An away draw is never a bad result. Nine points from a possible eighteen isn't a bad return. Two wins, one defeat and three draws is ok. However, none of those stats hint at a promotion campaign.
Six games is also too early to be making calls on the season but yesterday's game typified what I have been expecting since the appointment of Ben Garner and our failure to back him strongly. There is no doubt about it that we were in the game yesterday for long periods. We edged possession 60-40 and our players looked to get the ball forward whenever we had it. We defended well enough for the most part but Wycombe had 16 attempts at goal to our 9 and four of theirs were on target whereas we could only manage two. It's worth saying that Gareth Ainsworthy always puts out a team of battlers, although this crop look short on previous seasons.
Playing one-up isn't going to get us the goals, especially when the one doesn't carry a threat in possession, only when given clear headers. Rak-Sakyi scored another fine goal early on to equalise after a sublime shuffle and right-foot hammer from close range. He is an absolute junior though, having played less than ten first team matches in his fledgling career and has much learning to do this season. On the left Garner favours Charlie Kirk but he too has much to learn. It was Kirk's cross that found it's way to Rak-Skyi on the back post to score but the pair didn't do nearly enough for us to win the game. Rak-Sakyi has the confidence to attack at pace but Kirk doesn't. Far too often you can see him thinking about what to do as he slows down and is, too often, dispossessed.
The engine room of Fraser, Dobson and Morgan is busy but still isn't hurting defences nearly often enough. They appear to be more concerned about protecting our back four than attacking the oppositions'.
Ben Garner talks a good game and he is honest. I like that he is confident about his first-team preferences and in those he is currently using as replacements. That will help the team develop more quickly. Good too that we are actively trying to get the ball forward more, even if we aren't thus far able to really exploit that.
We sit in eighth place this morning looking on at a top six of Portsmouth, Ipswich, Sheff Wed, Peterborough, Plymouth and Derby, having played three of them. Not bad and no need to panic but it remains increasingly obvious that this squad is well short of Thomas Sandgaard's stated ambition of Premier League football in five years (he actually mentioned Europe but we all laughed that off). His current emphasis on cost cutting is increasingly clear and it is also becoming equally apparent that Ben Garner knows that he is playing with his hands tied behind his back. Again this week he made comments to the press that he was pleased we haven't yet seen any of the rumoured approaches for Clare or Kirk. The implication to me was that if we did, he'd expect to lose them. I'd have no problem with Kirk going but only if we brought in better and as things stand there is no surety that we would eg Conor Washington.
We have four days left in this window and once again we look on, doubting we will bring in what's needed, either in terms of numbers, key positions or quality. Putting it very bluntly, if we don't bring in at least one proven, pacey goal-scorer, it will be a blaring alarm that Sandgaard's priority is now break-even not promotion. Some people will be happy with that - 'it's his money' - but it will mean an inevitable predictability to this season that will curtail any attempts to significantly increase revenue, which will prevent any attempt to close the gap in the finances. We are already paying through the nose to follow the team and this would also raise the spectre of us selling again as soon as we get a sniff of someone else's money. As I have said, I think Garner is very well aware of that threat and if it happens, the downward cycle will continue.