I’m sure I’m not alone in hoping that this game was going to be a nail-biter; the game that ultimately decided if we were going to be promoted, if we weren’t already.
But it’s proved not to be and it’s all a bit of an anti-climax really, isn’t it?
There’s been much talk about who might be coming into the team, to get a few minutes to try and stake a claim in the play-offs, but given that tomorrow’s result affects precisely nothing, for me it’s all about playing safe and reducing the possibility of injuries.
So who do I think should or more importantly, shouldn’t play?
Well, the result doesn’t matter a jot to me, so Steve Bruce has some rein to swap things up.
Let’s clarify the new weakened teams ruling;
“For any league match played on or after the fourth Thursday in March, any team sheet for a league game should include at least 10 outfield players who featured on the team sheet for the league match before.”
So given that a team sheet is 18 players, we could rest 9, including Johnstone.
Will that happen?
Not a chance under Steve Bruce, in my opinion.
Although Colin Calderwood has said that the priority will be protecting players, there will be too many itching to play this game.
There’s no way Johnstone needs a rest, for example.
Grabban will surely want a chance for the Golden boot.
Terry just wants to play and Chester is going for an ever-present (a superb achievement these days).
I just don’t see anyone wanting a rest.
Which is great really, especially compared to a couple of seasons back, where it seemed players were happier hiding.
Hutton should be rested, simple.
I know Taylor is injured, but Hutton will be instrumental against Boro, especially if Traore plays. In what’s likely to be a physical game against Millwall, I don’t think I’d risk him.
Grealish is definitely rested. We need to keep him fit and there’s absolutely no point in risking him in a nothing game.
I’d rest Snodgrass too, as although he’s still doing well for us, he’s struck me as looking a touch jaded lately.
Then it’s a question of Adomah and Kodjia.
Kodjia plays, as he still needs to get fully up to speed, whereas I think we could afford to rest Adomah.
It’s in midfield where we have most options and there’s no reason Lansbury can’t start alongside Hourihane.
Of course, I’ve ripped a large part out of the team there.
We have no proper LB replacement, no creativity in the middle and are weakened in right-wing attack with what I’m suggesting.
And it’s not very often that I’d suggest we play a severely weakened team, but I think we’d be justified on this occasion.
It’s not like when Huddersfield gave Birmingham a free survival pass last season, after all.
And then we have to ask who would be available from the U-23’s after a tough game on Friday (well done lads, silverware is silverware, simple), although that might be a moot point.
Young lads coming off the back of a cup win? Who wouldn’t want to play?
It’s all up to the management and how they see things, I suppose, but whereas Bruce normally likes to go with his favourite eleven or so, so I just don’t see it happening for this game.
Which makes the game hard to predict.
We have a poor record at Millwall and I think it’ll be a draw at best.
As for Steve Bruce, Jesus, I’m so sorry mate.
To lose one of your parents is bad enough.
But to lose both in a couple of months must be awful.