Or not, as the case may be….
So, another postponement, and this time it was one we didn’t want to happen. Us with a bit of confidence, however fragile, and Accrington starting to look a bit like, well, us not so long ago.
Hell, even the Pools Panel gave it as an away win.
To be honest, I had a bit of a bad feeling about yesterday, however misplaced it could have been. There are still question marks about how good our forward line really is, and I’d hope that NA used this weekend to keep shopping around for somebody who knows where the net is.
Plus of course, us going to a place where we should win and end up losing is so us, isn’t it?
Anyway, it’s another game to be played with hopefully a couple more new players who have the professionalism to get us out of trouble. It has to be said though, the fixture backlog is starting to look pretty nasty for us.
To save you navigating through the OS, we play Port Vale this Thursday (perhaps), then we get ten days off. Then it goes like this…
Sat 2 Feb – Burton (h)
Tues 5 Feb – Port Vale (a)
Sat 9 Feb – Chesterfield (a)
(midweek off, bound to have the Stanley game rearranged for that week though)
Sat 16 Feb – Bradford (h)
Tue 19 Feb – Northampton (h)
Sat 23 Feb – Dagenham (a)
Tue 26 Feb – Plymouth (h)
Sat 2 Mar – Cheltenham (a)
So in the space of one calendar month, that’s eight games.
Now, that can work one of two ways. A slump in form again could prove fatal for us, and to be honest I’m glad we’ve seen some improvement this month – had we looked like we did in December, we would have been looking towards Alfreton already.
However, if we can start converting better performances into draws, and draws into wins, then we could almost be safe by March. Or at the very least in a much stronger position at the end of it.
It’s why I don’t think we’ll sell too many more players, unless the money is right. Regardless of what you think of strikers like Harrison, we’re going to need them at some point during this run. And there’s still a lingering hope that Banjo and Midson may finally work out where the goal is and make up for lost time.
See, we’re now starting to get into what is professionally known as the business end of the season. The permanent transfers are over until the close season, loanees have to actually make a difference, and all the talk of how much better we’re playing has to be put into action.
It’s now coming to put up or shut up, and we’ve had a lot of talking this season already.
I suppose having the division leaders at home on Thursday isn’t the best start, but it would be some catalyst if we could get something in front of the Sky cameras. Especially as our home form is still pretty dreadful.
And looking at the upcoming
grind fixtures, if there’s a good time to start winning at Theme Park KM (where all visitors go home happy), it’s now.
Thankfully, we are starting to see real improvement with the more professional attitude that NA is still trying to ram down the collective throats of the squad. And that would have been a job to say this time last month.
It’s interesting to see more of how NA is turning out to be, in terms of his transfer dealings and approach to dealing with the squad. The former doesn’t suggest he’s one to panic buy – the big surprise is how relatively little he’s done this January, but with the results still being decent.
We’ve had two in and one out, which is more the sign of a mid-table side rather than one currently in the drop zone. Maybe NA does have faith in this particular squad after all? Given the shit that they’ve collectively served up this season, it’s obviously a bigger leap of faith than many fans are giving.
Oh, he says he wants up to four more players in…
Reading his newspaper interviews, and even those on the OS, he seems genuinely sure he can get us out of this mess – there’s no impression that he says what he wants you to hear, nor that he’s faking knowledge, so to speak.
You do get the impression he has a plan, knows how he wants to execute it and has a determination to do it that is quite shocking. For example, naming he is after Mark Griffin when he hasn’t even spoken to the board is a brave way of doing things, although seems to be more commonplace elsewhere than it has been at AFCW.
In fact, Ardley does seem to be pushing the notion that he’s the one ultimately in charge here. Naming a player who we haven’t even discussed things with yet does suggest a “I want to rebuild this squad and get us out of trouble” approach, and one wonders if it’s aimed towards the board as much as the playing staff.
To be fair, I can’t find too many public proclamations of poverty by AFCW, although some of our fans are more than happy to go down that route. But after the Jolley transfer, the FAC money, and stories like this on the OS, playing the poverty card does sound like an excuse.
Yeah, we aren’t the richest club in this division, but our average attendances are mid-table for this division, and unlike Aldershot any external cash injection can be done on our terms. I bet other clubs in this division would love to be as poor as we are.
So obviously NA is starting to turn the screw a bit, drag a few people out of their comfort zones and make them aware just what it takes to be in the Football League in 2013. After all, this comment he made about the Wycombe game:
â€œI told them not to pat themselves on the back and say we played well, I want them to come off the pitch saying we didnâ€™t win and that is not good enough, and I am trying to create that mentality.
â€œAs much as we played well and it was a positive sign on the back of the two wins it still was not good enough.â€
Doesn’t suggest that he’s one to sit back and bask in a couple of decent results. Still, we all know that staying up isn’t going to be easy, but at least the guy in charge knows it too…
Anyway, so many links to elsewhere because really, there’s so little to say. At least Shots drew at Bootham Crescent yesterday, which helps stop too many gaps opening up. Though with the amount of games coming up, anything can happen.
One final thing which you all knew about a couple of weeks ago – the new North Stand sponsorship deal. Anyone noticed that the deal only runs until the end of the season? Leaving aside jokes about Oriental food not being fulfilling, does this hint that throughout the club there’s going to be one helluva massive shakeup in the summer?
Not that the club doesn’t need it even if we stay up, and we would certainly have to do so if the worst happened, but like the Hussey transfer, things do seem to have a short-term approach right now. Needs must, and all that, but one expects the long term planning to start this summer.
After all, I’m not sure if I want next season to look much like this one is turning out to be…