After news broke today about the hiring of Kristjaan Speakman and the reintroduction of Aiden McGeady tomorrow, will Andrew Taylor shake things up after Tuesday’s approach clearly didn’t work for today’s match against bottom side Wigan Athletic?
GK: Lee Burge. Although it’s generally a bad idea to keep rotating your goalkeepers, Remi Matthew’s error cost us points v Burton. Before Burge’s injury he kept a number of clean sheets, and the defence looked more reliable with him in between the sticks.
RB: Conor McLaughlin. Luke O’Nien’s injury, combined with how the lads played in the last twenty minutes against Burton, may persuade Taylor to switch to four at the back and abandon Phil Parkinson’s wingback system. McLaughlin has been a consistent performer this season and will be hoping to continue his form in defence.
CB: Bailey Wright. With O’Nien injured, Wright’s job will mainly be to organise the new look defence and make sure everyone’s on the same page. He hasn’t had the best couple of weeks, but the experienced Aussie is still probably our best centre back.
CB: Tom Flanagan. Despite coming off last week, it’s likely Tom will be trusted to start again in a four-man defence. With Wright as more of an enforcer, Flanagan may be able to walk through the game in a more controlled manner.
LB: Callum McFadzean. With Denver Hume’s weakness clearly his defending, Taylor could opt for the more defensive minded McFadzean for his first league start. Given the opposition, it would be ideal to either give McFadzean a chance to impress or allow Hume game time to improve his defensive awareness against lower quality opponents.
CM: Grant Leadbitter. Although Leadbitter wasn’t at his best on Tuesday, he’ll be determined to put that right today. Against Wigan, we will see most of the ball and Leadbitter is important in adding that extra bit of quality in his passing.
CM: Max Power. The goalscorer midweek, hopefully Power’s new haircut proves to be a new lease of life for the midfield man. Power’s tenacity and energy compliments Leadbitter really well and he’ll be more motivated because of his history with his former club Wigan.
CM: Josh Scowen. Scowen does of course have Championship experience with QPR, but somehow seems to have a total lack of composure and accuracy when it comes to passing and shooting. This is why I think he’d be much better suited to a deeper role rather than an advanced midfielder like on Tuesday night.
RW: Elliot Embleton. On Tuesday, the two-footed midfielder did show glimpses of quality. His set piece threat in particular could be a good asset, although the youngster didn’t create a whole lot from open play. Still rough round the edges, what better time to play him than against arguably the worst team in the division?
LW: Chris Maguire. Although the return of McGeady is now imminent, it would be ridiculous to start the 34-year-old after a year on the sidelines and considering his past injury struggles. In a 4-3-3 style of formation, and with the prospect of a new manager to impress, Maguire will hopefully look more comfortable and motivated than he has done all season.
ST: Will Grigg. With Charlie Wyke injured and Danny Graham out of form, Grigg may find himself with another opportunity to impress on Wearside. He came close twice midweek and looked pretty sharp, so if he grabs a goal or two today then he could play himself into the new manager’s plans.