Meet the squad - defence
Updated Tuesday, 29th June 2010
Craig Brown and the team have returned to pre-season training and the first match in the Europa League is only a couple of weeks away. We take a look through our squad, starting with the defence and goalkeeper.
The defence in front of our number one, whoever he may be, is at least fairly settled. Stevie Hammell might never have fulfilled the potential he had as a 17-year-old but he is a more than competent left back for the SPL. Craigan has his flaws and his mistakes are usually howlers but his vast experience was crucial in helping settle the defence last season and he will be a key member of the back four once more. It seemed taken for granted Mark Reynolds would move on meaning Hutchison or Saunders would step up but so far it hasn’t happened. However, given the financial situation, it is easy to imagine John Boyle driving Reynolds to the station himself – or at least ordering his driver to take him – to ensure we do not lose out on a fee next summer.
Hutchison looked excellent in the summer of 2009 but injury problems hampered his progress. Saunders seems a little rougher around the edges, not aided by being shuffled around the back four, but we should have faith in both. Hateley signing on again gives us good cover at right back if he is not playing in midfield while young Cypriot Angelis Charalambous seems more likely to be one for the future.
Financial hardship means that it is impossible to have true cover for every position but instead we will have five or six players capable of playing almost anywhere in the back line. Craigan and Hutchison are two who cannot be moved from the centre – one would imagine – but should Reynolds end up staying, it is no more than 50-50 that we would buy another defender. A specialist right back is high up on our list of priorities but it is only third behind a goalkeeper and a striker to replace Jutkiewicz. Craig Brown may well decide that Saunders and Hateley can do the job between them and despite their faults, they probably did well enough here last term to earn our backing.
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