Yes it would be great fun to put out a full team and try and give Premier League Huddersfield Town a run for their money, but would that be wise?
After the ever gruelling, and unbelievably successful, festive period there will be some very tired legs out there, and players who really need a rest.
There has been talk in recent weeks of niggles threatening to rule Pratley out, and regardless of whether they are fit enough to play they should be be rested as the league simply must take precedence, and if either were to play and be ruled out with an injury after the cup tie that would be devastating. Not to mention that any yellow cards they pick up would have an impact...
Its not only those two though. Gary Madine goal machine will surely need a rest, and again the risk of an injury should not be taken in a game which simply doesn’t matter. Although Bolton’s turn around in fortunes coincided with Henry’s arrival Madine’s influence has been pivotal, and will be for the rest of the season.
In their place should come players who will want to have a look in. Give Adam Le Fondre chance to show what he can do from the start. Give Jem Karacan a chance to show he can play a part in Bolton’s survival scrap. And that is not to mention the likes of Jeff King and Connor Hall who greatly deserve a go in the first team.
All of those buzzing around the periphery of the team should relish the chance to take part in an FA Cup third round tie with the run in to the end of the season looming. Lets give them a chance to show what they can do, rest the key men, and go from there.
If I were Parky I would line up something like this;
This would give some of the fringe players a valuable run out, and maybe even put a couple in the shop window. Although the club may not want the likes of Derik Osede cup tied based on recent reports.
I would back up this changed team with a very experimental bench. Assuming all of these players are fit and available I would name them in the match day squad ahead of their senior colleagues.
Many I imagine who may agree with shaking up starting XI may disagree with such a youthful bench, Will Buckley aside, but I think Parky should go all out with resting as many senior players as possible.
On the bench I would name; Jake Turner, Cole Lonsdale, Harry Brockbank, Jack Earing, Alex Perry, Buckley and Hall.
If those youngsters are good enough to have squad numbers why not give them a chance? Buckley is the only senior player on the bench as I would judge Sammy Ameobi to be a more important player, but its irrelevant for these purposes who takes that extra space..
Whether Phil Parkinson will do this or opt for building on momentum by picking a strong team remains to be seen. I hope he at least makes a few changes and gives a couple of possible options a chance to impress, and keeps a few fresh for a big game away at Brentford next week.