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Any Old Iron

Well, if Scunthorpe need an incentive for the replay…..

Cup draws when they’re like this are always difficult to get your head around, aren’t they? We have the small matter of a replay at Glanford Park (and typically, your editor has timed it so he can’t go to it), and if we get through it will be against a team who will be looking for revenge over us.

So, can we do it on the 22nd? In all honesty, I don’t know. By the sound of things yesterday, and in the absence of anyone sending me a couple of lines on it, we did well for the draw but don’t seem to have much firepower up front.

Some have said that Scunny were a bit more wily, able to brush us off the ball without the referee doing much, and forced Seb into one/many good save(s), stuff you would expect from a team a division higher, really. And as is often the case in these sort of contests, you expect the lower ranked side to have won it at home for them to progress.

That said, it is the FA Cup, and perhaps the welcome return of Terry Brown (and with it full time coaching) will give us that massive boost we need? Speaking of our manager, I found these comments interesting : maybe he hasn’t entirely approved of the way Stuart Cash and Simon Bassey have gone about things in his absence…

While it’s to their credit that they’ve stopped us conceding (which is something TB’s approach has yet to fathom out properly, at least in L2), we do seem to be a bunch of eunuchs up front recently. In the past, our forward line has bailed us out of games and has got us points we maybe shouldn’t have earnt.

Obviously you want both, but in the absence of that right now what’s better? A team that goes for the goalless draw at the expense of anything meaningful up front, and will be fucked if it concedes, or a side that is geared to getting  goals but will more than likely let them in at the back?

I think having seen both approaches in action this season I prefer the latter. We would have certainly beaten Barnet with it, and it might have given us the confidence boost we so urgently need right now. Yes, it’s a real pisser to have games like Brizzle Rovers and Crawley, but at least it forces you to evaluate how strong (or not) we are in defence and midfield. We may be (slowly) improving at the back, but if Swindon on Tuesday was anything to go by, we’re still painfully lacking elsewhere.

Injuries never help, of course, and poor Kieran D must be wondering if he’s shagged the same witch that MMK has. On the plus side, hopefully we’ll see Charlie A get a few more games under his belt. Poor Jack Midson seems to be carrying half the team on his shoulders right now (and why did he go off yesterday?) and Jolley still blows hot and cold too often.

So in other words, we’re back to where we were before TB went on compassionate leave.

A quick glance at the remaining fixtures this month suggests how much we could have done with beating Barnet – we all know about Scunthorpe and Swindon, and Burton won’t be too easy either. It’s possible that by the time we play Accrington at KM we’ll have gone seven games without a win, which is the form of relegated teams.

It could go the other way, of course. It was just over a month ago that we were beating Gillingham and Morecambe, and we’re due a good run again. Imagine what beating Swindon on Saturday would do to our frame of mind going into Scunny. And while I haven’t been to as many games as I have hoped recently, there does seem a little bit of a frustrated vibe around the place right now.

I don’t think it’s as bad as the Ryman days, where the tension throughout the place was notable, but there were reports of a couple of players mouthing off at each other during the game yesterday. When you’re not winning, and especially when you’ve been used to being successful for just short of a decade, it can be hard to adjust to being ordinary at the best of times.

One suspects it’s starting to happen off the pitch a little bit too, especially with regards the JS’s continued (un)suitability and the usual silence over anything tangible over an increasingly vital new stadium (and I don’t think Erik Samuelson’s “massive if” comment helps on that score).

Football puberty? Realities of the Football League finally biting us in the arse? Something deeper? One thing is certain, we don’t half need a morale-boosting victory from somewhere.

Still, that’s something for TB to get his teeth into again now he’s back. In the nicest possible way, his absence has done us a favour as it’s proven that if and when he does move on, we’re going to need to be better throughout the entire management team as well as the squad. Having a part time assistant manager doesn’t seem to work in the Football League, and we got to see the improvement in our playing squad when they went full time.

Of course, if we start having a decent run in the FA Cup…