Paul Heckingbottom’s future is looking far from certain at the moment. Even looking at the poll on this site, it`s clear patience among fans is very short for the current boss.
One of the most frustrating things has been the lack of ideas coming from the top. We feel lifeless and lacking in spirit, and something has to change soon if Hecky wants to convince us that he should be given the summer to transform the squad. So what can he do in the short term? Here are four ideas.
1. Change Formation
We`ve been stuck with the 4-2-3-1 for too long. The manager has tried out different systems in his first two games in charge but since then, it has been the same formation that has failed to get the most of this squad of players all season.
4-4-2 maybe the way to go, or at least a variation of it so Samu can play as near to the opposition goal as possible, whilst keeping close contact with the main striker so they don`t become so isolated.
2. Rotate the Starting XI
The performance of Tom Pearce against Wednesday, and the introduction of Peacock-Farrell to the first team have been rare selection successes by the gaffer. He really has little else to lose so he should be looking to make such changes elsewhere as well.
Players like Eunan O`Kane and Stuart Dallas are just not doing the business. Failing to create and make the difference where they are needed. Use the squad. Try Anita in midfield (his favoured position) alongside Forshaw. Move Pablo out to the left or right and perhaps add Grot in alongside either Lasogga or Ekuban.
3. Take More Risks in the Final Third
Going hand in hand with the change in formation, as we are struggling so much in the final third, throwing more bodies forward is a must. It doesn`t mean going gung-ho, but at least give the main striker(s) team mates to play off. The lack of any ideas up top in recent matches is worrying, and we need some bravery from the players, and some freedom from the manager to go out and play.
4. Man Manage and Build Confidence
The lack of confidence has spread throughout the team, and when you in such dire straits, the man in charge has to make the difference. Making the above changes is part of it, but the manager has to instil belief in his players that they are on the right track. It feels very much at the moment that there is no plan or direction of travel. This has to change.