NCM picks versus Morecambe

Last updated : 25 January 2008 By Paul Smith

- Probably the only position that isn't subject to a debate given the outstanding form of number one Kevin Pilkington. That save last week was simply astonishing, and his overall form has been very good. Apologies to Tim Sandercombe, but he won't get a look in for a while with Pilkington doing so well.

- The back four was superb last week in attaining a valuable clean sheet, but McParland is unfortunately denied the chance to keep faith in those players as Lee Canoville - who played arguably his best game for the club last week - is suspended. That means the right back slot is vacant. What a time for Mike Edwards, the clubs best player last season, to be fit again. How he has been missed, and the signs are that after two reserve games he is ready to figure again. He would come in at centre-back for NCM, moving Adam Tann to right back. That would allow Edwards the chance to resume his formidable partnership with Stephen Hunt at centre-back. On the left, Austin McCann did a great job last week, and deserves to retain his place.

- The place with the greatest competiton with new signings and players returning from injury causing a selection headache. Neil MacKenzie is said to be in contention after his operation, but with so many available and a game on Tuesday, it wouldn't be worth the risk even if he would be one of the first names on the team sheet for NCM usually. Gavin Strachan performed well in the holding role last week and should start there. On the left Felix Bastians has looked a big threat since he arrived, and should beat off the returning Myles Weston - for now. Top scorer Richard Butcher played on the right and did a fair job, but his best position is centrally. However, the return of Jay Smith could be key and without MacKenzie, Smith's creativity could be vital. NCM would start him, however harsh that might be on Butcher who has had a good season. Ali Gibb is a more natural winger and deserves the chance to show what he is about on the right.

- The shock of a new forward still not being signed is apparent in NCM towers. But again, McParland has to go with what he has got. The front two created plenty of problems for Chester last week and both worked very hard. So NCM feel it makes sense to stick with Jason Lee and Lawrie Dudfield. They worked off each other fairly well, and although Dudfield missed a few chances, he couldn't have been unluckier, hitting the bar and having one off the line. He is due some luck.