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My Preferred Lineup - Bolton Wanderers vs Middlesbrough

Lets play being the manager, here is how I would line up against Boro.

Northampton Town v Bolton Wanderers - Sky Bet League One Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images

I’m bored in a car on the drive up to the Reebok. On reading Ian’s great piece on what to look for in September (read here) I got thinking. Yes I agree we need to change the system, but if anyone was stupid enough to listen to me how would I suggest we lineup?

Well if anyone was wondering, which I suspect they were not, here is how I think Bolton Wanderers should lineup;

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The choice in goal does not really matter too much. I am of the opinion that Ben Alnwick was our best keeper last season so I’ll give him the nod. I don’t really think there is enough in it to matter that much though, and it isn’t a key part of how I would change the way we lineup.

I do though think we need to switch our defensive lineup. A switch to a traditional back four with screening players seems like the right way forward to me.

There is no way we are staying in this league if we keep on shipping goals at the rate we are, but then you don’t need me to tell you that. This is of course especially important against teams like Middlesbrough who boast a lot of attacking talent. It may not be firing yet but we saw what Derby County did last night, it is likely just a matter of time.

Bradford City v Sunderland - FA Cup Fifth Round
Darby in his Bradford days
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Stephen Darby would get the nod ahead of Mark Little as I have been reliably informed Little is more if a wing back. Yes Darby struggled against Leeds United. But he was being asked to play wing back, as a more traditional right back I would have he will be more solid.

The centre backs are a no brainer at the moment as, I believe, David Wheater is still injured. I can hear you all screaming but Dorian Dervite is fit, I have to say I just don’t rate him as much as the rest. That means that Mark Beevers and Reece Burke are currently shoo ins.

Andrew Taylor in a more traditional left back role should hopefully be more comfortable and able to show more of the form he showed last season.

Bolton Wanderers v Northampton Town - Sky Bet League One Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images

The defensive midfielders at the moment would beed to be Josh Cullen (yes I know I misspelt Cullen above but I’m far too lazy to fix that) and Derik Osede. It will come as a surprise to no one that I don’t really want Darren Pratley in there, bless him he does try.

Once he is fit again I would expect to see Jem Karacan fit into that pairing and hopefully we can sign another defensive midfielder to offer some competition. I would hope that one of those two could be more box to box and the other more disciplined, but if I go any more in depth on tactics then I will be talking out of my arse so I’ll leave it there.

I would then utilise three players in behind Gary Madine at top.

Bolton Wanderers v Northampton Town - Sky Bet League One Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images

At the moment with injuries these would be Adam Le Fondre, Filipe Morais (whose name I realise I have also misspelt but I am doing this early on the morning after the night before so you’ll have to bear with me) and Will Buckley. I would hope to see these three buzzing around Madine looking for any scraps.

Adam Armstrong could of course also fit into that three at the moment but I have given ALF the nod.

Once they are fit Josh Vela and Sammy Ameobi would also be looking for one of those spaces. Vela would be competing for the space ALF currently occupies.

Cardiff City v Leeds United - Sky Bet Championship
Noone at one of those Welsh teams we let play with us
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

We then of course also have Craig Noone. I would expect him to be in the squad against Boro but wonder whether it is too soon for him to start. He, along with Ameobi, will clearly be looking at the wider berths.

I think the above system best suits what we have available to us and will also add a bit of solidarity to the team. But let me know if you disagree with the formation or the players I have chosen.