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The Guest Blog - Season 2, Episode 6

Our regular blogger, Adam Guest, explains why he believes the signing of Mathieu Manset raises more questions than it answers.

I`d barely pressed submit on my match report on Tuesday night when news broke that we`d secured the signing of Mathieu Manset. The cynic in me believes the original plan was to announce it on Wednesday morning, but the shambolic performance against Palace rushed forward the release to try and make everyone forget about the game as quickly as possible. I didn`t see Manset play in pre-season when he was excellent by all accounts; but it does leave me wondering where he`ll fit in.

"He will fit into the way we play here", so said Deano when quoted on Tuesday night. This is a slightly worrying statement in itself as it suggests we`re not going to change a style of play which so far this season, and really since the turn of the year, has failed spectacularly in almost every way.

"I see him as a number nine", is another snippet from Smith`s quotes. Which then begs the obvious question, what happens to our current number 9? Tom Bradshaw has been one of the major positives of this season so far and the only one of our front four who`s even looked like a footballer so far this campaign. He`s our top, and so far only, league goalscorer and as he continues to grow into the role could go on to become a very good player for us. So dropping him would not only be harsh, it would be quite frankly ridiculous.

Pushing him out wide would also negate his strengths, so let`s assume that`s not going to happen either. So what about 4-4-2 then? Well that would seem tricky for us to implement given we don`t have a single out and out winger in the squad. 4-3-3 then? It would allow us to play our three strikers as strikers, with Bradshaw, Manset and Grimes (Cook when fit) playing up top, with a potential midfield 3 of Adam Chambers, Sam Mantom and Billy Clifford. But by it`s very nature 4-3-3 becomes 4-5-1 when you don`t have the ball, meaning two of those strikers are again pushed out into wide positions. It also raises serious concerns over the collection of number 10`s we`ve acquired over the last 18 months (Sawyers, Baxendale, Forde, Morris).

I suppose the one major positive about all this is that it does give us options, but every option seems to continue our philosophy of squeezing square pegs into round holes. Maybe there`s another signing on the way?

"That`s it in terms of summer dealings" so said Deano today. Oh well, maybe not then. It does suggest not only is he happy with the midfield and attack and has contrived an effective and penetrative way to implement it, but he also believes that two left backs, two central defenders and four right backs (count them: Ben Purkiss, James Chambers, James O`Connor and Liam Kinsella) is an acceptable make up for our defence. I appreciate three of them CAN play centre back, but being able to play centre back and actually BEING a centre back are two completely different things. Personally, I think we`re still one central defender short.

So on paper at least our squad looks disjointed and lop-sided. But Deano has been in the job long enough to have earned, and deserve, our trust despite this being a blog quite deliberately filled with cynicisms. On that note I`ll finish with a prediction for Scunthorpe away on Saturday: We`ll play exactly the team, in exactly the same shape, with Manset having to make do with a place on the bench. And we won`t score.

The Journalist

Writer: @adamguestwfc Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday August 28 2014

Time: 9:54PM

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