Squad Rotation – A Necessary Evil? – 12/8/14

faridThere has been lots of talk recently on social media and on the fans’ websites regarding the Bees Player Live situation.

What cannot be in any doubt reading what has been said in all the messages posted is the excellence of the service provided in particular by the evergreen Mark Burridge and Luis Melville and their assorted friends, colleagues and guests and how much it is valued by its listeners.

Bees Player Match Day Live is a service provided by the fans – for the fans, and its quality, empathy, depth of coverage and knowledge is pretty much unrivalled throughout the football world.

It helps fans distanced from Griffin Park by circumstance, as well as those no longer able to attend matches, to stay close to the action and keep in touch with the exciting happenings at the club.

There is so much positive happening at Brentford FC at the moment and we are really fortunate to have an enlightened leadership and excellent staff at all levels who are determined to do what is right both for the club and all of its supporters.

Mark Devlin, Chris Wickham, Mark Chapman, Mads Tarrant and many others like them are all steeped in Brentford and football alike and are also sensible and talented individuals.

I will not speculate on what has been mooted as the cause for the decision to change the structure of Bees Player, as that is between the club and the individuals concerned, but it has provided a real dampener at what is otherwise a time of great excitement and positivity for everyone connected with the club.

I just hope that even now, a solution can be found and that the service can be restored to its former glories as soon as possible.

I remain in hope.

I am also hopeful of progress in tonight’s Capital One Cup clash at neighbours Dagenham & Redbridge.

I wrote recently about our relationship with Dagenham as well as some of the tonkings we have suffered on recent visits to their ground (https://bfctalk.wordpress.com/2014/07/06/turning-my-back-on-the-premier-league-6714/) and we are well overdue a victory there.

We narrowly beat them at the same stage of the competition last season, squeaking through by three goals to two.

Farid El Alagui made the vital difference, coming on as a substitute and turning the game on its head with two goals at a time when a severely weakened side was struggling to find its rhythm and looked like crashing out of the competition.

There is a lesson there for Mark Warburton and a balancing act that he needs to judge perfectly when it comes to team selection tonight.

On the one hand he has a whole raft of new players trying to bed their way into the team, and they would all probably benefit from playing as often as possible and developing a relationship with their new team mates.

On the other, he has several squad players who need match practice and the opportunity to make their case for regular selection for the first team and who might otherwise risk going stale given that the Development Squad has yet to start its season.

We also face three league matches in a hectic seven day period and need to balance the need to rest players and keep them sharp as well as avoiding unnecessary injuries.

There is also the risk of throwing players together in odd formations who are not used to playing with each other.

This was the case in the second half against Osasuna when a mixed squad was easily picked off by our talented visitors.

We obviously want to boost our confidence with a win tonight and maybe earn the right to play a Premier League team in the next round with the financial rewards that would accompany such a draw.

Uwe Rosler was lucky that his squad rotation didn’t come back to haunt him against Dagenham last year, but it certainly did in the next round when he sent out a horribly understrength and inexperienced team who were duly pulverised by Derby County, who thankfully took pity on us and declared after their fifth goal.

I suppose that players such as Josh Clarke, Aaron Pierre and Alfie Mawson can look back with pride in playing a first team game for Brentford, but you can’t tell me that poor, hapless Jack Bonham really benefited from the experience of being an Aunt Sally as he faced a non stop barrage of shots on the night.

Uwe learned his lesson after the Stevenage fiasco, and apparently being told a few home truths by the players, stopped rotating players, started to play a settled team and was rewarded with a long unbeaten run – there is a message there somewhere!

So Mark Warburton has a job on his hands tonight, and has several tough decisions to make particularly given the fact that he has shown that he favours stability in team selection, and that players who deserve to do so should stay in the team.

Who starts in goal?

David Button, who would be playing against a former club, or Richard Lee?

Does he break up the established back four and pick both Harlee Dean and Nico Yennaris?

Dean is another former Dagger and would be keen to return to his former stamping ground.

Will Jake Reeves or Toumani Diagouraga start?

Will Nick Proschwitz and Tommy Smith be given the chance to build up their match fitness?

Does he risk injury to Andre Gray or would it be a good idea to play him in the hope he builds up his confidence by scoring tonight?

Could Adam Forshaw feature on the bench, or is that situation still unresolved?

Will he play some of the promising youngsters such as Raphael Calvet, Josh Clarke or Montell Moore?

I really do not envy him his task as he needs to strike a balance and ensure players get match practice, stay fit, do not pick up injuries, develop working relationships and partnerships on the pitch and also win matches.

Not much to ask for is it?


5 thoughts on “Squad Rotation – A Necessary Evil? – 12/8/14

  1. There’s a big difference, I think between rotation and experimentation. Mark Warburton has a strong enough first-team squad to rotate the vast majority of his team and put out a very competitive starting eleven.

    What Rosler did last year at Derby was pure and simple experimentation, playing a team that would pretty much have been seen in the Development Squad.


  2. Without wanting to sound to disrespectful to the Daggers, any eleven plus of our squad should be too good for them AND keep our first clean sheet in this competition for a fair while.

    I’d like to see Big Nick start as Hogan still isn’t fit. We’ll see.

    I think Adam F needs game time. I’d have I’m on the bench and bring him on in the 89th minute. 😉


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