With the looks of it at the minute a 5-3-2 or a 3-5-2 looks to be the formation we'll be using, signing another defender from Braga according to a lot of reliable sources and with Loovens signing a new contract we'll have a fair few defenders on the books, unless of course sadly Tom Lees ends up at Fulham. I know Hull City used wing backs the other year but I've never experienced us use it at this level, but its still guess work at this point.
Worse off than last season at the moment. Would hope for us to sign a new: GK, CB and CM for the starting 11 before the season begins plus one or two backup players. Would like to see Grounds replaced as well but don't think there's much chance of that.
Grant or Carson, I guess it doesn't matter too much. I think they're both decent 'keepers who suffer from confidence issues.
Buxton for me is our best defender, but I haven't seen Pearce yet. Keogh, I imagine will remain in the side regardless. I expect Shackell, or at least another, to sign before the opening day. Keogh has a fair amount of pace, covers a lot of ground and is a decent footballer - 80% pass completion, plus can play it long accurately.
Christie is a very good player who needs a bit of coaching. I was never against the previous regime, but I thought their handling of Christie was laughable. First 1/3 of the season he was our best player, so I'm hoping Clement and Peacock have a bit about them to help him along next season.
Forsyth is a tricky one; the things he does well, he does consistently. However, the things he does bad, he does bad consistently. He's an outstanding defender. He's statistically been the best left back in division for the past two seasons, but he lacks the brain. Ball retention when NOT under pressure is comical. When he's under pressure, he could find maddie with a pass. He's a bizarre footballer. I imagine coaching, perhaps, could help him even more.
Keeping Thorne fit is absolutely vital for our promotion chances - we've got a 72% win record with him in the side. He just makes us so much better because he adds structure to the midfield. Baird, I hope, can offer something similar for when he isn't fit. Bridcutt, I imagine, will sign too.
I hope to god Hughes is told to play a lot deeper. I just think he's wasted further forward. He has the ability to play there, but his strength is getting on the ball and creating space for others. When he's further forward, you lose that vision. Hendrick isn't my favourite player, and I'd look to utilise Martin deeper and play Bent than use him. However, I think Bent will be an 'impact player' for when we're fully fit.
Weimann and Russell on the wings for the moment, Ince for Russell when he comes in. When being the key word.
A lot is made of the defence, well, too much is made of the defence. When Eustace was in the side, a back five of Grant, Christie, Keogh, Buxton and Forsyth broke a club record for the most consecutive clean sheets. Without a defensive midfielder, along with a few injuries and a few position changes, we fell apart.
Albentosa deserves a summer to show what he can do, he was highly-rated in Spain. Pearce could flourish under new management. Keogh and Buxton are a solid centre half pairing. This is before we even consider Shotton, Rawson and even Baird.
I think a bit of organisation, coaching and confidence will see the defence through. Thorne alone will be a huge boost.