Nine games to go, Bannan heads out on loan, 23 left to get it done

Written by Dan on March 8, 2011

As you’ll be aware, Barry Bannan has joined Leeds on loan for the rest of the season with the option of an extension should they make the play-offs. Who knows, maybe he’ll end up repeating the trip he made to Wembley with Blackpool last year. There’s probably a quiz question in that if he does.

As ever, not everyone is thrilled by this move and it provides another convenient stick to whack the manager over the head with. Personally, I think Bannan’s an excellent young player, but he’s not quite there yet and the extra playing time he could get at Leeds at this stage of the season can’t hurt at all.

Besides that, I also think his best position is where Ashley Young is currently playing and he struggles to give a decent account of himself in a deeper position where he would have to compete with Petrov, Reo-Coker, Makoun, Bradley and Delph for time on the pitch anyway.

It’s what they call a no-brainer.

So, with Bannan now out on the loan list, and Brad Guzan also going back to Hull, I make it 24 23 players left for Houllier to call on in the final games excluding Stephen Warnock and Habib Beye. Edit: Nathan Delfouneso has now joined Burnley on loan until the end of the season.

There won’t be universal agreement on who should be in each of the first three columns below, it’s more for demonstration purposes than anything else, but when you look at it like this it’s not difficult to see how little value there would be in Bannan hanging around for the rest of the season.

Team Bench Rotation Out on loan
1 Friedel 12 Marshall 19 Parish 27 Guzan
2 Walker 13 Cuellar 20 L Young 28 Lichaj
3 Collins 14 Petrov 21 Baker 29 Lowry
4 Dunne 15 Bradley 22 Herd 30 Hogg
5 Clark 16 Pires 23 Salifou 31 Osbourne
6 Reo-Coker 17 Agbonlahor 24 Delfouneso 32 Bannan
7 Makoun 18 Heskey 33 Ireland
8 Albrighton Out of favour 34 Carew
9 A Young 25 Beye 35 Weimann
10 Downing 26 Warnock 24 Delfouneso
11 Bent

Houllier thinks we need 43 points for safety and I wouldn’t argue. That’s 10 points from nine games, or it might be wiser to target it in seven since Liverpool and Arsenal await in the final two matches of the season.

So, that’s Wolves (H), Everton (A), Newcastle (H), West Ham (A), Stoke (H), West Brom (H) and Wigan (H) and the 24 23 players above to get it done.

No problem.