In the last few weeks much has been made of the fact that we've been able to field the same starting 11 and likewise there have been few changes amongst the named subs. For me however, recent games have highlighted two worrying aspects - the paucity of real quality game changers available off the bench and some of Parkinson's tactical changes when making the substitutions he has.
Using the drop in form of people like Charlie Wyke and Lynden Gooch as examples, we're clearly lacking any potent threat up front at the moment which looks like it could cost us dearly as the remainder of this campaign runs its course. Introducing the likes of Watmore, Lafferty and Semenyo late in recent games didn't seem to particularly up the ante in my opinion which could either be down to them not having enough time to make a difference in the game or them just not being capable of doing it.
Watmore’s form particularly seems to have nosedived, he looks to have lost pace (his main attribute) and has also resorted to just running at defenders but instead of being able to go around them he runs straight into them instead. I assume he has now picked up yet another injury as the footballer formerly known as 'Lord Lucan' (Will Grigg) made up the numbers on the bench yesterday.
It's not just up front where we seem to lack cover. Denver Hume's similar recent poor form and lack of adequate replacement has seen Parkinson move Gooch back towards the left wing back slot whilst he accommodated other options off the bench up front. Which brings me to the second part of this substitution puzzler, the players Parkinson has taken off.
Against Fleetwood he took both Dobson and Willis off which, from where I was sitting, struck me as odd to say the least. I know someone has to come off but in the Fleetwood game there must've been other more suitable candidates. Dobson's removal meant Power found himself alone in the centre of midfield and his passing options became either hoof it forward or pass it back to the defenders for them to do likewise.
Maguire, our most creative player, ended up dropping back to help out which seemed like insanity to me. Willis, who again got withdrawn against Coventry, is quite good at getting forward so the option to move O'Nien and take off someone else instead was always there? My point is, we can have all the possession in the world but if we can't break teams down and stick the ball in the back of the net we're never going to get the better of rival teams like Coventry and therefore never going to break into one of the automatic promotion places.
We will be faced with a play off place at best and which sane SAFC fan would want that or even be confident of going through via that particular back door? Unless there is a radical and immediate improvement our fate this season could already be sealed. Stewart Donald's ownership could be heading into yet another campaign in the third tier and Parkinson's longer job prospects could be dwindling even further. We cannot afford to be cast adrift any longer down in League 1.