Chris Wade – @TufcChris
DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE 0-0 TORQUAY UNITED
The Retained List
This is on everybody’s minds at the moment and the weekends matches have given us some more food for thought. What the matches have shown us again is the drop off in quality when we need to make some changes. The first eleven have proved to be a match for most teams in the league since Christmas, but as soon as there are one or two players unavailable, the drop off in quality is quite stark. This was particularly evident on Saturday when we were a goal down and needed to change it up off the bench. What was available to us made no huge different, and the chance that Lolos had right at the end showed the importance of squad depth and being able to make a difference off the bench.
More on this theme in Gulls Eye View later this week…..
Ali Omar to Stay?
Here is a chap that has had an odd first year at the club but has certainly made big strides in my view. He was an accident waiting to happen in those early games and didn’t seem to know when to come to the ball and challenge and when to drop. But some time out of the team and no doubt some long hours on the training ground with Aaron Downes have made a big difference to his capabilities. He seems to have a much more clear understanding of his role.. His heading and passing has also improved a lot. For what it is worth, I would keep him. The investment is worth continuing with, and we would only replace him with another young player, and we have a year of work in Ali. He is also a very likeable guy, which is important in the identity of our club.
Well now. That was a sentence that Gary dropped on us after the game on Saturday wasn’t it? We all know what a nightmare the last pre-season must have been, especially after an absolutely devastating ending. That led to us signings players that have subsequently shown to not be good enough. But that sentence after the game on Saturday made us all sit up and go “oh hello?!”. The addition of some proven National League players, whilst being able to retain a core of the current group, will give us a great chance next season, salary cap or no salary cap. We could also do with Stockport and Wrexham going up, as they are on a different financial level to the rest of us.
Whilst no doubt everybody could say this, we will all look back at this season with regret at the chances that we have created and wasted. Due to the style and manager, we have always looked to play and this naturally creates goal scoring opportunities. There are few games where I can say that we have created nothing, and but for more clinical finishing, things could have been so different. Against Eastleigh (one of the more frustrating games at Plainmoor), we still had four clear openings. On Saturday, we had three ones on one situations and wasted them. And Connor missed a great chance late on at Dagenham, another example of where things could have bene different.
Huge Role to Play
Whilst our play off chances may have mathematically have ended on Monday, we still have a huge role to play in the promotion race. Chesterfield are really struggling at the end moment and will be desperate to get something in front of the BT Sport cameras on Saturday lunchtime. And with the top two meeting on Sunday, a Wrexham win there would see Stockport’s game with us next Wednesday as huge for their title hopes. I have never bought into this idea that players wind down and don’t put the effort in when the season’s aspirations have or haven’t been fulfilled. That is not how professional footballers work, and we will be giving it our all to get as many points as we can I have no doubt.
The Yellow Army
Just wow. The passion that we have for our club has never dropped through the last ten years, which lets face it has been pretty average at times. But the passion and desire at each game should be applaud, especially when you consider the geography as well. That will be put to the test next season again, as Gateshead re-join the National League from the National League North, along with Oldham and Scunthorpe from the EFL. And Maidstone from the National League South isn’t exactly close either is it? But I know that we will all be there, week in and week out willing our boys back to the promised land.
COYY – Dom
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