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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fizzy No. 12 - Plymouth (h)

Another tough game, Plymouth at home, managed by Ian Holloway, the man with the strange and bizarre comments in post-match interviews apparently - lets hope he has some ready to expect his teams unexpected defeat tonight - now in his second year in charge after 5 years at QPR.
After their 1-0 home win over Coventry at the weekend and with only one defeat in their last 8 fizzy games, they have now moved into the top six and more important to us have an away record of 2 wins, a draw and only 2 defeats. Looking at these away games, they drew 0-0 at Blackpool last time out, lost 2-3 at Stoke and beat QPR 2-0. They have also lost to Barnsley 2-3, and beat Hull 3-2 on the opening day. So a respectable 9 goals away from home, only Cardiff have more with 10.
As well as scoring frequently, they've also sorted out the other end and haven't conceded in their last three games and now its 319 minutes since they last let a goal in. Last season saw them finish 12th and bearing in mind that Mr Holloway has promised them Premiership football, although he didn't say when, they are now are in 6th place just 2 points behind us and a win tomorrow would take them above us....
So Who We Got to Worry About?
Well, they're a bit of a rum mix and appear to be a random selection picked up off the boats down there in the harbour. In the mix there's no less than 5 frogs, 3 Hungarians, a Dutchman, a New Zealander, a Jamaican for a bit of spice and a dour Swede to add to the usual English and Scots.
Top scorer in the pot in the fizzies is the apply styled Englishman and ex-Manure player Sylvan Ebanks-Blake with 4 League goals and he'll be up front alongside the Lambert-born Jamaican spice, ex-Fulham and Sheff Utd Barry Hayles. Their midfield ace, and firm favorite with the fans, is apparently the Hungarian signed from Oporto, Number 8 Akos Buzsak and just when you have full-back problems the beeb helps-out by telling us that "on-loan 20 year old Manchester United winger Lee Martin and Peter Halmosi on the other flank were both impressive performers".
And Lee Martin, previously bought by manure for 1M from Wimbledon when only 16, - "likes to run with it and take people on it" according to Holloway - scored on his debut against Coventry to earn the three points. So Mills it is then.....and he may get a few hints from Jon Fortune who played with Martin at Stoke last season. And as a bonus, left-winger Halmosi another Hungarian, was reported as being "outstanding" on Saturday....
Pardews Pick
Pardew is going to have to earn his wage tonight and apart from rousing the team after a defeat he's going to have to rearrange his team.
The settled team idea is right out the window with diagonal problems at left-back and right-wing. Sir Chris appears to be out for 2 to 3 weeks and despite the call for Grant Basey to get a game this is no time to try out an untried youngster. Moving across to cover will be Danny Mills as he did on Saturday and the almost forgotten Yassin Moutaouakil will return at right-back.
Perhaps more important because goals will be needed to get the required three points is the right-wing problem. Coming on a storm since the start of the season, we have to face another game without the suspended Lloyd Sam. Darren Ambrose limped off during the second half against Wolves, which with his recent bad form is perhaps fortuitous, and there's really no other option except starting with Jerry Thomas. Along with Basey another youngster still currently untried is the 19 year old Martin Christensen.
Also in some doubt is Bougherra who was sick before the game on Saturday and may not be available tonight. Sam Sodje stands by. The midfield triangle should remain unchanged and we can only hope that Reidie is encouraged by the sight of green shorts in front of him to help him lift his game.
As for the strikers, Pards will be content to leave them as they are with Todorov champing at the bit on the bench.
So the team will probably be: Weaver, Moutaouakil, Sodje or Bougherra, Fortune, Mills; Thomas, ZiZi, Semedo, Reid; Iwelumo and Varney.

Prediction 2-2
The only cautious voice around seems to be Wyn Grant with everyone else including Killer going for a win. With a changed team and our skipper playing his fourth game in 10 days I can't help being as pessimistic as ever - its a 2-2 draw for me.

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