First off, I think it’s good news that we’ve called Alex Kačaniklić and Ryan Tunnicliffe back from their respective loans at Copenhagen and Blackburn Rovers. They’ll be like two new signings. We all know what Kača is capable of, and Tunnicliffe has done really well at Blackburn. They’ve both got Championship experience so their presence will be a boost to the squad.
Our most recent outing saw us draw 0-0 with Wolves in the FA Cup, and it was a game where both teams were devoid of ideas in terms of making and taking chances. We saw Ross McCormack take up an attacking midfield role in that match but, for me, we paid for him to get goals so I think we’ve got to use him as far up the pitch as possible. We want him up there, getting in the box, doing those little twists and turns, and getting those goals that he’s capable of getting.
I know Bryan Ruiz missed the Brighton game with a knock, but if he’s fit I’d like us to go back with Hugo Rodallega and McCormack up front, and a diamond system with Ruiz at the tip of the diamond, just behind the strikers. That will keep McCormack up the top of the pitch and give Hugo a bit of help, too.
A trip to Wales is next up when we take on Cardiff, and there’s a bit of pressure on them at the moment as they haven’t won a league game in a while. We’ll have to try and keep them quiet for the first 20-25 minutes because the crowd will get on their backs. But it’s still a tough game. They’ve just come out of the Premier League so they’ve still got some quality players there, but Premier League players can’t always adjust to the grind of the Championship, which might be why they’re struggling.
The Wolves draw means we go again in a Replay next week, and while another fixture isn’t ideal, our squad should be strong enough to deal with this run of games. I think the key is that we’ve got our better players fit (hopefully Lasse Vigen Christensen’s knock isn’t too bad) so I’d like to see us go and attack it. Why not go for a cup run? It would give everyone at the Club a lift.
It’s back to league matters after that when we welcome Reading to Craven Cottage, and that’s a good opportunity to climb the table as they’re currently only a point ahead of us. In charge there now they’ve got Steve Clarke and Kevin Keen, who left us as Under-18s Manager to go to Reading. Kevin’s a good friend of mine who I played with at West Ham so I think that’s a good appointment for them, but I still believe they’re going to take a little time to get going. That’s why I think it could be a good time to play them. I fancy us in every game that we go into, and that one’s no different. It’s just important that we get the attacking intent right – that’s the key.