EFL Team of the Week: Jacobson's unlikely treble

Wycombe go top of League One

After another weekend of League One and Two action saw Wycombe Wanderers go top of the third-tier, Gabriel Sutton’s (@_FootbalLab) Team of the Week is represented by a trio of Chairboys.

Goalkeeper: Matt Gilks, Fleetwood Town

It was not the best day for EFL goalkeepers, with the 38 teams in action keeping just six clean sheets between them.

Gilks, though, had a solid game in Fleetwood’s 2-1 win over Oxford and used his experience well.

Right-back: Jack Grimmer, Wycombe Wanderers

The summer departure of Jason McCarthy to Millwall was deemed a huge summer blow for Wycombe Wanderers.

The right-back had been a hugely important player for the Chairboys, winning Player of the Year in 2018-19 – the second time he had collected that accolade at Adams Park.

It is therefore hugely impressive that Jack Grimmer has started so positively at right-back.

Grimmer fared well in Coventry’s 2017-18 promotion from League Two but then, Mark Robins begun to favour more exotic right-backs like Dujon Sterling then Fankaty Dabo, with the player released in summer 2019.

The 25-year-old though will still have ambitions to carve out a career for himself at Championship level and, since arriving in Buckinghamshire, he has made a clear effort to polish certain defensive aspects of his game – and improve the quality of his deliveries.

Grimmer, who as always has tireless energy getting up and down the flank, is now playing arguably some of the best football of his career.

Centre-backs: Ryan Inniss, Newport County and Matt Preston, Mansfield Town

Inniss is a very good centre-back below the Championship.

There was a period at Port Vale where he was dominant in the air and a very strong influence at the heart of a defence – he was unlucky that his initial stint there was not extended due to an injury.

In recent years, Inniss’ career has been disrupted perhaps by personal issues due to a difficult upbringing.

Here, though, there are signs of Inniss getting back to his best with a commanding display in Newport County’s 1-0 win over Port Vale; a result that means they have not conceded since the opening day of the season.

Inniss has benefited from coming into a solid setup since joining on loan from Crystal Palace; he was excellent this week – as he was in the prior 2-0 victory at Forest Green.

Matt Preston, meanwhile, scored in Mansfield Town’s 2-0 victory over Scunthorpe.

The centre-back plays on the right of a back-three in John Dempster’s 3-4-1-2 setup, won four aerial duels and did the basics of defending well in a scrappy win.

Left-back: Joe Jacobson, Wycombe Wanderers

It is not every day that one’s left-back scores a hat-trick including two goals direct from corners, but that is what happened to Wycombe’s Joe Jacobson.

The Welshman’s set piece quality and pin-point deliveries had key to their promotion challenges in League Two between 2014 and 2018, but there were signs last season that he might have been finding it difficult to step up to the pace of League One.

To Jacobson’s credit, though, he has stepped up a level this year and been a key part of a team that has already scored four goals from dead ball scenarios and had 29 headed efforts at goal – more than any other team.

Central midfielders: Conor Shaughnessy, Mansfield Town Archie Collins, Exeter City and Ryan Broom, Cheltenham Town

Conor Shaughnessy, on loan at Mansfield from Leeds, enjoyed an excellent debut for the Stags.

He displayed a desire to receive the ball and an ability to switch play, as well as an eye for a through ball as we saw in the lead-up to Danny Rose’s goal.

Archie Collins, meanwhile, starred in Exeter City’s 3-1 victory at Carlisle.

Manager Matt Taylor, in his post-match interview, implied that the Grecians could have won by an even greater margin with some more ruthless finishing – that shows the level of control that the talented Collins, along with skipper Jake Taylor next to him in midfield, exerted on this contest.

Elsewhere, Ryan Broom had an excellent game for Cheltenham Town.

For much of last season, Broom played as a right wing-back; a role that seemed to suit him due to his athleticism and running power.

With Sean Long coming back from injury, though, Broom has taken up the box-to-box midfield role that was filled, last season, by the now-departed Kevin Dawson.

The former Bristol Rovers man has thrived in that position, enjoying a man-of-the-match performance in the 4-2 win over Stevenage last time out.

Right-winger: Wesley Jobello, Coventry City

Jobello has looked very impressive since signing for Coventry City this summer from Gazélec Ajaccio/

Mark Robins’ Martinican magician has plenty of power, making him a good aerial out-ball, he is a direct runner and can at times play with skill as well as quality, as we saw when he fired the equalizer inside the near-post in last week’s 3-2 win over Blackpool.

Jobello can, sometimes, be guilty of neglecting defensive duties - he can drift in and out of games, too – but one would much rather have him in one’s team at this level than against, because of the threat that he can pose.

Striker: Sam Nombe, Milton Keynes Dons

It was a very bold move from MK Dons manager Paul Tisdale to start Sam Nombe in a game of the magnitude of the one on Saturday.

Previously, the energetic front-man has been seen as an impact substitute and, when he has gone out on loan, it has been to sixth-tier Oxford City.

It is therefore hugely impressive that Nombe stepped up to the plate so well.

The 20-year-old’s willingness to run in behind and stretch the opposing back-line was key to initiating MK’s combination play, especially down the right channel through George Williams and Conor McGrandles.

Left-winger: Charlie Kirk, Crewe Alexandra

Charlie Kirk is having another wonderful season for Crewe Alexandra.

He bagged his third goal of the campaign on Saturday, showing the composure to complete a counter-attack by rounding the goalkeeper, then taking his time to slot home.

Often, Kirk is not necessarily overly involved in Crewe’s build-up play in central areas; rather, he seems to like to hold his position wide left, so that when openings present themselves, he can bore down on goal and put the finishing touches to fluent attacking moves.

Manager: Gareth Ainsworth, Wycombe Wanderers

Gareth Ainsworth’s Wycombe teams are not always everyone’s cup of tea – they have sometimes shown a tendency to be strong in the tackle and not be shy about certain aspects of game management.

However, where Ainsworth differs to other managers whose teams have the same reputation, is that when the final whistle goes, he has the class and dignity to draw a line under what happened – he shows respect for the opposition.

The former QPR player continues to build competitive teams on modest budgets but now, there is a sense that not only are Wycombe starting to land their primary transfer targets – a sign that they are becoming an increasingly attractive proposition under Wild Thing’s management.

With clever, rather than constant, use of target man Adebayo Akinfenwa, Ainsworth is beginning to evolve the style of play too.


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