Nothing to Braga about
The result was secondary or thirdary, if that is actually a word, today. The team, it's formation and what Pards said afterwards will give us many more clues than a pre-season defeat to Sporting Braga
Weaver will obviously be the owner of the goalie's gloves and young Frenchman Yassin Moutaouakil, who has been getting rave reviews and whom my son has installed as his new favourite player will start at fullback alongside Thatcher. However the middle two will take some twists and turns this week. McCarthy seems sure to start, but with Pards suggesting that Fortune will stay and fight for his place and Diawara's move to Bordeaux still up in the air, "He's having some difficult decisions to make and we'll see how that progresses but at the moment he's certainly not going anywhere."
So Paddy's partner on Saturday is anyone's guess with Bougherra getting the nod today and having a good game by all accounts.
The influx of young Premiership loan stars winding their way down Harvey Gardens has not happened although a 18-year old Chelsea centre-half called Harry Worley got 20 odd minutes today. Chelsea beat off a number of other big clubs to tempt him from Stockport County
two years ago so we will see where that ends up.
The midfield is still a concern, although Pards is playing patience at getting another one in, this despite Holland's shock cartilage operation. As a side-note wouldn't it be nice if the club were a bit more upfront on the injuries?
Holland picked up an injury from who knows where? Luke Varney we assume will miss the opening games of the season. What is wrong with Sankofa and is Cory Gibbs a figment of our imagination?
Back to the midfield. I presume that Pardew is still insistent on signing Mullins but will play a waiting game. Thomas was nowhere to be seen today but Pardew stopped tongues wagging by announcing that he was committed to the club for the season. He will surely start Saturday, and the question is does Ambrose or Reid fill the central spot alongside Semedo, who has made the holding role his own in pre-season. Then will one of Ambrose or Reid play wide or as neither of them are natural wingers does Pards put in Sam or Christensen for much needed width to serve the big strikers.
Pardew made Reidy captain today, which although not confirmed kind of gave us a clue to what the manager is thinking, although without an obvious first-team leader and given Reid's injury problems, this could change. Mullins would be Pards number one choice for captain if he gets his man I am sure.
Up front Todorov has struggled with fitness and Bent has seemingly once again struggled for zeal. Dickson has looked the most notable but I don't expect that the raw youngster will start against Scunny. That leaves a new signing and personally I would prefer an up and coming Championship or League One player than a 35-year old Premiership one. Call it the Jimmy Floyd factor if you like.
Seven days and counting....