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2 hours ago, Blue blood said:

Ok, so I think I have finally calmed down after this game. Not sure if I was more annoyed with TM and the team or myself for getting my hopes up. If Brentford showed why we are in contention for playoffs, the Stoke game showed why we won't do it.

I really was hoping that we had turned the corner with regards to beating weaker teams who sit back and defend but clearly an Achilles Heel we've had for 3 years still hasn't gone away. And no matter if you work your nuts off and get good results against the better teams - and Brentford was a refereeing calamity away from a good away win - it makes no sodding difference if you can't beat weaker opponents at home. Yes, there's always the odd blip, but we consistently can't put weaker teams to the sword.

Let's start with Gally. Aside from his dubious abilities as a striker, what is less contentious is that he is terrible at right wing. He's laboured, doesn't create, doesn't threatened, and only looks vaguely promising when he moves into the centre - in other words, away from the position he is playing. Why do we do it when it is clear to everyone of all shades of Rovers fans that it isn't working, is beyond me. Actually it isn't - there are 5 million reasons why he is playing there. It may however cost us a shot at the £90 million from promotion though. My biggest gripe however is how this changes our play. When Armstrong plays without Gally, we either loft it over the top to Armstrong or play it through the defence. When Gally plays we instead whack it towards him instead, rather than playing to the strengths of our best player. Even if Gally wins the flick on, it displays as much accuracy as a piece of governmental PR, meaning we are starving Armstrong of service from these "flick ons" (flick outs would be a better phrase), as well as giving the ball to someone who isn't that good. Sure the defence was deep and so it's harder to make balls to run onto, therefore more options are needed to stretch the defence with width or creatively unlock the Stoke backline. Gally provides neither width nor creativity, making it even harder when teams sit back. Farcical doesn't begin to describe it.

Then there's the lack of magic makers, making something out of nothing. I think we really lack this, and whilst debates with other posters would put Armstrong into this category, either way we looked very short on it against Stoke. This is why I feel there must be a place for Mulgrew on the bench. His free kicks and corners could have tipped the balance and unlocked the defence. Given Stoke weren't attacking a lot there were a number of options as to where Mulgrew could have played - in defence, left back or defensive midfield.

Speaking of midfield I struggle to see how Johnson is rated as a good buy. Sure he gives some 8 out of 10 performances but I think he is just as capable, and gives just as many if not more 4 out of 10 performances. What is patently clear is that he doesn't have the engine for Championship football anymore, certainly not 2 games in quick succession. Against Brentford - against who he looked rather good - he still gassed for the final 10 minutes of each half. I dread to think of him playing another season for us, as he just doesn't have the fitness required to build a team around. 60 minutes every Saturday is the best we can hope for which really isn't enough. The Stoke game was a game too far for him.

That said we had enough options on the bench to change things. If we wanted to play long ball give Graham a good amount of minutes. He still looks the best target man we have. Buckley has bags of creativity and a more passing approach with him coming on as sub should also have been something we could have utilised a lot earlier. Equally Chapman could've provided width, Bennett in the centre instead of Johnson more energy. Yes we have injuries, but we did have (5 by my count including Mulgrew) options that with enough time could have changed the game. Also just don't play Gally out wide that would help.

So another year, another disappointment. We are still comfortably outside the playoffs, and are unlikely to get another week where we can make up so much ground on everyone. Sure it's progress from last year but what might have been with a bit more nous is huge and very disappointing.

You had me until your bizarre suggestion that Benno could hold the midfield....?

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Opportunity missed. Think this is why I get power frustrated when people start touting us for the play offs as when we get near and have a home game we should be winning, we bottle it. Frustrating as

Gallagher at right wing is becoming the new Bennett at right back. Why we insist on having one rediculous out of position player in the side is beyond me.

