No, not a reference to our transfer policy. At least, not these days…
Your editor’s brain is a bit fried by having to write 900 words on Nathan Jones returning to management this morning.
So you might have to forgive a couple of things about mentioning yesterday’s game, even more than normal.
And yes – what a game to miss.
One of the Charlton-affiliated journos said to me afterwards that the rate it’s going, we’ll be going up and they’ll be going down.
It would be some major reversal in fortunes to see that happen, although the Addicks were a bit shit.
As for what was happening at Plough Lane yesterday, I think this might be one of those ones where there’s a feeling things have clicked into place a bit.
Two goals in the first half, one from a new signing, and more attempts from another new striker who just didn’t have the luck is pleasing.
This against a side above us in the table, and have been up there all season.
The only complaints about yesterday from some was that the second half was boring, although I don’t think any game where you are worthy winners can ever be that.
It’s a bit like watching the game at Wombley against Plymouth again, and turning round to say the first half was shit.
There are many pleasing things about yesterday. A clean sheet with what is still a makeshift defence, and the second in a row.
Balmer’s VJ-esque long throws are delighting old skoolers and the new breed alike. Opposition defences aren’t so happy, mind you.
Curtis started, scored and may well be the AAH replacement we badly needed after all.
As for Josh Kelly, the most important thing is that he’s finding the positions so he can get the chances to begin with.
A certain newly-signed Ipswich player had that same problem earlier this season, lest we forget.
Once Kelly finds the net – and he will – he might well race to double figures before the campaign is out.
All in all, what is very promising is that we’ve already managed to look stronger post-transfer window.
It may be too premature to say we’ve definitely improved, although the very early signs are good.
Perhaps signing JJ (and Skiverton) to longer deals gives us that confidence to make that next step up?
We won’t be needing to worry about having to replace a boss again this close season, unless Peterborough decide to offer him something he really can’t turn down.
As said at last week’s MTM (Cope?), having the manager situation sorted may well mean players we want to offer new deals to becomes easier.
If we sign Bugiel and Little up again, it will be a very good week indeed.
So, how far can we go this season? We don’t really know, although it’s nice to think we have a legit shot at the playoffs.
It would have been unthinkable in June 2023 to say JJ would be getting a contract extension in February 2024.
Thinking we’d be just outside the playoffs on 11 February 2024 and legitimately thinking we should be higher is the same thing.
So while we shouldn’t get carried away, it won’t hurt to finally have a bit of optimism for once.
There’s a way to go yet, and the first thing we need to do is get through February and its massive slog.
There’s at least six games this month alone, and it will take its toll.
This without our first choice back line, although if you’re worried about the new players fitting in they’ll get plenty of chances.
Do that, and be relatively unscathed, then after Franchise the big crunch comes at Easter.
That’s the 29th March to the 1st April, where we face Harrogate at PL and Champions Elect (TM) Stockport on Easter Monday.
We’ll know by then whether we can get giddy, or whether the season is over and we have to motivate ourselves against Tranmere.
Last season, we were with an outside chance of the playoffs, although we all know what happened soon afterwards.
This time round, it feels different.
By writing those very words, I might have now put us on a fatal decline that sees us stay up on the last day.
But I’m going to stick a middle finger up at the Football Gods and say that’s not going to happen**.
** – feel free to go to the bookies and get your money on us collapsing.
There’s still about fifteen games left this campaign, and I still expect we’ll fade by the middle of next month.
If we don’t though, and we do have a run-in that gets us all excited? Well, maybe we’ll look back at yesterday to see where it all started…