This brings me to the formation which would work best if we had them both. Nearly every team is using it now but it is such an effective formation; 4-2-3-1. We would have two wingers in King and Richards, then we would have Rochina directly behind Rhodes, this means that the ball will be played to Rhodes in every direction, crosses from the wings, or through balls from the middle. This could work very well if we can adapt to it.
That brings me to the midfield, two solid central midfielders will be needed to play the passes and also to support the defence. In Lowe, we have a promising young player. He didn't do too well last season but he has got experience now and we can build him up to be able to play key passes forward, and defend effectively. However, if we do not sign a right-back, then he would have to play there. Todd Kane played very well in his loan stint, he is good going forward, he has pace, good control and can put in dangerous crosses when he gets the chance, if we could get him on another loan next season, or have him on a permanent deal. However we also have Adam Henley who can play right-back but I thought that Kane was more of a threat than him which is why I have put Kane in the starting 11. Henley was good until he got injured, then he lost his place so Kane would be a good addition to either cover for Henley, or to rotate between the two.
Now, Pedersen wants to stay at Rovers and his loyalty and support for the club is clear for all to see. He hasn't got the pace or dribbling skill he used to have, but if we can consistently play him in the middle, he will improve in the key skills needed for the role, passing, vision and creativity. He is already a creative player, but his time spent on the wings is over and he needs to be played in the middle to gain more experience there.
Williamson also played well during his consistent starts, he looks up for playing and wants to take the ball forward. This is the sort of player we need to play in the centre, someone who can go forward but also get back to his position when we are not in possession. We cannot play Pedersen and Williamson at the same time unless we have a holding midfielder, they are both weak in the tackling department and we have to play a strong defensive midfielder as well as a passer, Lowe would be the right man for this role.
Dave Jones is out of contract in summer and he should be up in the list of players we should try and sign. He looked good at times but at others, he was sloppy, this might be because of the lack of playing time at Wigan, once he gets back into it, he should improve. I didn't see enough of him to tell if he can defend as well as attack, but he changed the game when he came on against Peterborough and scored one, and was involved in most of the attacks, again, another midfielder we need for the team.
Rotation will also be a good policy to use for the next manager, we have good depth in the squad and we could benefit from its use. Dunn could play in the same position as Rochina, best in Rhodes' spot, both Olsson's can play on the left wing, and then the midfielders I have mentioned already (Pedersen, Lowe, Williamson and Jones) could be rotated effectively. The defence is fine I think, Hanley and Dann are solid together and defend really well with each other.
Murphy and Etuhu are not needed in my opinion. They both lack pace and motivation, and don't deserve to play after their few performances last season. They came to Rovers for the money and that is what they are getting. Get rid of them now, so that they aren't there at the start of the season.
Last season, with the constant change of manager, the players couldn't adapt to their tactics quick enough and this is hard for them to play in an unfamiliar way. I expect a slow start to the season, but gradually, we should start to win more games as the tactics sink in for the players. This can be seen when Bowyer took charge, the players adapted to his style and they played well under him, and again in his second stint, the players looked a lot more comfortable in their positions. Time is what a manager needs, and hopefully, for once he will get it.
Here is the formation I think that we should play:
- Jake Kean
- Martin Olsson
- Todd Kane
- Grant Hanley
- Scott Dann
- Lee Williamson
- Dave Jones
- Josh King
- Ruben Rochina
- Colin Kazim-Richards
- Jordan Rhodes
Thanks for reading!