It may be overly dramatic to describe ourselves as needing a win, but another defeat in this upcoming game against Walsall would cast an even starker light on our recent form. With 10 days since the drubbing at Fleetwood Town where it looked like we would never score again, Mark Robins has to have used this interstitial period to rebuild confidence, re-think his tactics and re-establish a sense of purpose to what this team is trying to do.
While there are only so many changes that Mark Robins can make, this feels like it will be an occasion where the manager will look to change things up from the formula that brought us four successive league wins back in October. There are two big issues to resolve, the first is how do we create and take more chances, the second is whether to re-jig a midfield that is looking increasingly haphazard with Michael Doyle directing things at the base.
All eyes will be on whether Mark Robins continues to back Conor Chaplin to play himself into goalscoring form, or decides to hand him a rest in the hope that his confidence can be rebuilt with a spell out of the side. Although Jordy Hiwula and Amadou Bakayoko are both potential strike partners for Jonson Clarke-Harris, it seems likely that any move to take Chaplin out of the side will result in tweaking tactics to bring an extra midfielder into the side – likely to be either Tony Andreu or Jordan Shipley.
While an extra man in midfield should put less pressure on Michael Doyle to dictate things from deep in midfield, it also takes a forward out of a side that struggles to score goals. This has the potential to make us even more plodding than we were in the second-half against Fleetwood, we have to hope that any tactical tweaks are thought through and have been worked on extensively in training.
Elsewhere, the likely returns of Tom Davies and Dujon Sterling to the defence not only should improve our solidity at the back but, in differing ways, will supplement our attacking threat, putting less pressure on our attack and midfield to put the opposition to the sword.