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A headline I hope I don’t have to write again after the game tomorrow.

It’s fair to say, as we are set to face the trip to west Sussex, that these last couple of days haven’t been a nice one.

Losing to Mansfield might have been avoidable, equally it may not have been.

But the 21/22-esque collapse has affected our collective moods in a way I never thought would return.

At a stroke, the play-offs are already written off by everyone. Lower mid-table at best beckons.

Hell, a couple have even seriously suggested we will be fighting relegation again, and we’d best prepare for it.

It’s currently August 19th.

I will put that down to the PTSD from last season, that Mansfield were a better side than we gave credit for, and that some people enjoy performative gloom.

But we need to get that horrible taste out of our collective mouths PDQ.

I’m not sure what to make of tomorrow, and if I was given the choice right now I’d honestly accept a 0-0 bore draw.

It won’t be the entertainment-fest some demand, but rather that than the seven goal “thriller” on Tuesday.

As said earlier, it’s August 19th today and we’re already back to too much of the previous campaign.

This despite a new manager, new assistant, a new strike force, some legitimate experience at the back and a lower division.

As tempting as it is to suggest this, Rob Tuvey is not a witch. There’s something else causing this in our DNA.

How we affect that I don’t know, but in quite a wide ranging interview yesterday, JJ said this:


There’s a lot of conversations going on. I have an idea of what I would like to happen but it doesn’t look like anything is going to happen before the weekend. We’re working as hard as ever to improve the squad.

We’ve got one-and-a-half weeks to make the final decisions for now until January, including what to do with McCormick.

It’s quite an interesting interview reading it in full. He’s obviously not going to tell you everything, but perhaps his reaction isn’t to over-react to Mansfield?

You will have noticed that the club has finally – finally – given an update on Kyle Hudlin.

There, wasn’t so difficult to tell the “club owners” he has a groin injury and is back at Hudderfield, was it?

It might have been written after a 4h journey late on Tuesday night, but I remain correct about my views on Wednesday about the club’s comms.

And sadly I expect it to be the case for a good while to come.

Actually, Hudlin might not return from the John Smith’s Stadium, his groin injury might be a “groin injury”, IYSWIM.

We’ll have to wait and see. But he hasn’t impressed in his two (or is it three?) cameos so far, and him getting injured so soon isn’t a good sign.

We’ll also have Chris Gunter back, after his red card on Tuesday was rescinded.

If he hadn’t been sent off in the first place, would we have still lost? Probably yes, but his dismissal definitely changed things.

Perhaps they should charge the Mansfield player for pretending to be a Russian soldier in Ukraine too?

Better still, give that ref a three match ban instead. No wonder Nigel Pearson went on one this week.

I don’t want to labour on Tuesday any more than necessary, but one final thought struck your editor yesterday.

Remember when Louis van Gaal took over Yernited, and early on in his first season they lost 5-3 at Leicester?

They went 2-0 up at one stage too, before a collapse that we managed to mirror at Field Mill.

After that, he went very defensive which while it saved them led to some very dull football at Old Trafford.

I wonder if JJ will go down that same path with us? If so, prepare for more games like Hartlepool away with preferably the same result.

He hinted above that we’re still in the market, and this week has probably made his mind up.

As for tomorrow, I suppose it’s nice to be back at the Broadfield Stadium. As it stands your editor is attending, and there’ll be a report Sunday if so.

Crawley see us as rivals** and the Conference title race with Steve Evans was admittedly quite tasty.

They never got Danny Kedwell though.

** – though when I covered a game down there about 3/4 years ago, I found out it’s mainly due to them not having a “proper” local foe, and there is a little bit of history between us.

I expect they’re still pissed off we got shown live on Sky Sports first game of 2011/12 and they didn’t.

It’s good that there will be 1200 of us officially there tomorrow, and if the tickets aren’t sold out already they will be by the time you read this.

One thing is guaranteed though. If we’re 2-0 up at any stage tomorrow, watch 90% of the away end flee to the exit in panic…

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