Latics start a run of Saturday-Tuesday fixtures with an away trip to Fleetwood Town in the EFL Cup First Round. Latics have begun life back in the Championship with 2 draws and this competition probably isn’t a priority for Leam Richardson’s side at the moment.
It should offer some squad players the chance to get a good amount of first team minutes under their belt, as well as allowing some of the lads that have played consecutive 90s the opportunity to rest up ahead of the fixture pile up ahead of the international break in September.
Scott Brown’s Fleetwood Town have enjoyed a mixed start to the season; losing to newly promoted Port Vale on the opening day before beating last season’s dark horses Plymouth Argyle this weekend. It’s unknown whether or not they’re targeting this competition or focusing on league survival but they’ll definitely fancy themselves for an upset against Latics tonight.
Latics Team News
As I’ve mentioned there will probably be several changes to the Latics side on Tuesday night. Players that haven’t featured much in the league so far will be keen to make their mark against the Cod Army to try and force their way into Leam’s thoughts for the starting 11. He seems pretty set on his current team though so it’ll take something special to change his mind.
Jamie Jones was the hero of our cup competitions last year and I fully expect him to start in goal tonight. My guess is that this’ll be his final season at the club and with the cup competitions his only real chance of game time he’ll be as desperate as anyone to progress far through them. Also, if it goes to penalties he’ll fancy his chances too!
I’d like to see Ryan Nyambe from the start in a bid to improve his match fitness. The 24 year old made his first team debut at Carrow Road but only featured in injury time so you’d imagine he still needs first team minutes under his belt. This is the perfect opportunity for him to get those in a competitive game.
At centre back I’m hoping to see at least 1 of James Carragher and Charlie Hughes from the start. It’s probably unlikely that both start together but I can’t see why we wouldn’t rest at least 1 of our starting CBs given the run of fixtures and the lack of depth in that position. With Joe Garner likely to play up top for Fleetwood whichever youngster does play at the back will have a job on their hands.
Other squad players like Tom Pearce, Scott Smith, Graeme Shinnie and Thelo Aasgaard should all get a start in my opinion. It’ll be interesting to see if Nathan Broadhead is involved after he arrived on loan this morning. He’s another player that needs minutes under his belt but there might be issues around registration ahead of this game.
An Opposition View
To give an insight into where our opponents are at leading into Saturday’s opening fixture I’ve called in the help of someone far more knowledgeable on Fleetwood Town than myself!
1) Scott Brown’s tenure has started with a victory and a defeat. What have you made of your sides opening two games of the season?
“We’ve played nice stuff, and tried to get the ball on the deck and we are trying to have an identity, it may take time but I can see it working, we just have to take the opportunities we get.” [@ftfcknappers]
2) Survival in League 1 will surely be your number 1 goal for this season. Do you expect plenty of changes to your side tomorrow evening?
“I’m not sure. Maybe a few but the club can make good revenue from games like this, and may get a decent tie in the next round too. With that in mind it may be a full strengthened side tonight.” [@ftfcknappers]
3) Are there any players you’re hoping to see feature against Latics? Who should we look out for as a potential thorn in our side?
“Joe Garner, as you know, he’s a threat and scores goals, he’s our best striker and with the ball he causes problems, we need him on the pitch for 70-75 mins a game to get the best out of him.” [@ftfcknappers]
Fleetwood Town have started the season in a 4-3-3 system as Scott Brown tries to transition the side into a more attractive side to watch. They definitely seem more productive in possession this season and have completed the 9th highest number of progressive passes per 90 this season compared to the 19th most last term.
Latics will need to be alert in defensive areas in order to prevent any gaps for Town to exploit. You’d imagine that Latics will have more of the ball tonight simply because we have a higher quality of player but don’t underestimate the quality of players like Paddy Lane, Dan Batty and Josh Vela in possession; they all have the ability to create in the final third.
RB Shaun Rooney will take up some interesting central positions as he did in his debut against Plymouth at the weekend. He’s a powerful runner and an aerial threat so you can expect him to pop up in and around the box should he feature tonight. Whoever plays on his side will need to be wary of the Scot at all times as he’s a really handy player and someone I’m surprised Fleetwood, no disrespect intended, managed to pull sign.
It will be interesting to see if we go with a 5 at the back system and go man for man with their frontline. We did that a few times last season and I wonder if Leam might use this game as an opportunity to drill new patterns of play and formations to use throughout the Championship season. Nyambe could be tried at RCB, Aasgaard as the 10 and Humphrys or Sze as out and out 9s.
It might come across that I’m not too bothered about the outcome of this game. Obviously I’d love to progress in the cup competitions but in my opinion the main priority in this game should be building the match fitness of squad players, developing partnerships and implementing new patterns of play / tactical tweaks.
In a way its a free hit. The Carabao Cup doesn’t bring in much revenue, and I know its early days but if it jeopardises our chances of staying in the Championship there’s no point whatsoever. As I mentioned earlier it’s the perfect opportunity to bring in some fringe players and academy products to see if they’re capable of breaking into the first team.
With all that said though it would be nice to progress and see if we can get a nice away day drawn for us in the next round. Fleetwood will put up a stern test though and it should be an interesting game.