With Bolton Wanderers preparing to face Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup this Saturday at the Reebok, I am firmly of the belief that the club could do without progressing in the famous old competition. On a run of wins, this might be unfathomable to some but please, do me the favour of actually reading the piece before condemning.
Interestingly, this decision could be taken out of our hands. I, for one, fully anticipate Keith Hill playing a much-changed side, and what with our opponents having not played since last Tuesday no doubt they’ll arrive at the game full of energy and wanting to put on a show.
Last time out, Wanderers took the three points at home to Fleetwood Town in what was an entertaining match, but there must surely be a more circumspect approaching from Bolton given our league commitments.
Luke Murphy was impressive against Fleetwood and I would expect him to be given a game - granted he is one of the more senior players but it must be said that if we are to revert to youth then having one or two more experienced players in the side would be sensible.
By the dint of having seen the likes of Murphy and Jake Wright at weekend, I would think that it would make a whole world of sense to give them a break at this early stage in the season.
Undoubtedly our congested fixture schedule will be a factor as the season develops and so this, in my opinion, provides even more reasoning as to why we should look to bring about wholesale changes to the side for the Plymouth game.
My preference would be to give fringe players more of a chance. Let Jason Lowe, Darryl Murphy, Josh Emmanuel and Adam Chicksen have a rest. These are players whom we will need as the season develops.
Sonny Graham, Matthew Alexander, Joe White, Eddie Brown - all players who have performed for Wanderers with great spirit this season. Surely their efforts in the formative weeks of this campaign deserve to be rewarded? I don’t think it would do us any harm to rest the more experienced players and allow some of our more energetic youngsters to get some game time.
Dodoo has been really impressive and so I would like to see him retain his place but why not give him a chance to play as a central striker? The majority of his Bolton appearances have come playing in wide positions but I think his physique and playing style could well support him being a more than adequate stand-in for Darryl Murphy whilst the old man takes a break.
One does accept the argument that it might work better to play our best team and continue to improve on our relationships and harmony as these players get to know one another and one another’s games, but ultimately I think the argument for giving some of the senior side a rest is all the more pervasive.
Going forward, our priority must be to retain our league position, no matter how unlikely that might appear at this time, therefore surely the only sensible approach for Wanderers to take is to enjoy the game but perhaps not be too upset should we fail to progress. We can look to a cup run once we are on a more stable footing next season.
So what do you think? Would an FA Cup run be the worst thing to go without this season?