Date: 16th March 2009 at 1:21pm
Written by:

Are we ever going to see Pele or Gekas?
Why has Basinas been dropped from the squad?
What’s happened to Traore, Mvuemba and Wilson, who cannot get a look-in now?
Oh, how we miss Big Papa now!

Just some of the questions, and views being asked and shared…

But why – despite our obvious need to fight – and have those that will in the side, are some, if not all of these not being given more of a chance? Or even a chance at all! Even if this is only from the bench…

When Pele, the Portuguese midfielder we have that has just been called into the national ‘B’ side, came in on loan in January we were told by then manager Tony Adams that we would not be seeing him this season? At the time these thoughts seemed bizarre given we had only signed him on loan until the summer and had also said we would only sign players that ‘could come in and make an immediate impact’, yet plenty thought these were just ‘shielding him from expectation’…

Yet, several months down the line and we still wait to see the former Inter man pull on the Pompey blue at all, well other than a reserve outing, so the thought that we might never actually see him do this is realistically becoming something that seems more and more likely – so this means we would have wasted money on another loan that we have not taken advantage of, something we have done all to often…

It does seem as though Paul Hart does not fancy Theo Gekas or Angelos Basinas, let alone Pele, as the Greek pair have both slipped out of his thinking even for a 7-man bench, with the striker failing to even set foot on the pitch!

I know we are battling for our lives and needs must and all that but too many of our players are ‘samey’, by this I of course mean ‘they do they same job’, but do not really offer us enough of an outlet going forward. Sean Davis, Hayden Mullins and Richard Hughes basically do the same role and do not really offer us any creative outlet – I know we can argue that Niko Kranjcar does this from his free role, but he cannot do this alone can he! I know that Basinas is basically a similar type of player to those 3, but to be fair he is an international standard player and one that has the eye for a pass, can spread and switch the play too and you have a real belief, well I did, that he could do something going forward – so is surely worth a place on the bench at least? We have not seen Pele so do not know what he can do, but surely he offers something much different, and best of all also offers us some pace, trickery and what would appear a real goal threat, so again is he not worth a place on the bench?

When I look at the bench we had on Saturday there was not really anything there you felt ‘could change a game’ – the most ‘likely’ to have featured would only offer something in the offensive sense, and then that leaves you overloaded with players doing a defensive job that can then leave people far too compact and not quite knowing who is picking up who, which for me which is what led to the goal on Saturday. The defence had been dealing with this, but the more we dropped off and the more we invited the pressure, the more compact and basically dysfunctional we became, so the worse it got.

We know what the players can do that we have, I know Gekas and Pele are unknown qualities to us and are unknown, untried and untested in the premier league – but it is also opposing teams who will regard them as ‘the unknown’, as they will be as much of a surprise to them as they are us! That said we train with them so we get some idea of them – if they simply are not good enough come out and say they are not good enough, we cannot keep reeling off the ‘everyone will play a part’ line…

These fellas might not need to start but with 7 places available on the bench surely at least one of these should be able to force their way onto it?

For that matter, and I know he has been up and down, where is Armand Traore? Surely another that is at least worth a place on the bench? We also have Arnold Mvuemba who is crying out for some football (click here), but cannot get a look in not to mention young Marc Wilson who would appear to have the ability to put some dangerous crosses into the box and spread the play nicely – the problem with him is I do not exactly know his best position! Maybe sitting in front of the back 4 would be ideal for him… A guy that we are missing, and I did not think I would see the day I said this, is Papa Bouba Diop! The big man would give us a huge presence in the middle of the park and to be fair looked to be coming into some form before injury. Thankfully he is back in training I believe so hopefully he can be back sooner rather than later!

We do have options, and although not blessed with an absolute abundance of them, we have more than enough to churn out 18 on a matchday that could do a job – getting the bench right is as important, arguably more so, than getting that starting 11 right as without options to turn to on the bench that can change the game for you you will never be able to do this… Yep, we need to battle doing our utmost to ensure we do not concede, and of course if you do not concede goals you will not lose games but there is of course the fact that if you do not score goals you cannot win either – and we do need to have this thought in mind too, even if it is only in having options on the bench that we can turn to.

A similar looking line-up and subs bench against Everton this weekend, which is probably likely, may well end in tears as they are a much better side than Boro, and will punish us – but sooner – so without options to call on that could change the game we could be left screwed!


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