Jesus christ, what a way to start the day reading this thread... We couldn't get more doom and gloom if we tried.  It's a game we should have won, yes. However, PNE and Bristol didn't pick up any

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1 hour ago, Sparks Rover said:

You had me until your bizarre suggestion that Benno could hold the midfield....?

He did it in league 1 and has a load of energy. I think that's his best position. Whether that is good enough is a different question (not sure he is) but I think his best games for me are there from what I have seen of him. 

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I wouldn’t start him when others are fit but if Bennett plays it should be in centre mid. Lots of energy against a tired opposition. That’s probably the most logical move when we bring off Downing.

I used to be a big fan of Bennett but he’s another victim of being played out of position.

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7 hours ago, Bigdoggsteel said:

Ya, 100% , the game was screaming out for someone like Chapman. Someone who could beat a man or two from nothing and just the break the line of defection and get Stoke stretched and worrying 

How many times have we seen him do that this season?  I have not seen it.

  Just want to add to the posters negatives on Gally out wide.  Playing him there seems to impede Nyambe going forward too.

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1 hour ago, USABlue said:

How many times have we seen him do that this season?  I have not seen it.

  Just want to add to the posters negatives on Gally out wide.  Playing him there seems to impede Nyambe going forward too.

It clearly hasn't worked out for Chapman. I just felt we needed someone doing that Dutfesque bit of magic the other night 

Ya, Nyambe needs someone with a bit of experience to play balls round the side of defender and get him right in behind the defence. He needs to be a bit braver with his runs forward though and more shots! 

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Just now, Bigdoggsteel said:

It clearly hasn't worked out for Chapman. I just felt we needed someone doing that Dutfesque bit of magic the other night 

Ya, Nyambe needs someone with a bit of experience to play balls round the side of defender and get him right in behind the defence. He needs to be a bit braver with his runs forward though and more shots! 

The reason that Chapmans stock is high even though hes not played since being a very promising wide man (primarily from the bench) over 2 years ago is because we have had problems in wide areas for a while, with the inside forward/wide striker experiment never working. Weve been heavily reliant on Dack and Graham in central areas until recently when Armstrong has stepped up playing in the middle, all the while, our wide men have contributed very little.

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Just now, roversfan99 said:

The reason that Chapmans stock is high even though hes not played since being a very promising wide man (primarily from the bench) over 2 years ago is because we have had problems in wide areas for a while, with the inside forward/wide striker experiment never working. Weve been heavily reliant on Dack and Graham in central areas until recently when Armstrong has stepped up playing in the middle, all the while, our wide men have contributed very little.

Varying success. Ya,I prefer my wingers to do winger things too. We don't do that. 

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Just now, Bigdoggsteel said:

Varying success. Ya,I prefer my wingers to do winger things too. We don't do that. 

We had brief hot spells from Antonsson and Armstrong from out wide in League 1 but aside from that, the wide positions are a blind spot and a real achilles heel for Mowbray. Maybe a brief spell for Rothwell last year but wasnt much more than the 2 good goals he scored. Strikers like Brereton, Gallagher and Samuel have toiled there without achieving anything, and players like Bennett and Reed were last season often asked to do a defensive job, but I doubt full backs come into games with us with any major worries.

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Just now, roversfan99 said:

We had brief hot spells from Antonsson and Armstrong from out wide in League 1 but aside from that, the wide positions are a blind spot and a real achilles heel for Mowbray. Maybe a brief spell for Rothwell last year but wasnt much more than the 2 good goals he scored. Strikers like Brereton, Gallagher and Samuel have toiled there without achieving anything, and players like Bennett and Reed were last season often asked to do a defensive job, but I doubt full backs come into games with us with any major worries.

Ah,I would say they have some concerns and worries, to be fair. Your description of the roles they are asked to play is bang on ,but I think that's down to the quality of players. The two you mention could score when played there. It's a case of winning the ball and beating a man or two. I just find the players are very conservative with their passing. The lack of urgency does my head in. I won't mention the Joe Allen incident the other night again. 

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