Dermot Drummy says he is still undecided on his number one ahead of Saturday’s League One opener against Wycombe Wanderers.
The head coach’s decisions will go down to the wire as Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Aldershot Town gave him more decisions to make for all XI places.
The battle for the goalkeeper’s jersey will role on this week between Yusuf Mersin and Mitch Beeney and, while James Collins looks to have got the nod up front on pre-season selections, could a fit-again Matt Harrold force his way into the side?
The injured and ill Jason Banton and Jordan Roberts will be back available and look certainties for starting berths - but the inclusion of Josh Yorwerth in holding midfield and Bobson Bawling, who has notched plenty in pre-season, against Aldershot Town on Saturday, offer other options.
Drummy will keep an open mind in their final training sessions ahead of this week’s game against Wycombe especially regarding Beeney and Mersin - the latter having played the full 90 minutes against the Shots.
He said: “I both want them to be hungry and I haven’t decided. I will see in the week who performs in training and who really wants it.
“I think I lost a loanee player because I said I couldn’t guarantee him a (starting) place and it would be disrespectful to the players if I come and say someone is playing because they have come in on loan.
“I don’t know if he took that literally, but I just said everyone will get an opportunity and they have to take that opportunity.
“It’s open for both of them (the goalkeepers). You have to keep your place, as much as a centre-half has to keep their place, a midfielder has to keep their place.
“As a coach there are certain players you know you can trust to perform and there are other players you have to see if they can prove it to you.
“It’s open for some players and other players in my mind, I think they will start, but I won’t say that until the Wycombe game.”
The Reds’ head coach also admitted that while they missed the attacking threat of Banton and Roberts, it gave him chance to look at a different set-up last weekend.
That could be key in tighter games and offer a shape in tough away matches.
Drummy said: “I think we missed them in that Billy (Clifford) got in the pocket and if you get the three midfielders behind the midfield line then James Collins has to drop and then you have no-one up front. “That’s why I always like a rotating midfield and someone in behind that line, normally Billy or Jason Banton, who are the players that can go forward on the first touch.
“It meant James was overworking and coming in. That’s a little tweak that sometimes we may have to take that shape up when we are away and I need a draw.
“That’s why I wanted to look at that, because we may have to go like that sometimes. As much as I want to play, sometimes you have to turn that around and take the pressure off to get that result as it’s result-based business.”
At the Crawley Observer, we think the starting XI will be, Mersin, Young, Connolly, McNerney, Blackman, Smith, Payne, Boldewijn, Banton, Roberts, Collins. Agree, disagree? What are your thoughts? Let us know online on our Facebook page, via Twitter or website.
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