As the start date for the 2020/21 season draws closer we take a look at some of the options for the starting eleven available to Mark Bonner.
The UTAS team have presented two possible starting lineups below – we’d love to hear your thoughts on @abbeystandpod on Twitter.
Our first eleven sees United line up in a traditional 4-4-2. There’s not much between Mitov and Burton in goal, both put in good performances last season, but both made the odd howler too. We’re going with Burton here as Bonner bought him into the team towards the end of the campaign, but really it could go either way.
Without a recognised left-back in the squad we’ve gone with Harrison Dunk. It’s not his best position, but as we’re short there it’s one he can perform adequately enough in. It goes without saying that a new LB must be top of the clubs recruitment priorities for the summer.
Centre-back is another position where we’re short. Taylor has been a fine servant to the club, although has been found wanting on occasion recently, whilst Harry Darling made the position his own coming in for George Taft at the end of last season. Hopefully a new centre-back comes in over the next few weeks to allow for some rotation there.
Kyle Knoyle gets the nod at right-back, one of the best players in the league at Swindon a couple of seasons ago, injury stunted his ability to get regular games at RB last season, with Leon Davies performing as deputy when required.
With four across the middle we’ve gone with Hannant on the left, where he put in a number of good performances last season, and Davies on the right, an unfamiliar position to him initially but one that Bonner moved him forward into as the season drew to an end. Davies is a great crosser of the ball, but can often be caught out of position when given purely defensive duties, so this new role should suit him nicely.
In the middle there’s not much between Digby and O’Neil, but we’ve plumped for the new man due to his height and the fact that he’s not Liam O’Neil. He should cover the defensive midfield role, allowing Wes Hoolahan to get forward. Time will tell how much he can play, and whether or not we allow him the freedom to play as a number 10 or false nine, but providing he’s fit his pedigree makes him a no-brainer to start.
Up front we’ve gone with Knibbs, who looks a really exciting prospect based on what we saw last season, and Mullin who should have goals in him too. Ironside and Dallas wait on the bench, but unless one of them hits a rich vein of form we expect to see a bit of rotation amongst the four striking options.
Our second possible eleven sees a more unorthodox 3-4-3 formation. Again you can pick between Mitov and Burton between the sticks, but in front of them we’ve gone with Taylor, Darling and Knoyle, allowing Dunk to take up his favoured left-wing position.
With Dunk on the left and Davies on the right we’ve kept things defensive in the centre of the park, O’Neil and Digby in those positions, which should allow the wider players to get forward.
Hoolahan has a bit more freedom to roam in this lineup, complementing our favoured front two of Knibbs and Mullin up front, but again Ironside or Dallas could easily get a look in.
What do you think? Agree with this or want to see Bonner try something else? Are Mullin and Knibbs your front two of choice of do you think Ironside or Dallas should start over them? Let us know on Twitter @abbeystandpod