As pre-season is almost over I thought I’d take a look at what we might have learnt before the season begins. Obviously the only real test is actual, competitive games as there are always mitigating circumstances why players may not play so well before the rough and tumble of league action begins again. Whether that’s through lack of fitness, long term injury or even trying not to get injured before the real stuff begins there is no way of telling entirely whether the team will shatter on impact or not. So here goes my two pence worth of how the players have performed throughout pre-season (I did miss some of the games by the way) and my preferred eleven once the season starts.
John Danby – looked solid and should do a good job for us in goal again this season
Martin Fearon – again looked solid, had less time than Danby but looks like a good back-up
Wes Baynes – not looked as good as he did towards the end of last season but he hasn’t had that much on the pitch time with all the trialists. Will probably still be first choice right-back anyway.
Dom Collins – looked great at centre back, not as good at right back but hopefully he’ll play centrally and only be a back up on the right hand side. Got lots of talent this lad.
George Horan – Solid as ever. Great captain too.
Paul Linwood – looked rubbish at the start of pre-season but has slowly started to get back to the level he can be capable of and is pushing for the starting place next to, presumably, Horan.
Michael Taylor – would’ve liked to have seen him a bit more really. Not loads of game time but looked good. Due to lack of game time I can’t see him playing much of a part early on.
Matty McGinn – really good pre-season. His shots from distance seem to be getting better and better and he has looked at home in both defence and midfield on the left side.
Sean Clancy – looked good in both defence and midfield on the left like McGinn. Will be interesting whether Young goes for Clancy or McGinn at left back/midfield.
Iain Howard – looked like he has played with Jarman and M. Williams for years. Linking up really well with those two and causing lots of defences lots of problems. Really interesting dilemma on the left side with three dangerous looking left wingers in contention, with two of them also fighting for the left back berth.
Robbie Booth – really liked the look of Booth early pre-season but has hurt himself. Probably won’t start the season because of the injury but I’m sure he’ll play a big part again this year.
Michael Powell – pretty good but not played a lot. Interesting to see where he is on the pecking order this year (I like him a lot).
Levi Mackin – Always looked decent and has produced a couple of cracking shots from range, but hasn’t had too much playing time.
Ashley Williams – Looks hungry to be involved heavily this year after his nightmare season last year. Literally everywhere in games breaking up play and keeping possession ticking over. Our key midfielder taking over from Alex Brown. Probably a little less classy on the ball than Brown but he has bite in the tackle to make up for it.
Antoni Sarcevic – Starting to look like the player he’s always promised to be. Will be great watching him this season.
Dave Hankin – grown into the side after a quiet start. Looks like an interesting option to have around the place although he is certainly a right winger rather than a striker. Like him.
Marc Williams – looking on fire (ginger joke sorry). Scored lots of spectacular goals in pre-season. Really hope he can carry on his good form for a long time.
Nathan Jarman – created a great understanding with M. Williams already but works slightly harder than his strike partner. Will score lots as long as we don’t play it long.
Adam Proudlock – Unfit and ill. Not really had a fair go yet and I am willing to wait until he gets fit to properly judge him although a loanee striker to fill in whilst he gets up to speed would be nice.
My starting XI
Baynes – Horan – Collins – McGinn
Hankin (Booth if fit) – A. Williams – Sarcevic – Howard
Jarman – M. Williams
Bench: Fearon, Linwood, Clancy, Powell, Proudlock