On Saturday Kevin Nicholls returns from his 5 game suspension. For Mick, Nico is a shoe-in for the holding role in front of the back four. This means (conventionally) of course that Keet’ will lose his place to Nico. But of course Mick being Mick, I am sure he will find a way of accommodating Keet’ somehow, even if it means changing formation or playing everyone else out of position. Mick’s nice like that.
Keet’ has been with the club now longer than anyone I think, certainly continuously. I must admit I wasn’t a fan of his when we were in the championship and he was Kevin Foley’s flat-footed deputy. I used to regularly say how he was a fish out of water on the Outlaws message board. He was the weak link in that team at the time, or so I thought until that super goal against West Brom. Since then my attitude to him has softened, as we have slid down the leagues and his loyalty and determination are unquestionable. I even campaigned for him to be skipper before Nico came back to the club, and for once management saw sense.
One thing you do get from Keane is 100% every time. Whilst occasionally he has a bad game with his passing, or gets turned once in a while, no one can question his committment to the cause, and at the level we are now playing at his abilities should stand out a mile.
Last season when we were playing 4-3-3 for a while him and Nico formed an excellent partnership in the heart of the midfield and both played out of their skins at Wembley in April. Keane actually played the through ball which set up Gnapka/Gnakpa/Claude for the winner.
Of course Keano has played most of his career out of position. I’ve already mentioned that he was Kevin Foley’s understudy for years at right back, and poor old Keet’ kept insisting that he was a midfielder really. I think he has played in most positions in the back four, central midfield and on the right. But it is the leg-biting holding role which I think he is best at and which Mick gave him the opportunity of playing in last year.
So it will be interesting to see what happens on Saturday when Mick is picking the team using his random player selector.
If fit, I suspect Newton will return on the right. Murray should be left back, but I suspect Mick will stick with Blackett.
So I think the team, injuries permitting will be: Tyler, Reynolds, White, Pilks, Blackett, Hall, Nico, Newton, Burgess and Craddock and Gallen up front.
It should of course be a hatful on Saturday. Chester are in the direst of dire straits, and have shipped 4 in both of their games so far. But then again we should have had a hatful against Gateshead and Forest Green Rovers. I suspect a draw.
Of course Mick trotted out the line “there are no easy games at this level” which was Sven Goran Eriksson’s excuse when we used to draw at home to unpronouncable sides from Eastern Europe 100 ranking positions below us. Fabio Capello put paid to that myth of course by demonstrating in a straightforward way that in fact, yes there are easy games at this level which we should win easily. I fully expect to hear the words “It was their cup final” on Saturday at 5:45 and also “when you are in trouble often it makes the team work harder and pull together and Chester demonstrated that today”. Not that it happened for us last year of course when faced with a huge points penalty.
I must sound unrelentingly anti-Mick in these two posts – the guy is a legend at our club and will always be. Let him have control of everything on the playing side apart from team selection and tactics…
Must go – I’m supposed to be working…