Chris discusses talking points ahead of the NL game
IT’S THE HOPE THAT GETS YOU
In a frankly unbelievable turn of events, there is genuine hope that we may be able to avoid the drop. I was very much going through the acceptance phase three weeks ago that this was going to happen and there was no way that we could get out of it. There was a real chance that we wouldn’t win another game this season. A fantastic run of four consecutive wins has given us a chance, but it is still only that. A whole load of things will need to be with us in the next four games to make this happen. Winning against York is vital to those hopes.
The influence that Frank Nouble has had since his arrival on deadline day is absolutely incredible. His general play and the way he holds the ball up and brings others into the action alongside Aaron Jarvis has made Torquay a totally different prospect. Centre backs seeing those two lining up must know they are in for a difficult afternoon. I wasn’t too bothered that Nouble hadn’t scored given the impact he has had on everybody else, but his two beautifully taken goals at Maidenhead has made his impact even greater. The impact on the fan base is worth noting too. His interaction on social media, how he handles himself with the media and fans, as well as his on pitch impact, have made him a massive catalyst for change.
This match is key in shaping the final stages of this season. Drawing York, Maidenhead and Aldershot towards us is the only way that we can get out of this, and beating the Minstermen is vital to that. Two recent victories has given Saturday’s visitors some breathing space, but they are very beatable for us. From the current position, 50 points gives us a real chance to survive. Three of those have to come against York, with Tuesday’s trip to Chesterfield then being a game to tackle. But the knife edge of it all is that were we to fail to beat York, that could be it. This game is that important. A repeat of the intensity and work rate of the game against Eastleigh is key.
Whilst Nouble has had a big impact on the front of the pitch, the calm reassurance of young Southampton loanee Nico Lawrence has been both important and unbelievable. I struggle to think of a player that we have had on loan with the quality, assurance and physicality to cope with such ease in defence. In recent weeks, he has dealt with the top players in the National League, and centre forwards that have scored serious goals this season (Kabambe, Langstaff, Acquah to name a few). Acquah gave Nico a difficult first 15 minutes on Monday, but he grew into the game and he didn’t have a sniff after that. His reading of the game is amazing and he has led the back-line in the second half of the season.
Talking to other United fans in the last few days, there is real belief that we can survive this. They only way that we can do that is by rallying behind the club at this crucial time and pouring the emotion into Saturday. The atmosphere at recent home games has been brilliant, and Gary regularly talks about how it makes a difference to the players. Saturday is a really, really important game. Let’s get three points and then worry about how we can make it six in a row at Chesterfield.