Coming off the back of Lee Johnson’s first win as manager, will he trust the youth players that featured in the EFL Trophy? The lads visit Lincoln City who are second in the league.
GK: Lee Burge. Despite Patterson impressing Johnson, I fully expect Burge to remain our first-choice keeper and Patterson to be on the bench.
RB: Conor McLaughlin. With Jack Diamond excelling in a more advanced position, McLaughlin is now the only fit right back at the club other than Dion Sanderson. The Northern Irishman has had a mixed bag of performances this season, often looking like our most composed player but also giving the ball away very cheaply. He’ll be looking to prove himself consistently before Luke O’Nien comes back from injury.
CB: Bailey Wright. Wright is in poor form currently, but him and Flanagan are our only fit senior centre backs. Lee Johnson is thought to be a huge fan of Wright, so his position is guaranteed for now at least.
CB: Tom Flanagan. The lack of options at the back means that Flanagan is nailed on to start next to Wright. In a back four he’s looked much more comfortable and able to play out from the back a lot more.
LB: Callum McFadzean. Denver Hume’s injury has allowed McFadzean to come into the team. He’s already shown a great willingness to get forward and is a decent crosser of the ball, he just needs to become more solid defensively.
CM: Grant Leadbitter. Although Grant hasn’t hit the heights of earlier this season, his experience is still very valuable especially against a side in the top two.
CM: Josh Scowen. Scoring midweek, Scowen has earned the chance to play again despite the impressive performances of many who may find themselves on the bench today. Next to Leadbitter, Scowen can play more advanced or deeper. Johnson’s tactical flexibility means Scowen may have a different role than what he played under Phil Parkinson, and should hopefully look better in his natural position.
CM: Max Power. In the midfield, Power is arguably the most expendable right now. However, he always looks forward with his passing and tries to make an impact, offering an attacking threat that Scowen and Leadbitter don’t really have. This keeps him in the team in my opinion, although it’s just as likely that we’ll switch to a midfield two.
RW: Jack Diamond. Although Chris Maguire scored against Oldham, Jack Diamond got man of the match. He showed a directness that gives the team something different to Maguire and got into some great crossing positions. Dropping Maguire may be the motivation boost he needs to get back to his best.
LW: Aiden McGeady. His omission from Tuesday’s starting team is an indication that McGeady will start again today. He’s clearly still got the talent, so hopefully the experienced winger can shake off any rust caused by his absence.
ST: Will Grigg. Charlie Wyke is our top scorer this season, but recovering from injury which means Grigg will probably start today. He needs a run of games to start scoring, and Lee Johnson could easily be the man who gets the best out of the League One hitman.