Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Another blank in front of 2000 fans

Another zero -zero. One goal in four games but the bigger concern is we are creating very little. Yesterday's high point going forward would appear to have been "an inswinging cross." Dillon Phillips was man-of-the-match by all accounts keeping us in at as Ipswich hit the woodwork three times. We are playing one up front which relies upon a creative midfield and pace to join the attacker. We appear to lack both. Central defence remains a concern despite clean sheets and we simply have to bring in another keeper as an absolute minimum.

Jason Pearce from Wigan may fit the defensive need but with competition from other clubs, I'd be surprised if he chose us. The irony here is that there is a strong rumour Texeira may be leaving, which will leave an even bigger hole. Katrien Meire told the Fans Forum that no-one else would be leaving unless they didn't fit Russell's plans. Hard to imagine Tex would fit in that category, altjough he would command a fee and hasn't been playing so my assumption is he is being safe-guarded so they can foog him. Oscar Gobern has been linked with midfield and is currently training with us but he's hardly a pulse-racing option.

Russell Slade must be very frustrated. Keen to make an impression when the season kicks off, he has already called out squad size and quality weaknesses. Dillon Phillips' impending transfer to mighty Cheltenham Town has been put on hold because we unexpectedly found ourselves in a situation where we would have no goal-keeper - sounds very much like the clamour to recoup lost revenues is driving the playing agenda. With eight working days to kick-off we still "need five or six." Katrien Meire was asked at the Fans Forum the other evening about the squad size and said it was premature to judge, which suggests others are in the pipeline but questions will still remain about quality and about readiness to start a new season with potentially half the side new to each other, assuming we actually bring that many in. The overall feeling you get is that there is no urgency or ambition about this season. The main aim is cost cutting and 'competitiveness in League One' looks like the ambition, not promotion. On that basis they may well use the first few results as a marker to decide on whether or not to make any costlier transfer decisions. Prepare to continue to be under-whelmed.

Slade would like to have a settled squad by now and be getting first team game time in the pre-seasons. Instead he's having to consider every option - he finished last night's match with seven youngsters playing.

The situation around the team doesn't look great either. The pitch was looking patchy yesterday, final confirmation from the Fans Forum that the Training Ground redevelopment is two years behind schedule (suggests nothing much has really happened). I can see this becoming a managed delay so no significant Roland expenditure will ever be forghcoming unless he can realize similar value from our sale price - sold 'with planning permission.' They have brought in two new medical staff and commentary from La Meire seeemd to suggest that last season's high injury rate wasn't managed well by the medical team we had - something that I believe was denied previously.

Oh, and they are looking for another Communications Manager! This, at least, promises more amusement and hilarity as the season progresses. Katrien will need to to get the balance of this appointment just right. Competent and affordable whilst nowhere near as assertive or ambitious as the last appointment. They simply can't afford yet another PR disaster. Especially as Russell Slade is already shaping up to be a shrewd operator and one who isn't going to be sold short or stick to a Regime script.

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