Who should replace Curtis Weston suspended for the trip from Chesterfield to Maidenhead United?
The central midfielder received his fifth yellow card of the season against Yeovil Town last Saturday and is therefore banned for one game.
The 34-year-old will be a big dud for Town, but boss James Rowe has built a quality squad with in-depth strength so there are a number of candidates who could get the nod.
The 21-year-old has had to be patient since arriving on loan from Aston Villa in early January. He had to wait until mid-February before he got his chance on the bench in wins over Notts County and Altrincham. He got his first start last week against Eastleigh and has grown in the game, especially in the second half. From what we’ve seen so far, Clarke is a technical left-footed player who has been used in an advanced role as one of the two ‘number 10’s behind Akwasi Asante, so he probably wouldn’t be the one. most obvious candidate to replace for the more defensive Weston. That said, he’s definitely pushing for another start sooner or later.
Until last week, Gunning played in midfield before moving to center-back where he was exceptional. The 30-year-old can do a job in the midfield, but he himself has said the midfielder is his best position, and his last two appearances have shown him with two clean sheets and a man’s performance. of the match against Eastleigh. If Gunning is brought back to midfield, Town may call on Haydn Hollis, who may consider himself unlucky to have been absent from the squad for the last two matches. Overall, it would be a surprise to see Gunning playing away from the core of defense.
Rowley has been injured since the end of January with a hamstring injury, but is back in full training and Rowe said ahead of Yeovil’s win that he could be in contention for Maidenhead. After five weeks away it would be a shock to see Rowley start, but we don’t know what he looks like in training. Like Clarke, Rowley is definitely more offensive, so again, he wouldn’t be an obvious choice to replace Weston. Either way, it will be a big boost to have Rowley, who recently signed a new contract, available again.
On paper, Smith is the most obvious candidate to start on Saturday because of the type of player he is. He’s another who must have been patient since joining the club, but he grew up in the game against Eastleigh and showed what he is. Rowe said Smith is a Football League player and we’ve certainly seen signs of that. Swapping Smith for Weston would mean the rest of the midfielder can stay the same if Rowe wishes, rather than having to juggle things if a Clarke or Rowley comes in for example. Not a headache!