So, how did you spend your bank holiday then? Dancing with policemen at the Notting Hill Carnival? Enjoying picnics in the country with your family? Or did you decide to spend all day in a Lancastrian mill town? Well, like most normal-minded people, I went to Ribblers 1 Wibblers 1, and I saw a bit of promise creeping through.
We scored through Mark Williams on 45 minutes, our first goal since that JH goal against the Villa. They equalised through ex-Man U reject starlet Michael Appleton (didn’t he play for us in the Intertwobob?) just after half time with a nice strike. We could, and should, have been 4-2 up at half time, JH getting in on the goal and deciding not to actually shoot properly. Still, it’s nice to score I suppose…..
Anyway, on to the nitty gritty:
Plus points: We scored. We didn’t lose. We have now conceeded only two goals in 360 minutes of play. Peter Hawkins looks the DBs. So does Damien Francis. JH looked competent if not quite 100% fit. Mr 110% was putting in about 72% today. We’re creating loads of chances. Mark Williams and Chris Wilmott look a solid centre-back pairing, given a few months we could be into Eric Young/John Scales territory again. Marcus Gayle was putting some nice crosses in. Kelvin Davis looks the part, can’t be too long now before we hear the first “who needs Neil Sullivan” comment.
Minus points: Our shooting is wank – we are trying to walk the ball in far too many times. Our top goalscorer is a centre-back. Ardley runs….and runs….and runs….and that’s about it. Actually the general midfield (and sad to say, attack) looks like a farmyard of headless chickens. Michael Thomas is too slow, though his actual skill is far beyond most of our team. Trond’s passing and general confidence has been shattered, is he playing like a man on WFC’s Death Row? Injury to Peter Hawkins, just what we need I don’t think.
Where to improve: Play Gayle as a winger if he is to play, he just doesn’t cut it anywhere else. Give Robbo and/or Agyemann a decent run-out. Get somebody to replace Ardley. Find out the person who drastically altered Trond over the summer and kill him. Invest in some voodoo witch doctors to improve our injury problems (just why do we get so many injuries?). Defence needs to concentrate a bit more for the whole 90 minutes, we definitely looked shaky at times still. Need width in defence.
Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) The PNE mascot of an, erm, duck. Or is it a sheep? (2) The 200 year old Preston fan living on borrowed time who described JH as “sheet” outside. No, I’ve no idea what it means either, I guess it’s old Lancastrian dialog for “good player, lacking in fitness”. Probably. (3) The journey home on Virgin Trains, or: How To Fit 4 Trainloads Into One Train. I’ve travelled in more comfortable Vauxhall Novas. (4) Mark “I shag plastic goats” Lawrenson actually praising us on Radio Dive. (5) People booing Euell – perhaps understandably – and the team off. Strange or just plain twattish? [Insert lecture on “why you shouldn’t boo a makeshift team” here]
In a nutshell: We’re getting there.
Anyway, who wants some transfer news? OK then : the Richard Dunne saga is still just as confusing as ever. Everton say it’s off again, claiming the old personal terms thing. However, nobody else has reported on it (guess they’ve just got fed up with it), and this does seem to contradict other reports that the player has agreed terms with us. I honest wish that the whole bloody thing was sorted ASAP – if he’s coming, great. If he’s not coming, it’s too bad. But if we don’t get anything definite by Grimsby then I’m going to give up on it.
Meanwhile, nice rumour is abounding that Tony Cottee may be coming to us, after Leicester reportedly “offered” him to us. He could be what we need at the moment, he could definitely have the same impact that Mick Harford had when he first came here. Though hopefully without the same “impact” he had when he stopped playing.
Just one thought about transfers etc for tonight (still feeling the effects of exhaustion) – I can appreciate TB not wishing to panic buy, and his apparent reluctance to throw too many inexperienced players in, but we definitely need some strengthening in places. Now we’re not in the Premiership (no, I didn’t wince now I said that), perhaps TB ought to make use of his contacts and get a couple of decent players on loan. IIRC the last outfield player we got on loan was Alan McLeary when we had no fit CBs at the club. It certainly wouldn’t hurt, we won’t have to pay wages and it might shake up in various positions too…
Oh, and JFK got into trouble with a copper in Dublin at about 4am. At least he wasn’t doing anything out of character 🙂