How to replace Jamie Maclaren

**The following is a re-post of something I posted over at Football Central- originally dated 12/11/15

Brisbane Roar’s new #9 has been a revelation over the opening month of the season, however Brisbane find themselves without his services for this weekend’s clash with Perth Glory; so the question is- how do they cover for him?

The obvious answer would be Jean Carlos Solórzano, but with the Costa Rican sidelined again with a hamstring injury suffered just minutes into his return against Sydney on Friday, Aloisi will have to be more creative in finding a solution.

The problem is magnified by the loss of Matt McKay to the senior side, while Corey Brown will join Maclaren with the u/23 national team. Others who are unavailable include the injured Henrique, DeVere and Theo.

Steven Lustica is almost a certainty to cover for the loss of McKay, but the hole upfront could be filled any number of ways. Here’s just a couple of options that John Aloisi is likely to be weighing up.

Option 1- Clut as a straight swap for Maclaren.
Probably the favourite option at this stage given that Clut has been used as the attacking substitute in the opening rounds of the new season. The downside here is that he’s not really an out and out striker, and would be more of a false nine role dropping off of the front line. Despite that Clut’s ability to pick a pass and shoot from distance would ensure that he would be dangerous.

Option two- Petratos pushed forward- Clut, Lambadaridis, or Hervas into midfield.
This one seems like a safe and easy option for Aloisi, with Petratos making his name initially as a player in the front third for the Roar. That would allow Brisbane to maintain their mobility in the front third, while Petratos has shown so far this season improved quality in the final third.  Hervas would be a popular option here, but given he’s only just reaching a level of fitness the coaching staff are happy with it’s unlikely he will start.

This scenario would also allow for rotation across the front third, with Borrello playing centrally, or even Broich reprising his ‘false 9’ role of the 2013-14 season.

Option three- Borrello as a central striker, Shannon Brady onto the wing.
With four goals already this season, there will no doubt be a temptation to move Borrello into the central striking role, a move which would open up a spot on the wing for Shannon Brady. This would be an outside the box solution, and one which would only add to Brisbane’s quick and direct style in the front third this season, but it would seem a long shot given Brady has been a largely peripheral figure so far this season.

Option four- Nicholas D’Agostino as a straight swap for Maclaren.
A wildcard option, but if John Aloisi wants a genuine striker to lead the line on Sunday, young D’Agostino figures to be the best option at his disposal. Despite not figuring in first team action since the Liverpool game, he’s done his chances no harm with a two goal effort in the first round of the National Youth League at the weekend. Im not sure that he’ll start the game, but im fairly sure he’ll be in the matchday squad and will get some time off the bench.

So which option is the best and which is the most likely? I think that the best option would be for Clut to come into the side in the attacking midfield role he performed so well in last season, with Petratos pushing forward to lead the line.

Incidentally I think that this is also the most likely scenario, although the strategy will likely incorporate option two as well with Petratos spending some time forward. Both are likely to spend some time there over the course of the game, with D’Agostino and Hervas likely to be utilised as impact substitutes.

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