Not a lot to play for tomorrow in all honesty, with us looking marooned in 11th, although I’m quite happy with that myself, it being my pre-season prediction!
We head over the Pennines to the Keepmoat with Ian Evatt looking to remain unbeaten for the rest of the campaign, while looking at which players can ‘get us ahead’ of the likes of Pompey and Sheffield Wednesday. The gaffer admitted we were competitive against both, but needs to figure out what is required to edge clear of these sides come next season. There may not be anything to play for on paper, but the players are still auditioning for a leading role next season.
An extensive injury list means the team almost picks itself, although Declan John should be fit despite limping off against Sheffield Wednesday and should keep his place ahead of Liam Gordon. Dapo Afolayan was an unused sub in that game, after coming off injured in the Portsmouth match that saw all three players to be subbed coming off with hamstring injuries. Club captain Ricardo Santos and January midfield signing Kyle Dempsey being the other unfortunate victims.
There’s no doubt the formation switch to 3-5-2/5-3-2 and his more central role in this set up haven’t suited his best attributes, but there’s been a noticeable downturn in his application over the past few months, which is a worry for me. Wigan second half aside, it’s been a good while since we saw the best of him. If I had to call the team tomorrow, Dapo probably sits on the bench again, which is a big indication of just how ineffective he’s been recently, given our injury woes.
The game will come too soon for Dempsey and also Kieran Lee, who Evatt has now decided will be kept away from the pitch for the remainder of the campaign, citing the nature of his heel injury and the lack of necessity to take the risk with him, given our current league position.
Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, who struggled with a back injury and was replaced before the hour mark against the Owls, also looks likely to be rested here, given Evatt’s comments about his heavy recent workload.
It could be that we again set up in what was broadly a 4-4-2 in last Saturday’s draw, with Amadou Bakayoko getting the nod to start alongside Dion Charles up front.
Donny will surely be going hell for leather tomorrow; the perfect phrase to describe their situation comes from a football cliches pod discussion point earlier this week, based on an Aaron Paul quote on Derby’s situation; they are very much in and around the last chance saloon.
We’ve drawn the last three 1-1, each time scoring a late equaliser. This further enhanced our status as the king of the final fifteen minutes, now having scored 23 goals in that period.
If only the lads’ supposed superior fitness extended to staying injury free, we might’ve been in a position to challenge for those much coveted play-off places after all.
I’m going for another draw, this time 2-2, in a result that would be very ‘meh’ for both sides, but probably terminal for Donny’s improbable hopes of beating the drop.
Kieran Sadlier to score on his return to DN4 and Charles to get back on the scoresheet, ending a barren run of nine games, after notching six in eight previously.