Having the stats on his games played shows he must be looking at it though.

    As suggested above I see a difference between merely playing and performing to his level and he didn't do that as often last season as he had the season before. I think firing less balls at his head for centre backs to whack him from behind might help but what do I know.

    Really hope Hayes comes good again. He's a fantastic player for us when he is.

  • I don't quite understand Dev's original post. Yes, it's a flexible squad - but if anything this summer has made it significantly less flexible.

    GA has signed four players so far. Akinfenwa only plays striker; Weston only plays left winger; Southwell only plays striker. It's only PCH who plays on both wings and as a striker - and we had him last season.

  • There are certain positions that i like a player to be rigid at. A flexible striker is likely to be an average one. Thompson is a flexible striker and in my opinion a better winger. A centre half should be a centre half, if they can cover full back then happy days but rarely they can (McCarthy was a bit of an exception at our level).
    I suppose GA's confidence that someone in the squad can play 'keeper is the ultimate endorsement of the flexibility we crave.

  • Squad looks pretty good to me so far, lacking those fillers who you knew were never getting a game like Sellers and Kretzch. Rowe was one of those for most of last season, but is now stepping up in his own right.

    It means there's a lot more cover and options, despite the relatively low numbers.

    If everyone is fit, wide midfield will be interesting. Wood v Weston. Paris v Harriman, or will either be moved elsewhere.

    Couple of the trialists/loanees and we're ready to go.

    Have to be slightly concerned on Hayes though. Yes he didn't miss tonnes of games, but the amount of games he was on the pitch but clearly not at full capacity was alarming.

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