Yes Josh Vela is a key player, and yes we could do without losing any key players when perched so close to the relegation zone. But when I look at the other players who can fill in for Vela I’m not all that fussed.
Sammy Ameobi is one who springs straight to mind. He is one of the few players we have who can hit a shot from range, and deploying him more centrally could allow him more opportunities to do just that, or break clear like against Bristol City.
Zach Clough is another. Arguably his best football in a Bolton Wanderers shirt was played in behind a certain Adam Le Fondre. He is one of the players in our squad most likely to make something happen creatively and allowing him some room to operate behind the striker could pay dividends.
Le Fondre himself is one I feel could operate in a deeper roll, though maybe this is not so much the case in a post Gary Madine world.
Another who deserves a mention is Harry Charsley. After being rushed into the team on his arrival he has disappeared without a trace after a flurry of loan signings on deadline day. The rules about how many loan players can be in the squad may continue to count against him, especially now it would appear imperative that Jon Flanagan is in the squad with Mark Little suspended, but he is undeniably an option. He is the gem of Everton’s impressive youth team and given a run of games he might just prove a useful asset, rather like that little left back they have lent us this season.
Filipe Morais, Craig Noone and Jeff King are three others who may fancy a pop at that vacant starting berth. At the very least with Reece Burke, Antonee Robinson and Jon Flanagan taking up places in the first team squad, the need for attacking depth with a loanee missing out surely increases the chance of King getting more first team exposure which can only be a good thing.
At the very least Noone and Morais serve to show the depth we have in players who can play out wide, along with Will Buckley. Together they add options should Ameobi be deployed centrally.
With so many potential options, hopefully each one of those who may consider themselves capable of fulfilling Vela’s role will waste no time in proving to Phil Parkinson that they are the man to add fuel to Wanderers’ survival bid. With talk of a patch work team to face Sunderland tonight we have to hope whoever it is can hit the ground running.