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Current Squad

So the transfer window has slammed shut and we have our squad until January (excluding any out of contract players, which are always rare) and it looks like this:-

Lots of chatter about the size of the squad and this Squad is 26 strong (with the option of U23's to supplement)

So would love to hear what people think of the makeup of this squad and how we will fare this season, how it compares to the squad Cooper had?

Also when everyone is fit what do people think our best team is?

For my part, I think the squad size is good but everyone is likely required to play their part, which means opportunities for the younger players (I get the feeling RM will not be afraid to use them).

Difficult to compare with last seasons squad but my initial impression is that it's much more attacking and overall instils a sense of excitement in me, although as it was last season it seems the CF position is the most glaring weakness although Piroe has started well and Obafemi has great potential to be a star at Championship level.

Midfield has surely improved as we still have Grimes, Fulton and Smith (last seasons stalwarts) and we have added Walsh, Ntcham & Downes

Defence is similar, yes we have lost Guehi and Roberts (but last year we lost Rodon and many thought that was the end of the world). I worry about the defence after the first few games but am hopeful that Rhys Williams will improve things and whilst we have the numbers there is definitely work to do based upon the performances to start the season.

My biggest worry is the wing-backs as I think these are crucial positions in the RM team and we are quite light in these positions, Laird I am sure is quality but who is his cover? On the left-hand side, Manning and Bidwell will do a decent job but neither has the pace I think the position demands (although I would give Manning the nod).

My best 11 at this point would be:


Cabango Williams Cooper

Laird Ntcham Grimes Paterson Manning

Piroe Obafemi

*** I do think there will be lots of rotation with the midfield 3 ***

Overall I am really excited to see how the next few months pan out !!



  • Yes Chris - pretty close to what I see as the starting XI - but I would sub Downes for Patterson and have Ntcham as the AM.

    We certainly have a much stronger bench following this window!

  • I too am excited by this squad - it's very fresh looking, and we've done away with many players too closely associated with the Cooper era - but we are going to need to be very patient.

    In an ideal world, 75% of those new faces would have arrived on 1 July with RM in place, and a full 6 week training camp ahead of them.

    We all know that just isn't how it has happened, so we need to cut some slack and accept that this side of Xmas could be a bit of a slog with more Blackburns and Prestons yet to come.

    So, excited then, but not expecting great things just yet. This is going to take time. I hope the owners and Winter are going to hold their nerve, and not do anything stupid if we're firmly entrenched in the bottom half as we head into winter.

  • 9 new signings since Martin took over , will take a while to get to know these players .

  • Hamer

    Naughton Williams Cooper

    Laird Grimes Williams Manning


    Piroe Obafemi

  • Benda

    Naughton Cabango Williams

    Laird Downes Grimes Manning


    Obafemi Piroe

  • edited September 1

    Average age of the squad is 24.

    That's got to be one of, if not, our most inexperienced squad in history.

    Certainly will be one of the youngest in the Championship this season.

    14 players in the squad are 22 or under.

    4 are 30 or over.

    All bar 8 are 25 or younger.

  • edited September 1

    It is very interesting that nobody so far - including myself, have selected Ryan Bennett as a first choice starter. There is a clear indication of the brave new world compared to Cooper ball where he would have been one of the first names on the sheet when fit.

    With a back 3 of Williams Cabango and Cooper I literally have boxer shorts that are older than those 3.

  • Combined or individually?

  • Bournemouth have fielded a starting 11 with an average age of 22.9 in one game this season. We've been on the younger end so far due to Naughton and Bennett's absences.


  • it really will be interesting to see who he puts in there.

    He doesnt like messing about with the back 3, personnel wise, as well as in the formation.

    But if he doesnt pick either Naughton or Bennett, then that's going to be a massively inexperienced back 3.

  • When you look at Coopers x2 Cabango Benda Downes Joseph Whittaker Obafemi Piroe Williams Cullen Rushesha McFayden Garrick et al we have a generation of talent that are all 1 or even 2 long contracts from being in their prime.

    Some of them will not progress, and we have to accept that, but our business model for club sustainability is clear.

    We can all back our own winners from that list - but personally I see at least 4 of those 14 that I would predict will become mainstays of our team and ultimately (if we manage the contracts competently) the cash cows that will help us survive and prosper.

    It always used to be this way and i am delighted to see this business model return home!

  • Benda

    Williams Naughton Cooper

    Laird Ntcham Grimes Bidwell

    Obafemi Piroe Paterson

    Don't think it's our best team but based on how he's set us up so far that's what I expect to see over the next couple of months.

  • The reason nobody picked Bennett is because he hasn't had a run of games and proved his fitness , I don't see that Martin sees things different to Cooper .

