Bristol City boss O'Driscoll faces selection dilemma ahead of Middlesbrough clash
Bristol City head coach Sean O’Driscoll admits he faces a dilemma ahead of Saturday’s npower Championship clash against Middlesbrough at Ashton Gate.
When he comes to select his starting line-up, O’Driscoll must decide whether to pick two strikers and return to the 4-4-2 system that delivered victory over Barnsley or retain the personnel and formation that registered a notable 0-0 draw in Tuesday’s home clash against in-form Brighton.
O’Driscoll started with five players in midfield in a bid to nullify the Seagulls, leaving Jon Stead to operate as a lone striker.
But he could just as easily promote Steven Davies or Sam Baldock to the starting eleven to face a Middlesbrough side that has won only two of its last 11 games.
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O’Driscoll argued: “Most successful sides in the country play with one out and out striker.
“If you play with two strikers, you run the risk of being overrun in midfield, which we felt would be the case against Brighton.
“Modern day football being the way it is, you expect every player to do one-and-a-half jobs. To play two out-and-out strikers, you have to be a team that can dominate possession.
“That is difficult to do when you have two up front. To a degree, that is what has happened and we’ve had to be effective with less possession.
“If we go down that line (two strikers), then that happens and you have to fall back on your organisation and make sure you are not too open.”
With his side leading 5-1, O’Driscoll deployed three attacking substitutes in the second half against Barnsley, sending on Albert Adomah, Neil Kilkenny and Brian Howard.
But the team lost its shape and allowed the Reds to poach two late goals in a 5-3 defeat.
O’Driscoll recalled: “In the Barnsley game, we scored five goals, but could have conceded just as many.
“We have to look at it in the cold light of day and decide which is the best way to go. That is the quandary for everybody.
“The players have shown they are flexible and adaptable and, at any level, you will be stronger if you can get that into your locker.”