Ian discusses the Gloversahead of the Xmas/NY fixtures
My first match was a pre-season friendly in 1998 so I’m getting on for 25 years come 2023 – wow that’s made me feel old.
SEASON SO FAR
It’s been massively disappointing overall. We had a bright start in terms of performances but not results and, as with last season, we’ve really struggled to score goals. I don’t think anyone expected us to be pushing for the playoffs, but to be so close to the bottom end after a bit of pre-season expectation bluster has been a huge disappointment.
We’re doing okay at the moment. We are unbeaten in the League in five matches and we’re strong defensively. We just need to stick it in the net and start turning 1 point into 3.
Highlights are few and far between, but our performance and Malachi Linton’s phenomenal goal against Wrexham at the start of the season sticks out.
Matt Worthington has stepped up in the number 10 position since Cooper’s arrival and before his suspension he was starting to make things tick. Josh Staunton is the atypical captain who leads by example. Our newest loanee, Jordan Maguire-Drew has come in with a lot of expectation, albeit little game time at Grimsby, hopefully he can start unlocking defences on Boxing Day.
Chris Hargreaves is undoubtedly a good man. But, given the circumstances at the club he was the wrong man for the job. We needed someone with recent first team managerial experience to come in and lift us and unfortunately Chris wasn’t that. It felt like his departure was coming for a little bit. Supporters had been growing frustrated with the style of football and following the defeat against Aldershot, and the post-match reaction, it was inevitable he would be on his way.
Mark Cooper is what we needed in the summer when we recruited. He’s managed to build a bit of confidence within the team and added some players that have balanced the team. Since we lost at Woking we’re unbeaten and we haven’t conceded for nearly 500 minutes now. We’re still looking for that bit of quality in the final third, so if we do find it and things start to click I think we’ll be able to do some damage to teams.
It really depends on the personnel. It’s been a bit of running joke this season about how we’ll line up because the selection might look like an obvious 4-3-3 and they get on the pitch and there’s its a back three with wingbacks. With Matt Worthington back, my hunch (and hope) is that we’ll play a 4-2-3-1 again with wingers.
GK: Grant Smith RB: Chiori Johnson CB: Owen Bevan CB: Max Hunt LB: Jamie Reckord CM: Josh Staunton CM: Jamie Andrews RW: Charlie Wakefield CAM: Matt Worthington LW: Jordan Maguire Drew ST: Alex Fisher
The less said the better. After a season of takeover rumours, the council purchased the stadium and surrounding land to help after covid and in doing so cleared the owners debts and from May they’ll start charging rent for the stadium we used to own. Takeover rumours continue to swirl around Huish Park but we really need the stadium and land back with the club. We’re on day 21 of an update in 7-10 days regarding an open meeting with supporters that was meant to take place in November.
AVOIDING A RELEGATIONBATTLE
I think we’re already in one aren’t we? If we can start scoring goals we’ll be fine but it’s a big if. The manager needs support in the transfer market to add more quality if we’re to press on further.
Notts County look the part this season with their technical ability, although they couldn’t break down our big green and white bus when we went there. At Huish Park I was impressed with Halifax. We managed to beat them 1-0, but they certainly looked like a side on an upward trajectory.
I’d love to say goals, but I can’t see it given both of our fortunes at the moment. They’ll be tight affairs that my heart says we might nick 1-0. My head says they could go either way though.
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