Mark McGhee planning to give striker Eaves more support in Bristol Rovers attack
Bristol Rovers boss Mark McGhee will ditch the controversial system that was unable to halt his side's losing streak at the hands of Southend United on Tuesday night
The manager set up in an unorthodox 4-2-3-1 system in an effort to end a run of three successive defeats, but was criticised for his tinkering after watching his team lose 3-2 to Paul Sturrock's men at the Memorial Stadium.
Rovers bid to end their dismal run of form when Chesterfield arrive at the Memorial Stadium tomorrow – and McGhee is expected to revert to the 4-4-2 system he deployed when his side lost just once in seven outings this season.
"It (4-2-3-1) is a system that can work because it is designed to be positive and attacking," said McGhee. "It just didn't quite work for us the other night. We had done a lot of work on the training ground to try to fine-tune it. I could hear the system being ridiculed around me on Tuesday night, but I can assure you, I am not someone who wants to over-complicate things.
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"If I have the right players, I'm more than happy to play 4-4-2, but you need in particular a central midfielder who can hold his position and offer a bit of a physical presence in there. That something we don't have at the moment, so it does make it a bit difficult."
Although a loan signing is unlikely to arrive to fill that role before tomorrow's game, McGhee is expected to revert to a 4-4-2 in order to offer striker Tom Eaves a partner up front, after the on-loan Bolton man was asked to plough a lone furrow in the last two games.
McGhee insisted after the game on Tuesday that the system fell down because Eaves was unable to hold the ball up to good enough effect – but accepted responsibility for asking the striker to play a role that is not suited to him.
"I've spoken to Tom since Tuesday night and have accepted responsibility for my part in what went on," said the manager. "I think I have to get away from the idea that when I look at Tom Eaves I see a big strong target-man. Tom is a goalscorer; someone who plays best off of another centre forward and maybe I forgot that.
"I have to start using him to his strengths. I have to be fair to him by getting someone else up front alongside so he can get into areas where he will score goals for us."