Selection Dilemna

Last updated : 29 October 2004 By Andy Green
Photo © Paul Whiteley
Ian Ashbee - available again but who will he replace? (Photo © Paul Whiteley)
Ashbee has served his three-match suspension and is not just available for Saturday's trip to Wrexham but, according to Taylor, is a certain starter. On the face of it, not many of us are surprised or disappointed by the change. That is until we realise his return to the fold has to be at the expense of one of the team who played so well against Luton. It seems certain that the unfortunate player will be one from amongst Green, Lewis and Price.

With a record of 8 goals from 13 starts, Green will count himself very unlucky to be the one who makes way. Whatever his defensive frailties may be, they are surely offset by his goal making and taking prowess. Although his record speaks for itself Stuart has a history of being Taylor's scapegoat and this observation will be affirmed should he be the one sacrificed on Saturday. You don't see Chelsea dropping Lampard do you? They rotate the defensive midfield berth amongst, Makele, Tiago and Parker. Man Utd don't drop Scholes, they rotate Keane, Djemba-Djemba and Kleberson. Liverpool don't drop Gerrard, they swap Hammann, Diao and Biscan. Why does this happen? Because creative, goal-scoring midfielders are much harder to find than aggressive, battling types.

Lewis appears the most obvious candidate, primarily due to his similarity to Ashbee. However, we have conceded far too many goals on our travels and have often lost the battle in the middle of the park. As such Taylor believes Ashbee and Lewis together can out muscle any opposing midfield, providing the platform from which the team can secure a result.

Price only comes into the equation if Taylor decides he doesn't want to lose Green or Lewis and employees Green on the right of midfield at Price's expense.

Personally I would bring Ashbee in for Lewis. Don't get me wrong, I think Lewis does an awful lot of the essential spadework required in any team and deserves more credit than he gets. But perhaps it's time to throw off the shackles of the 'solid approach' and instead have a go at the opposition from the off. Let Wrexham try to contain Green rather than compete with Lewis - a subtle change in approach, but one that clearly states our intentions. If we aren't managing to impose ourselves on the game, fine, make a change, but let's have a go.