As off-field matters start to come to a head, our slim chances of making the play-offs this season feel somewhat irrelevant in the grander scheme of themes. Last Sunday demonstrated that we are capable of taking points off the best teams at this level away from home, which will be a large part of our task between now and the end of the season. We are now on a four-game unbeaten run, with Mark Robins starting to justify the personnel and stylistic changes made since the turn of the year.
It’s hard to see Mark Robins making any changes for this upcoming trip to Accrington Stanley. The biggest decision is likely to hinge on whether Amadou Bakayoko is fit after coming off around the half-hour mark against Luton, although the player himself has reported that the injury isn’t serious.
While Jordan Shipley made a scoring contribution from the bench in Bakayoko’s stead last Sunday, we did lack that target-man who could bring others into play for much of the second-half against Luton. Whether Bakayoko can be that kind of figurehead in tough games such as this one remains to be seen, but it would seem to give us more attacking thrust to have Bakayoko and Hiwula in that attacking unit rather than Hiwula leading the line with Shipley on the left.
Although there continues to be talk about bringing in David Meyler to the side ahead of Tom Bayliss, the difficult and intense nature of this game against Accrington Stanley makes a compelling argument for Bright Enobakhare to drop out of the side in favour of Meyler’s physical presence. While Bright is capable of great individual moments, he does have a habit of wasting possession or dwelling on the ball in dangerous areas which Accrington could exploit. Given Meyler’s apparent lack of fitness, it’s unlikely to happen, but Bright’s performance could have a big impact on this game either for or against our favour.
Last Time We Met
We were on a significant high as we last took on Accrington Stanley, at the tail-end of that incredible five-game winning run we put together back in October. However, a stilted performance from ourselves – partially the result of Tom Bayliss and Dujon Sterling being unavailable – saw Accrington eventually take advantage early in the second-half. The spirit that had been built over that winning run was in full evidence in the closing stages of the game, with the unlikely source that was Michael Doyle scoring the equalising goal to earn a hard-fought point.