Time for Grimsby Town to change formation?
SHOULD Grimsby Town stick with the 4-4-2 that took them to the top of the Conference?
Should they restore the Andy Cook/Ross Hannah strike partnership?
Should they give the overworked midfield pair of Derek Niven and Craig Disley some support in certain games?
One defeat in 19 matches is no reason to press the panic button.
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But then again, most Blundell Park regulars felt a result like the one at Braintree was on the cards, sooner or later.
The fans had appreciated the spectacular work-rate from midfield, admired strikers who could finish and lauded a mean defence backed up by a keeper pulling off top drawer saves at vital times.
All the ingredients, it would seem, of a promotion-winning team. And yet supporters have often been on tenterhooks as visiting teams have lorded possession.
Should not their top of the table side be putting lowly teams to the sword?
Maybe boggy, foggy Braintree was a blip. Maybe a change up front was necessary. Who's to say that Town won't go on another unbeaten run?
I've just felt that there is still something missing, another jigsaw piece still to be found.With an embarrassment of riches in the striking department it would seen strange to suggest a change in formation, but could a switch pay dividends as Town approach a run of challenging games?
More often than not, visiting sides play a 4-5-1 with three central midfielders. Town's 4-4-2 leaves them with two in the centre. When Town's back four have possession Disley and Niven are outnumbered and the ball often by-passes them as defenders see no easy pass and launch it forward, hoping that Cook or Brodie will win the headers. When the opponents have the ball the midfield two work like trojans, closing down and tackling. The front two are often spectators as the midfield battle rages.I suspect that Andi Thanoj is not a regular pick because the management don't want to lose that war of attrition in the middle. But would Town look more comfortable if they had that extra central mdfielder, if Thanoj joined Disley and Niven? He would then have the freedom to play while Disley could support the lone front man when Town move forward.
Then again, if you just play one striker you'll leave the other five (including Liam Hearn) unhappy. But football's all about opinion and that's my two bob's worth.
Talking of Niven, he left nothing out there in that Dartford victory. I haven't seen work-rate like that since the days of Mike Hickman. Hickman was the unsung hero of Lawrie McMenemy's 1972 title-winning side. Mr perpetual motion, he would run through brick walls for his team-mates. The difference between him and Niven is goals, of course. Hickman banged in 13 in that championship season.
The following year, as a young reporter and promising local footballer, I went and did a day's training with the Town squad at Peaks Lane. I was playing well until I 'met' centre-half Clive Wigginton, prompting my quick return to local football.
Anyway, Ron Ashman was the manager at that time and he called us together and wanted to show silky striker Jack Lewis how he could improve his all round game. How did he do it? By pulling off one of Hickman's boots in front of Lewis and emptying the sweat out of it. Jack must have got the message as he went on to be called up by Wales.