We are three games into the new season and we have a full set of results, W-L-D.
A nervous but ultimately successful afternoon against Cambridge on opening day was quickly followed by Charlton pushing us off the Carabao Cup train; Swindon posed us plenty of problems, aided and abetted by the linesman but we might look back and value that away point.
It’s early, it’s really early but we’re already off to a better start than last season and I don’t want to tempt fate but I think everything is going to be ok forever.
I had worries that while other teams have been extensively reengineering their teams adding quality and numbers to their beleaguered squads; we’ve, in the main, have decided to run out the same team (except for two of most talented players).
Again it’s early, extremely early, but we’ve looked particularly good. Although we still love to punt the ball into the right hand channel for the constantly bobbling head of David Wheeler, last season this was mixed in with attempts at intricate passing triangles just outside the opposition box. These would sometimes lead to a player breaking free and cutting back to a waiting striker, rushing midfielder. From what little we’ve seen, a new directness has entered our gameplay. Reid and McAlinden look ready to run the ball and beat their defender rather than rondo our way into attacking areas.
This leads to a more frantic style of play and might test the nerves of supporters over the season but without our attacking pivot Watkins we needed to adjust and maybe can’t control the game as much as we would’ve previously aimed for.
Our depth chart still looks thin at certain positions, especially Right Back where the indomitable Sweeney can’t be expected to carry the load all season. Tillson, though an admirable runner and destroyer in midfield, looks lost with the ball. Though when the combination of Tillson, James and Taylor clicks we look both defensively solid and threatening moving forward.
Lincoln will pose problems on Saturday. They have money which they have used to strengthen their team over the summer but they have two points from two games. But we have Sparkes so that’s an easy three points for us then and a long trip home for Lincoln.
Again it’s early, extremely early but we seem to have continued our form from the end of last season, apart from that crushing loss. The squad looks dialled in and no one can dispute that Tisdale has the experience to guide us to the upper half of the table. So everything’s looking great and will continue to look that way for the foreseeable future.
Epilogue: A note on Ryan Harley
I know there’s not a lot of love for Harley but what he brings is an experience and composure on the ball that we sometimes lack. I wouldn’t be surprised that given his injury record and the creeping, ticking clock of the ageing process, Harley becomes a impact sub after 60mins, when we want to calm things down as opposition teams press.
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