The football is back! That’s if you don’t include one of the best World Cups in living memory or the three friendlies we have played in this pre-season (two of them behind closed doors). It is actually a very strange feeling going back into a season during a World Cup year as it does feel as though the football has never stopped (that might not necessarily be a good thing).
Our first taste of competitive action in the 2018/19 season comes, as is now customary, in the Betfred Cup. I quite like the changed format and I think it does add a bit of an edge to what is still essentially late pre-season for most clubs. Our group is a tricky one but it should hopefully give us an early glimpse into what to expect this year (although any real judgements should still be reserved for league business). Looking at the bigger picture the cups are unfortunately of no real interest to us this season. That might sound harsh but to be honest the league is the only thing we should be focused on. We simply must get promoted this season and, as I will talk about further in a post next week, this is shaping up to be yet another incredibly tough campaign in a very competitive league.
As for the Arbroath fixture I would fully expect tomorrow’s game to essentially play out like another friendly despite its apparent competitive edge. Hopefully Laszlo will set out his side to win the match to give fans something positive to talk about and for many this will their first glimpse of the new signings. Off the park this has been another difficult week for United and it has been a week that has threatened to chip away at the reasonable level of positivity built up over the summer. In general the club have made some sensible and decent decisions since last season ended but the big one, keeping the manager, is still one that many fans are not convinced with. The news earlier in the week regarding Stephen Thompson’s shares has also put pressure back on the board at a time when they maybe thought that things were beginning to look more positive.
The squad is still not the finished article and despite Laszlo claiming that we were making potentially four new signings before the Arbroath game it looks likely that we will have to wait a little longer to add the final pieces of the puzzle (assuming that the puzzle actually works when it is finished). For the game tomorrow it is expected that Laszlo will stick to roughly the same side and shape he has been using during pre-season. We have been trying more of a recognised 442 so, if like me, you are a fan of two strikers this might be the system for you (although we still definitely need another striker on the books).
Current Injuries – Fraser Fyvie, Billy King, Lewis Toshney, Deniz Mehmet
My lineup for tomorrow would be –
GK – Benji Siegrist
RB – Sam Wardrop
CB – Stewart Murdoch
CB – Frederic Frans (C)
LB – Callum Booth
RM – Paul McMullan
CM – Sam Stanton
CM – Christoph Rabitsch
LM – Fraser Aird
ST – Nicky Clark
ST – Craig Curran
Subs – Matej Rakovan (GK), Tam Scobbie, Jamie Robson, Matty Smith, James Keatings, Scott Allardice, Declan Glass.