It’s the B team’s turn for a run out once more on Thursday night as Shamrock Rovers come to WHL on what will be one of the most memorable nights in their history no matter what, and should we lose, one of the most forgettable in ours.
Ignore the trip to Tynecastle and our ‘cup’ side has turned out three times with goalless draws the result on each occasion. Fallibility from spot-kicks has been the theme, Harry Kane’s Hearts failure and the Greek’s retaken PAOK wide mean that the only decisive result came at the Britannia last week where the hapless Pavlyuchenko’s current lack of form and confidence was on full view, a display that culminated in his spooned shoot-out effort from 12 yards that nearly travelled the same distance again over the bar.
Pav has spurned the opportunity to fill his boots in these games and put any pressure on those ahead of him and he’s in danger of being written off. Already Adebayor has reminded us what it’s like to have a mobile forward with good technique in your side, something Pav should be striving for rather than attempting to break some sort of Guinness world record involving height and distance whenever he shoots. He’s periodically shown a real talent in front of goal during the last few years but his good moments are becoming harder to recall when compared to his more erratic ones.
Injuries still abound in the squad, which means that players like Townsend and Carroll are getting ever closer to the first team as well as being mainstays in the midweek games. Pav was missing at the weekend so we may have a very young forward line in action. It’s possible that Giovani, Falque and Kane will feature but given the need to win our home games, Redknapp will have some experience, probably in the form of a hopefully recovered Defoe, nearby. Elsewhere the theme will probably be youth in midfield (though Pienaar may make a return from injury) with more experience at the back. William Gallas may make his first appearance of the season.
Rovers feature an unlikely familiar face in the form of Rohan Ricketts of all people. Since leaving us in 2005 Rohan has travelled with his boots to Canada, Moldova, Hungary, Germany and Southend without finding a permanent home. A recent tweet suggested that he was looking to buy a pair of Adidas F50’s or Vapors before Thursday, he doesn’t say whether the purchase is because it’s a special occasion or whether his last pair met a nasty end in the dressing room at Roots Hall.
After the draw in Thessalonika, a win would put us in a good position in the group. All we need to do is hope that Harry judges the strength of the team correctly. COYS.
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