The Ed discusses talking points for the game at Meadow Lane
Which TUFC player was talked about more after Saturday’s loss than any other? Armani Little by a landslide. There’s no doubt the lad had a poor game (as mentioned by Andy Charles in the match verdict), but so did everyone. There has been a clamour to drop Armani for Notts County, which I can understand considering the struggles he endured last weekend – losing the ball far too frequently and becoming more hesitant as the game progressed, and he’s no natural captain that’s for sure – if Asa Hall is our modern day Chris Hargreaves, then Armani is Nicky Wroe – another player who had quality but struggled to win over the Yellow Army. However, Gary Johnson clearly believes in what Little brings to the team, and has always played him when available. Let’s trust the gaffer’s judgement and like the rest of the team give him some time to get things right, because I’m sure he’ll be in the starting line-up again on Saturday…hopefully with the skipper alongside him.
How many times has 4-4-2 with two upfront worked for us since we returned to the Conference? Well I haven’t got time to check, but not many! We’ve tried it for plenty of games (starting with the Duku/Reidy option…), but the balance just doesn’t click. With so many NL teams playing 3-5-2 or 4-5-1, the extra midfielder causes us problems that we struggle to contain and instead of becoming more threatening with an additional striker, the opposite happens. Holman and Wright linked up occasionally last weekend, but without someone like CLE playing in between the lines, Alty’s defenders found it too easy to muscle up and clear the ball away, which they did on a frustratingly high number of times. Will Gary Johnson stick to the 4-4-2 at Notts County? It’s a big call for a big game – my guess is three midfielders will be picked to help get us a foothold in the game, with Holman called upon later as an impact sub. As always the line-up will be eagerly awaited.
Jake Andrews was mysteriously absent from the squad on Saturday. An injury perhaps? But with our lack of updates from the club who knows! His left footed crosses and ability to shoot from outside the box was missed, and has been missed for much of pre-season. We all know what quality he can bring to the team when on song, so let’s hope a return to the squad for Jake is not far off.
Cameron V Wright
The battle between Kyle Cameron and Danny Wright will probably be worth the admission fee alone on Saturday! Kyle will no doubt be desperate to show us he’s made the right choice by moving to County (and will no doubt receive plenty of abuse from the Yellow Army), but Danny will be his usual nuisance and not give his old team mate an inch…cue some predictable argy bargy to spice things up further. United need to win battles all over the park to bring back the 3 points from Meadow Lane, and Wrighty will lead the way as usual, whilst Gary Johnson will be demanding better service for the striker than last week that’s for sure. Meanwhile let’s mark Cam tight at the other end, we DO NOT want him scoring!
The Return of CLE/Hall
Asa Hall is a shoe-in to start if GJ is happy with his fitness, I just can’t see us getting a result without him. He only played 20 minutes versus Alty and still claimed our man of the match, a clear indication of how poorly the rest of the team had played. Meanwhile the Torbay Weekly report that Connor Lemonheigh-Evans is close to a return. It might be too much to expect Connor to start and suddenly rediscover the form and sharpness that made him one of the National League’s best players last season, but we certainly crave his magic. Much like Asa he’s irreplaceable. Without either hitting full fitness it’s far from ideal, and the odds are against the Gulls coming away from anything at Meadow Lane. However, this is no mission impossible, it’s only just over two months since we beat them last time, we can do it again.