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Thoughts so far

January 19, 2014

At half-time yesterday I can guarantee most of us in that away end were thinking the same thing; we’ve missed our chance now, it’ll finish 0-0…

We should’ve been at least a couple up, we should’ve taken full advantage of strong pressure and good chances. But we should also not be too downhearted with a point away at Bury, and we should once again be looking at the bigger picture.

The Bury fans must’ve wondered what exactly was going on as they walked out of Gigg Lane next to Albion fans arguing amongst themselves. “You ungrateful ………” they must’ve thought, a frustrating 0-0 being nothing compared to what they’ve been through this last year.

This isn’t me saying no one has the right to be annoyed by yesterday, I certainly was after we failed to capitalise on a lively start. Football fans are full of differing opinions, and football itself doesn’t exactly bring out our placid sides.

But we’ve plenty to be positive about, and surely we should be enjoying every second?

The facts are we’re 3rd. We’re unbeaten in 12 league games. Only 2 teams have conceded less than us in League 2.  When people like Zander Diamond and Lee Bell are no longer walking into the first team, the strength in depth we have must be the envy of League 2.

But as we’re all also aware, goals aren’t going in at the same rate as last season and we’re the lowest scorers in the top 10. Rene Howe was a disappointment, Adam McGurk isn’t in form and hasn’t scored in over 2 months, Kee is always a threat but hasn’t scored in 4, Symes is injured, whilst Dom Knowles is waiting for a starting opportunity again after his 2 goals against Cheltenham.

In short the strikers aren’t firing on all cylinders, I honestly think the team still hasn’t hit 5th gear… Yet we still sit in an automatic promotion place.

We look resolute. You feel confident about us seeing out a game with a 1 goal lead, whereas last season you didn’t feel confident even when we had a 3+ goal lead, Morecambe and Exeter at home spring to mind.

In 6 of the league games we’ve lost, we finished 4 of them with 10 men. You can only wonder “what could’ve been” if Sharpes hadn’t have been dismissed against Oxford, Holness against Wimbledon, Kee against Southend, in what were game changing decisions.

So in 26 league games we’ve lost just 2 where we’ve had 11 men for 90 minutes. Only ourselves to blame for that early season indiscipline, but still a stat that makes you feel even more confident about this set of players.

So here we are now in January.

Every manager is always looking to improve his squad, even Pellegrini would bring in Ronaldo to his free scoring City team if given the opportunity.

So I’m confident that yesterday would’ve left Rowett and Summerfield in no doubt that if only 1 more player is to arrive this transfer window, then that 1 player should be another striker.

The missing ingredient of flair we craved has been added with the loan signing of Zeli Ismael, whose sub appearance against Wolves had us all in raptures. And whilst he went quiet after taking a knock yesterday, he started well and is only going to create chances and cause problems for opposing defences.

We look strong everywhere else.

We have a ‘keeper who is keeping clean sheets and looks more assured game by game. The defence is solid with 4 strong centre-backs who would get into a fair amount of other teams in this league. The full backs are both having strong seasons, with Adam Buxton being bought in to cover (did the poor lad deserve the amount of stick he got on Tuesday in his first pro game?).

All is well in centre-mid. Palmer has surprised us all, Weir is the engine. Bell displays the same winning mentality and attitude whether he’s playing the full 90 or coming on for the final 10, though he possibly hasn’t shown the same form as last season. Jimmy is finally getting his chance again on the wing – a just reward for his patience, recent form says it’ll be a while before he’s out the team again. McDonald and Hussey are capable but will need to ‘up it’ a bit to get a run of first team games going again.

Which brings us back around to the strikers. We know Kee is capable of 20+ goals a season if fit. Hopefully Knowles gets his chance and carries on from his Cheltenham appearance. Symes, I’m unsure when he’ll be back.

Now onto McGurk. He has split opinion.  For me, I’ve done every home game and 6 away, and I’ve not quite seen it from him, I’m not sure what the big deal is? But like I say, I wasn’t at Chesterfield, I wasn’t at Plymouth. Maybe if I was at them games I’d have a different opinion on him? I just don’t see him as a striker at the minute, but you watch him bang in a hat-trick next week to shut me up! – I hope he does.

I’m just being honest though. I’ve not been amazed by him and he didn’t really seem up for it on Tuesday at Bournemouth, an opportunity to put himself in the shop window against Championship opposition.

He does look classy at times, and he does look skilful at times. I just can’t remember a game where I’ve seen him perform at say 9/10 for the whole 90 minutes.

But hey, once again, just my opinion. Everyone goes through a loss of form and Rowett knows a lot more about football than I do, so I’ll just hope he finds some form and changes my view on him.

Right, I shall stop my ramblings for now. I hope you’ve all got my point, that there is plenty to be confident about going into the final 20 games. I think it will click into place soon and we’ll hammer someone, and now I’ve doubted McGurk I’m sure he’ll finish the season with 25 goals!

Let’s keep up the good atmosphere that we’ve enjoyed recently at the Pirelli and away from home, let’s fully enjoy the final 20 (possibly more!) games of the season, and let’s do everything we can to support the team to promotion.

UTB

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From → The Albion.

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