Whites manager waits for ideal time to unleash defensive trio
DOUGIE Freedman says he is tempted to experiment with three centre-backs but wants to choose the right moment.
With David Wheater and Matt Mills now back from injury, the boss has plenty of options in the middle of defence alongside Zat Knight, Tim Ream and loan man Craig Dawson.
And he believes a switch to using wing backs alongside a central three could also solve his problem of a lack of width further upfield – particularly now Steve de Ridder has returned to Southampton.
Freedman said: “There is a temptation to play three centre-backs and it has been very closely discussed.
“The reason teams play that system is either they have three good ones or they don’t have enough out wide and we are pretty much nailed on for that at present.
"We are short of wingers at the club because I don’t see Chris Eagles or Chungy as wingers.
"And we have five good centre-backs. It has just not been the right game to do it just yet.
“A lot of teams are playing with one striker and with one it is difficult to argue the case for three at the back.
“I would not be surprised if we looked at that very soon, though.”
Freedman has shown on more than one occasion he is not afraid to change tactics, as has been illustrated with the formation deployed in a run of six league games unbeaten.
During matches, too, he is open to making tactical switches and admits that is what cost Chris Eagles his place at Barnsley on Saturday, rather than any blight on his display stepping in for the injured Mark Davies.
The Scot added: “Like most players, I felt Chris did very well in the first half but Barnsley changed their shape after half time and credit to them, because they caught me on the hop a little.
“That meant I had to respond by taking Chris off and it was a tactical change rather than anything to do with how he played.
“I will not shy away from making tactical changes and substitutions to help us.”