Opinion: Lambert will be pondering a potential formation change ahead of Sunderland trip
Town head to Sunderland on Saturday with a potential dilemma in the wide areas. As of typing, the extent to Luke Garbutt’s injury is currently unknown, but at best he is a doubt for the clash at The Stadium of Light. On the right, Gwion Edwards has been deputising for the injured Kane Vincent-Young, but the former Posh man picked up his tenth booking of the season on Saturday and will now be forced to sit out Town’s next two games.
On Saturday, Myles Kenlock came on for the injured Garbutt and in truth never looked assured at left-wing back. The 23-year-old, started the first seven league games for Town, but was very rarely asked to play the wing-back role. In the 3-5-2 formation so much is asked from the wing-backs, providing the width and to have the ability to continue up and down the flank for 90 minutes, can Kenlock do that? I don’t think so.
So, with Edwards and potentially Garbutt missing for the clash at Sunderland, could Lambert be poised to change his formation?
Looking at maintaining the 3-5-2 system, Lambert could stick with the same back three and deploy Kenlock and Donacien as wing-backs. The worry would be that the 3 will very quickly become a 5 and Town will be pegged back in their own half.
Could Josh Earl come in at left wing-back? The on-loan Preston man has not played a single minute since arriving at Portman Road a few weeks ago. The ball-playing defender will certainly be more comfortable on the ball than Kenlock but with Earl missing the last two games with a facial injury, it could be seen as a huge gamble to chuck him straight in at Sunderland.
Just on Earl, one thing I am confident of is that he will soon be making his Town debut. Once fit and particularly with the amount of home games coming up where Town will want to dictate the game, Earl could play a big part in that. The 21-year old, will probably occupy the left hand side role of the three-man defence, with Woolfenden moving over to the right and Chambers taking up the central role.
Going back to Saturday, Lambert could be tempted to go with a more tradition back four. Kenlock starting at left-back, with Woolfenden and Chambers as centre-halves and Donacien at right-back. This would give our full-backs a bit more protection and allow them to just concentrate on their defensive duties. Another spanner in the works could see Woolfenden start at right-back (of the four), with Chambers being partnered by Wilson.
Either way, whether it is a four, three or even five-man defence, they have to be starting in front of Tomas Holy in goal!