Just when you think the left back conundrum has been answered the whole thing is blown open again. That for a moment doesn’t matter though, as the first thought is we wish for speedy recovery for Chris Cohen, who for a second time in 2 years faces a lengthy lay off on the sidelines with a knee injury.
I spoke yesterday in the match report that it was unclear what the damage was, within an hour of my publishing that we knew the truth. Another long layoff for an influential player. The captain.
Cohen though has been an integral part this season, and although not the influential role in midfield he usually displays, his willingness and his performances in a less favoured position speaks volumes of a guy putting the team before himself. Egotistical players may have complained or kicked up a fuss about being played in a less sexy role. Cohen just gets on with his job.
The dynamic down the left for me at times this season has been a joy, his lung busting runs to overlap Reid, or Abdoun or Paterson has been a feature of a lot of what we have done well. Now that’s removed from the team dynamic.
So where do we go now. There are options; thankfully, the loan window is still open. So we can seek to quickly get in a replacement. But that’s exactly the problem, quickly. We need someone soon. I am not as naive as to think that modern day Football Managers don’t have plans of action for this, that there isn’t a dossier of potential players that would be targeted for such eventualities. I am sure there is. Whether though we can sort those players out in the few days left to us before the loan window closes isn’t clear. We’d have to wait till January otherwise.
So that would leave Harding. Now I for one think he’s been given a fairly unfair time by fans. He’s not great, but nor is he awful. He is capable. And for now we just need someone in there who can play the role, which he can.
The wider implications are that the stretched defence is even further stretched. Another injury in the next two games would see a very hard Christmas period. There just simply isn’t anyone else with first team experience to play, and what a baptism of fire it would be for a kid like Kieran Fenton for instance. As aid before Chalobah can play in that role, which is another option.
We could recall Moussi from his loan who has been used as an emergency centre half before. This by any stretch isn’t a favoured option, but this situation isn’t an ideal one and sometimes needs must. These next few days are key in that regard, because both Collins and Wilson remain out for an extended period. Its leaves us very stretched.
So is it better to go for a more experienced expensive left back for the loan like we did with Konchesky? Do we go for the inexperienced youngster like with Greg Cunningham? We also need central defence cover to, so someone who can play both? It’s up to Davies and Fawaz to sort out. As I said, I have no doubt they have names in mind, its just time is against us.