Square Pegs

The term ‘square pegs in round holes’ seems to apply to the current team and formations.
Ned Kelly and Darren Wrack said Dutton has to select 1 formation and stick with it. So what formation should we play to ensure we get the best out of the players we have?

I don’t agree that many players at this level are capable of ‘game management’ and swapping formations 2 or 3 times a game. Dutton needs to assess who we have and what they are capable of and stick with that for a few games.

So is it 4-4-2 or 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 or 4-4-1-1 or 3-4-2-1 (i think we’ve tried all of these in the last 4 games)

  • I don’t think we have a striker who can play alone upfront
  • Osei Yaw isn’t good enough, so that leaves a front 2 of Lavery and Gordon.
  • We have 3 wingers, who on their day can unlock defences. Pick 2 from 3.
  • You can’t play wing backs and wingers, so it’s a back 4 for me.

That leaves midfield.
Pick the best pairing of Bates, Perry, Kinsella, Vincent that provides balance.
For me it’s Bates and Vincent.
Remember to make room for Holden when he’s fit.
He could play either wing, instead of Vincent or even as part of a front 2.

So it’s 4-4-2 for me.

We are only going to get out of this mess with the players we have, and Dutton needs to get them organised and stop changing the formation and the team.

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433 for me.


white/Norman, scarr/Clarke,sadler,Melbourne,
Perry/kinsella Bates. Vincent
Wright Lavery. McDonald

When Holden back I’d change it to 4231 with Holden number10 and Wright and Wes either side

With everyone fit, I’d like to think this is our best option:

4-2-3-1 with 2nd choice/subs in brackets, who only ever come on in those positions.
Rose (Roberts)
Norman Scarr Clarke Melbourne (White Leak Sadler Cockerill)
Bates Vincent (Kinsella Perry)
Wright Holden McDonald (Nolan Osei/Gordon Campbell)
Lavery (Osei/Gordon)

With proper support from the attacking 3 for the striker, it shouldn’t be a lonely role.

Always 4231 .
Norman scarr Clarke max
Bates Vincent
Wright Holden McDonald

Wouldn’t play kinsella in a possession based formation personally
Our weakest link for me in any position is the striker as Gordon is a shadow and lavery is … lavery


Off-the-wall suggestion: Scarr up front loitering in the box. He would make himself a right nuisance up there; not particularly mobile but would keep their CBs occupied; rain crosses in from McDonald and Wright, Scarr would win a fair few; Josh or Lavs alongside him for the knock-downs. If that’s too revolutionary start him at the back but move him up when we go a goal down; nothing to lose then.


I have to say, Kinsella is the most consistent player in the squad. He could learn to lift his head and look for the forward pass more often, but the lads defensive contribution and the way he intercepts the ball is invaluable, without him a lot of the D’s would have been L’s.


White Scarr Clarke Melbourne
Kinsella Vincent
Wright Holden McDonald

I agree with this, with Kinsella in, depending on form, suspensions or to ‘see the game out’.

James Clarke and Holden need to come back from injury firing.

There’s no way that 36 year old Sadler can play (and coach) two games a week.

A bit of a curve ball but Jake Buxton is still ‘only’ 35 and would help out the defence if Clarke is injured.

Burton have bought in virtually a new team under JFH, so Buxton would be a decent ‘non contract’ signing until the end of the season because he would have a decent contacts list of league 2 standard local players…

We could do a lot worse than Liam Boyce (now at Hearts) for starters, in the summer. You never know: he might be homesick for marmite and bitter! :slightly_smiling_face:

I have hardly missed a game this season on ifollow and I have to say I really don’t know what people are seeing that justifys a shirt for Gordon, yet he seems to escape with very little criticism, just don’t get it or him ?


Most people seem to agree his a shadow of his former self. We just have so few options up front he gets the nod. If we had a decent striker he wouldn’t be starting

I think Gordon’s problem is that when Adebayo was in form he was either injured or shoehorned into the side to play wide on the right, perfect example of the square peg in a round hole analogy. He’s very rarely been played up top, which we all know is his best position.

It’s true that he’s bang out of form, but if we were to stick to a formation that played one up top, he’s the only striker in the squad capable of doing it effectively.

I’d like to see us play 4231. Most players can easily adapt to that formation because it doesn’t really require anyone to play in a specialist position, perhaps other than the number 10 role. At this moment, given Holden is still out, I’d go:


Norman Scarr Sadler Melbourne
Bates Kinsella
Wright Vincent McDonald

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Norman Scarr Sadler CCM
Nolan Kinsella Perry McDonald
Gordon Lavery

Not one single loan player.

No surprise with the differing opinions on here.

The big surprise is that the manager shares a number of those opinions within a single match!

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Exactly same as this for me. Don’t get why we haven’t done 4231 more since we had that good spell with it.

There actually seems to be a consensus on 4-2-3-1, with most agreeing that

Scarr, Vincent, Melbourne, Wright, Holden (when fit), McDonald should start, whilst the rest are up for debate.

Roberts or Rose

Norman or White
Clarke or Sadler

Bates or Kinsella


Lavery or Gordon

So that’s it. Dutton should stick with that formation and if someone isn’t fit find someone to fill their role rather than shuffle the whole team around.

So who do we play instead of Holden?
Osei, Osadebe, Nolan, Gordon?

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Spot on.

It’s what we leave out
Leave white out the defence is slow
Leave Kinsella out we miss his work rate
Leave Bates out the others don’t show to the defence to get the ball
Vincent is more creative than the others
Could you play Holden in a midfield two
If he plays as a number ten neither Lavery or Gordon are at there best as lone strikers
If you pick any combination of our current midfield they don’t shield the back four hence the use of Norman as CDM
But leave Norman out miss his long throw and assists
Would a defensive pairing of Scarr and Clark be able to play out from the back Melbourne can play centre half but is he ready for that position
Creativity wise macdonald Holden wright should unlock defences but it means you play 4231 will we score more than we concede
So it’s not so simple as we need to tinker to cover our weaknesses or react to an opponent who is exposing a weakness we have too many 80% players
I would like us to try Vincent in the Holden number ten role until he is match fit
I don’t know the answers but I don’t think any manager would do any better than BD with the mess of a squad we have
More questions than answers

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It would be Bates in there for me.

Given our appalling record with clean sheets this season, we ought to give 10-0-0 a try …

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That’s what Clarke would have done…after all ‘every team we play is better than us’ was his motto.
Had to laugh sarcastically at Acuman’s 7th line ‘Lavery or Gordon are best as lone strikers’…what a paupers version of strikers we have.
Without Scarr making a few headers we are bereft, little wonder we are sinking like the Titanic.