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All change, please

I know that the club is doing anything it can to take our minds of THAT game, but I didn’t expect what happened today 😉

So, welcome back both Neal Sullivan and Kieran Djilali. The former is here for a short term loan, and the latter is presumably just about injury free enough for him to get his customary couple of games out of him.

The news about Sully is the big one, though ironically the one about Kieran D might be the more jaw-dropping of the two. In Sully’s case, it’s one that works out for all parties right now.

He’s been on the bench for Doncaster, he’s obviously still got enough to offer a League Two side, and let’s be blunt here – he can’t make any more clangers than Seb has done recently.

At 42, it’s a bit of a risk, but it’s not like he’s a long term solution. Even if we get enough out of him between now and the time he goes back oop Norf, in January, it would have given us enough time to properly think through the goalkeeper situation.

It would be ironic if Sully pushes Seb onto the bench, considering he was SB’s hero growing up. What this means for our current (?) number one is unclear, but it’s pretty obvious things couldn’t have continued as they were.

Will Sully stay on longer and act as a new goalkeeping coach/mentor for Seb? It’s obvious he needs the guidance that for whatever reason Paul Priddy is unable to provide. One wonders just exactly what went on in the summer that meant we ended up shunting out the keeper we had for the WHU game – I forget his name, but he was as solid as any keeper in the AFCW era – but meant we signed Ruiz presumably for peanuts.

But then, there are so many things that went on last summer that we’ll never know about.

What is clear is that NA has seen something at the back that he’s not happy with, and at least for now has done something about it. Sully coming to us is clearly a favour being pulled, but if we look more assured at the back because of him, he’s going to be worth it.

This news should have been the jaw-dropper, but it almost seems matter-of-fact compared to Djilali returning for at least three months. I’ve got to be honest here, and admit that I wasn’t upset when he was part of the 14-player cull in the summer. In fact, here’s what I wrote about him when it was announced :

Kieran Djilali: Injury prone, and when he gave it the big one to Marcus Gayle in full sight of everyone at the LSC, his card was always marked. Talented and promising, but then so are many others at this level and below.

Well, he’s got a second chance with us, and hopefully enough has been learned for him to take it.

It seems as though he’s been training with us anyway, or so we’re told anyway, and presumably N&N have seen enough of him to at least take a short term chance on him. Or at least seen enough of him in the treatment table ;)  If he does overcome his injury issues, and if he responds better to our new management team, then great. We need to do something about the wing positions, and this could be falling on our lap at the right time.

While you do suspect – or fear- that KD’s injury problems will eventually force him to retire early, it does put into serious question what happens to Christian Jolley. NC has confirmed he’s gone on loan to Newport, and although he was linked with Pompey earlier this week, it does look like we won’t see too much more of him.

To be honest, if he did go, we won’t really miss him. He was another player who failed to step up when required, and given that N&N don’t have the loyalty to him, he hasn’t done enough to justify staying around.

With the rumour mill suggesting that Louis Harris could be on the (temporary?) out-list too, it’s clear that we’re not waiting for January to shake things up. Sully and KD may be loanee and out-of-contract type signings, but they are different and they are at least attempts to patch up two sorely lacking parts of the field.

And who knows, we might hit gold with them and not need to worry so much about what January brings?

All of this makes the important match against Aldershot tomorrow even more of a must-see game. It’s obviously important as your editor will be in the press box for the nationals (and will mean there will be no SW19 report until Sunday. Mind you, with the way things have gone this week I don’t need work to find that scuppered…). And with you-kn0w-what being an unhelpful distraction, we could really do with the three points tomorrow.

While I think we’re heading in the right direction anyway, we really do need to finally win one of these sort of games by about 3-0 or 4-0. We did it last week against York in the League, and to repeat that trick will be some vindication of NA’s approach. Not to mention it will start putting a slightly-more-healthy points gap between us and the bottom two.

Oh, and the confidence boost it will give.

In fact, ignore the circus that the 2nd December is becoming. We’ve got a good chance to make our January plans a bit more measured this next week and a couple of days. Shots tomorrow, Sarfend on Tuesday and a chance to repeat what we did at Morecambe last season. Remain unbeaten in all of those games, and we’re well on the way.

And a bit sooner than we might have done.

Bizarrely, it does feel that the pressure is off us for the next three games, even though they are a hundred times more important than you-know-what in the grand scheme of things. That can work in one of two ways, needless to say, but if nothing else a loss tomorrow will make us re-focus again very quickly…