    A fit Bennett would play regularly in my opinion can see Naughton , Williams and Cabango playing to give Bennett a break .Cooper and Latibeaudiere should have some game time .

  • Remember Bennett has just recovered from SARS-CoV-2, as had Naughton. There were others in the team that had suffered earlier. Because of the approach of the club, they could very easily be suffering extended fatigue post-viral.

    That's why we need an injury/illness free set of players starting even if it takes longer for the others to recover.

    If they vaccinate now even if other players catch the virus the effects will be substantially reduced. Its idiotic not to and risks more players being off with a mystery injury a la SARS-CoV-2.

    We are up to 5 variants of Interest being monitored with potential new variants happening in Cornwall and Liverpool based around festivals. Expect the next warnings to emerge from Reading and Leeds as there are two very big festivals there.

  • Interesting that people seem to pick Naughton ahead of him - because he has identical questions around fitness and a run of games.

    I think in the new world of playing out from the back he looks like the fish out of water - that is certainly the reason I would give him the swerve.. I would swerve Bidwell in favour of Manning for the same reasons.

    They make our bench look awesome though - real experience and know how.

  • Just wo games back Manning was Man of the Match at Ashton Gate v Bristol City now he can't get into most fans' team.

    What will be seen when the season resumes is if RM wants a balance of experience and youngsters in his 3 centre backs or goes for pace, potential and those more comfortable with the ball at their feet.

    Naughton, Williams, Manning

    Cooper, Williams, Manning

    Naughton, Bennett, Williams


    Cooper, Cabango, Williams

    Barring injury there is some very interesting combinations in the squad and very much the same regarding midfield.

  • @Colin_swansea

    Probably not picked because he has shown versatility can play full back / Wingback , in the back 3 or midfield , will be an important player as the season goes on .

    I would like to see him have a run at left wingback to see if he is better than Bidwell ,

    Midfield will be the biggest selection headache for the boss , when fit you have

    Grimes & Fulton, Grimes & Downes Grimes & Smith

    Downes & Smith , Fulton & Smith , Grimes & Williams,

    Walsh , Dhanda could get some game time

    Ntcham & Paterson as number 10s

  • I go with


    Williams Bennett Cabango

    Laird Downes Grimes Bidwell


    Piroe Obafemi

    4 of last season's playoff team only?

  • Interesting that you choose Hamer over Benda.

    Also across the whole thread, it's clear that RM clearly has squad and many decisions to make rather than an obvious 1st XI (which Cooper had come what may).

    Will be intriguing to see how the team settles over the coming weeks/months

  • Not for the season, just for 3 or 4 games while Benda gets the yips out of his system

    I like that Benda wants to play like Neuer

    He just needs to calm down a bit and pause for thought

  • Benda will improve with a technically gifted centre half to give the ball to.

  • Fair comment.

    For me I just think Benda is the future and don't want him sidelined, so I would persevere unless injured.

  • This is all uncharted territory. We have no idea yet which blend of players will work together best, but at least we have a number of combinations available to us so we can mix it up.

    Also good luck to all the players, especially the permanents who left this transfer window, all of whomhave worked so hard the last couple of years.

    Except of course if you play us.

  • I wouldn't write off Latibeaudiere yet. we're only 5 games in and he's been played in an unfamiliar role. for me Cooper is the one who has looked a bit of a weak link being short of fitness. I'm glad though he's not been criticised too much for mistakes. Our own always get cut a bit of slack. I also think this season Nauts will be a bit part player. Solid replacement if someone is injured. Bidwell and Manning will be dooking it out at LB. on paper we look stronger but who knows how long it'll take for them all to gel. virtually a new team

  • Agreed @Pablo but my worry with Latibeaudiere is how ponderous he has looked - I am not sure if he is unfit (Injured) or unfit (not fit enough) but he has looked pedestrian against league one opposition and in the games he has played.

    In my mind he should not be considered for wing back - I think that experiment is done - he is depth cover at centre back.

  • Latibeaudiere has more chance of being a wingback, than I have of being a Scumdiff fan.

  • Lets hope RM and his team can get this squad super fit and then we can see who has the ability to play the way RM wants (although I'm with you as not sure Latitbeudiere will cut it as a wing back).

  • Latibeaudiere is a central defender. he ended up as WB because of shortages. players played in their positions is a must, and it is stating the obvious. RM hasn't been helped by circumstances. We had more knowledge of the players than he did in the first few games. That will change as the season progresses. I'm not expecting miracles but I am expecting the philosophy of keep ball to be firmly embedded.

  • You would have thought Alan Tate could have passed his knowledge of the players to Martin , he knows more than us about the players seeing them train and play.

    Latibeaudiere is definitely a centre back I agree .

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