As promised/threatened, a pre-Burton update on Friday.
It says something about our slump in form that it was partly the reason I couldn’t be bothered to write up Rotherham.
OK, a late journey back and the lingering Worst Cold Ever (TM) also contributed, but it just proves how quickly things can change.
A fortnight ago today, we were on the cusp of playing Plymouth and looking forward to it.
Fast forward two weeks, and your editor’s worst fears of losing all the games since then has come to pass.
When you’re actively glad that the Franchise game is off because of international callups, you know something’s up.
Before I go on, a quick resume of Rotherham, as I did a) bother to go, and b) make a couple of notes.
We got better when we were 2-0 down and put on Hartigan, because we were otherwise weak.
Pressley (whose old man was in our end) might have had a penalty, but there was something inevitable about the Millers going ahead.
Of course, we had a chance via Rudoni, who managed to put it wide.
From then on, there was more chance of finding fuel at your nearest Sainsbury’s filling station than us getting back into it.
Other than that, not much more needs to be said really. Except they play Frank Sinatra’s “New York” song.
Oh, and they have a sponsor called “Eric Twigg’s Foods”. You just know he’s fat, drives a Rolls Royce, smokes cigars and plays the professional Yorkshireman…
But it’s back to London SW17 tomorrow, and what has already become the first must-not-lose game of the season.
Tomorrow won’t relegate us, but we’ve badly got to get something out of Burton.
Do that, and at least we’ll stop the freefalling. Because right now, that’s what we’re doing.
And having watched us on Tuesday, this is a squad that has suddenly lost its way very quickly.
It doesn’t help when Palmer is on the treatment table, and one wonders if his desire to play Arsenal has left a bit of a sour taste in the camp.
As somebody else put it this week, he can put his feet up and watch their game at Brighton tomorrow.
Pressley is basically a lad doing a man’s job right now, and playing him up front allein just doesn’t work.
It was no coincidence that we started playing a bit better at Rotherham when he had some support.
Robbo isn’t under pressure – at least, not from external forces – but this is the first time we’ve lost three league games in a row under him.
I found the following post-match comment from him intriguing:
I said to the lads tonight that we looked like a Papa John’s Trophy Under-23 side playing against a very good team that could go straight back up to the Championship.
Perhaps our biggest problem of all is that we simply can’t rotate effectively enough.
Four games in three weeks has been tough anyway, and unlike last season where we had the momentum – we’ve slumped very quickly.
That’s a squad depth issue, which is ultimately a funding issue. Which is something that’s usually self-inflicted.
But we are where we are, and we’ve got more than enough time to do something about it.
Tomorrow would be a good time to do that.
Burton won’t be easy, although their game against Pompey** was the first time they’ve won since August.
** – which is where your editor will be tomorrow. They’re playing Sunderland, which will be fun.
Should we go behind, or even find ourselves a couple of goals down – I wonder if tomorrow will be the first time we see the crowd getting on our players’ backs?
The euphoria of returning home is wearing off quickly, we’re in the hangover stage of things, and we could legitimately be looking at our fifth loss in a row by 5pm tomorrow.
We’re a generally supportive bunch, perhaps too lenient sometimes, but we have a tolerance level just like anyone else.
This is a young squad, and one that won’t be used to having a crowd that is starting to get on top of them.
There’s a surefire way of getting the supporters onside, however. I just wonder if we’re able to do it…