No answers sat here with a cup of morning espresso, but some observations. Injuries have crippled us, no pun intended. The loss of Taylor, Cullen and significantly Williams has been devastating and clearly effected morale as well as performance.
Our squad is not big, but still Gallen and Bowyer were able to have two players for each position when we got past deadline day. We had a selection box of midfielders, yet here we are in recent games a with defender playing for the first time as a central midfielder, the 36-year old Pratley being pushed into a box to box role, Gallagher being moved around the midfield like a chess piece, and now a bloke stuck straight in who hasn’t played for a year and a bit. Not to mention the range of teenagers Bowyer has had to expose to Championship football, who were playing non-league just a few weeks ago.
Injuries are part of the game, but then our replacements of those key three, each of who are, we thought, more than capable – Hemed, Field and Kayal are also out injured. The next tier of replacement Aneke, Lapslie and Oztumer also out with muscle injuries, for which we appear to have more than is average.
Forster-Caskey almost forgotten, is another out after showing valuable versatility before he got injured.
Our astute transfer window is again showing Duchatelet-forced signs of new players not being fit, or being dispiriting long term sick notes. Aneke, the most frustrating of all. Although many others are as fragile.
Bowyer is one for brave decisions, he likes to pick a team and a formation for an opposition, and I think he has been guilty recently of changing for changes sake, albeit with a very limited pool of players. In hindsight it may have been best to go back to basics, Curbs like. Play for a clean sheet, build from the back where we have the most bodies. But Curbs managed many hundreds of games, and Bow less than a hundred.
We are all learning, Bow, Jacko, the players, us the fans. We expected a relegation battle, and we may still get one. But brighter days are hopefully around the corner as are 26 more matches. No one ever said it will be easy, although Bowyer has very often made it look so.
It’s a test of character of us all. We need key players back, and we desperately need the EFL to say yes, but as much as I like Bow’s braveness, we also need some Curbs-like stability and back to simple basics.