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Southampton Face Defensive Dilemma With Bednarek Suspension
Monday, 6th Nov 2023 08:30

Jan Bednarek picked up his 5th yellow card of the season in the win at Millwall and will now miss the game against West Bromwich Albion, it will be a big blow to Russell Martin after the Polish defenders recent form.

This time last year Jan Bednarek was in footballing limbo, he had left for Aston Villa on loan in controversial circumstances and then he got little game time at Villa Park under either of the two managers he played under.

His loan spell was cut short in January and he returned to St Mary's and to his credit knuckled down and got on with the task of helping Saints try to avoid relegation, this was a forlorn task, but although we were relegated, Bednarek was one of the few players of whom you could say they justified their wages in the final games as we collapsed in chaos.

This season he has continued where he left off and it is fair to say that the Pole is one of several early contenders for player of the season.

At Millwall he was again outstanding and has formed a great partnership with Taylor Harwood-Bellis.

So his one game suspension for racking up 5 yellow cards is a big blow, especially as it is against the team just one place and 1 point behind us in the Championship table.

So Russell Martin has some thinking to do, the obvious choice would look to be Mason Holgate, against Preston when Harwood-Bellis was out injured it was Holgate who was chosen to partner Bednarek, so on the face of it, it would seem to be the option that Martin will opt for.

But it is not his only one, Shea Charles has played in 13 of the 15 League games played so far, but he has only started in 6 of them, his main position is as a defensive midfielder, but he has deputised in the centre of defence and put in decent performances, so utilising his strength and pace might well be in Russell Martin's mind.

One person who won't be available is Jack Stephens who has been missing since injuring himself in the game against QPR back in August, ironically giving Charles his chance to slot into the centre of defence and show his credentials in that position.

Little has been heard about his progress, but it is likely that his absence will stretch to at least 3 months before he is ready for a return.

Photo: Action Images

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DellBoyWally added 09:52 - Nov 6
Neither Holgate nor Charles were convincing when the played CB. THB has been convincing, developing into potential captain material so hopefully he can guide through whoever plays.
At least it won't be Stephens!

SaintNick added 10:12 - Nov 6
Charles played CB for most of the QPR game when Stephens went off and had a man of the match performance there, Holgate has played there in the Premier League for Everton for 3 seasons so has the experience.

Bowlercow added 11:12 - Nov 6
Tricky one this My choice would be Charles because of his memorable game v QPR and when he has had an opportunity for a cameo appearance he has always been solid

codge added 13:51 - Nov 6
The good news is we don’t have to worry about Stephens being the choice.

IanRC added 16:52 - Nov 6
Bednarak’s booking was deserved but was no worse than numerous unpunished Milwall pull backs.

highfield49 added 15:39 - Nov 7
Experience wise Holgate looks like the better candidate, despite Charles' versatility and talent. Holgate can have a full week in training alongside THB to familiarise and gel leaving Charles available to play in his natural role as and when required. It should be a reasonably simple choice for the manager when the team is seleected.

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