MFW’s go-to guy for midweek away trips, Gary Field, delivers yet again. Here are five things that struck him after his Tuesday night jaunt to Adams Park…
- Ringing the changes
Nine changes (one of the unusual consequences being an increase in the average age of the starting XI – something of a rarity for League Cup matches, where the opposite tends to be the norm) gave fringe squad members valuable minutes on the pitch, and, more importantly, an ideal opportunity for them to make an impression. Just Christoph Zimmerman and Emi Buendia, the latter still adjusting to life in English football, survived from Saturday’s trip to QPR. Of the fresh starters, only Jordan Rhodes really made a solid claim for an automatic start against Wigan. The likes of Passlack, Godfrey, Pinto, Thompson, Srbeny and Vrancic all looked, understandably, a little rusty during the first half.
- Jordan Rhodes is one of us…
No prizes for guessing the easy choice for the man of the match award. The hat trick within 51 minutes only told part of the story as Jordan worked the front line tirelessly, but also wasn’t afraid to drop deeper to link play with the midfield players. Perhaps the most disappointing aspect was the lack of link-up play with the deeper playing Srbeny – understandable given that this is the first time they’ve had simultaneous game time, but it’s not a pairing I’d expect to see again any time soon. You also have to wonder whether a Pukki / Rhodes combination may be due another run out soon, especially given the rich vein of goalscoring form both seem to be in.
- Seven goals, but hardly a thriller
It’s not often that I leave a game having witnessed seven goals, yet feeling slightly underwhelmed. Perhaps the greatest surprise, given how the game unfolded, was that Wycombe ended up just one goal behind City, but never really looked like winning. Quite how City managed to go from cruising at 4-1 up, after just 51 minutes, to 4-3 only 24 minutes later was slightly baffling. The introduction of Lewis, when the deficit was reduced to one, plus Klose and Stiepermann in the final five, was probably a fairer reflection of how concerned Daniel Farke became in the closing stages.
- “Pitch war”
Captain for the night, the returning Ivo Pinto found himself operating in unfamiliar territory, at left back, for most of the game. Nothing special to report in terms of performance, but Jamal Lewis won’t be concerned about the prospect of losing his place when Championship action returns on Saturday. It would also be unfair to see Max Aarons dropped on the right side of the back four. Ivo is starting to look surplus to requirements. Perhaps a January move would be in the best interests of club and player, given that his contract expires in June?
- Manager of the Month territory?
Considering that September started with a tricky away trip at ‘that lot’, against a backdrop of a less than spectacular start to the season and where a defeat would have almost certainly resulted in serious questioning whether Daniel really was the man for the job, just five games later, with four wins and one draw, that’s some turnaround – almost certainly a serious contender for the Championship Manager of the Month award. That’s most welcome in all Canary quarters – whether it’s sufficient to merit to commence contract renewal talks is a moot point, but it certainly looks as if this season has the foundations to be far more positive than last. Long may it continue.