Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Pushing On Part One

Tonight The Blades travel to Gillingham, and after the jubilation of Sunday one thing we can not afford is a cup hangover, we need to build on momentum, we need to make sure our best foot is forward, because this bottom four business is really starting to get serious now. Yes we have games in hand but look how that worked out last time, game congestion is an understatement, and Arsene Wenger should now and forever stop moaning until he has the schedule we are going to have over the next few weeks. Cup games, postponements, rain and mud these are the factors that have lead us to this point, this moment, and it is a moment where we can just fall down and die, claim its to hard and give in, or we can take a lesson from Sunday, we can give it everything, we can do everything to turn it around, but to do this we need everything to go right.

First of all the players, we need to avoid changing a winning squad, and the last one to win in League competition did not have Michael Doyle in it, and this is a trend I would like us to continue, the man has no god given right to march straight back into the team, he offers nothing with the exception of blunders, and his actions warrant further punishment if previous policy and fairness is to be observed.  This being said I also
believe that George Long Should remain down the pecking order. Mark Howard was criticized by myself after his performance against Rotherham early in the season, but since forcing his way into the squad he has looked safe, confident and is genuinely playing out of his skin, I feel a lot more comfortable with the ex Arsenal shot stopper between the sticks. He has given us what George has failed to this season, he has caught crosses, bossed around the back four, showed strength and composure, and yes I understand George is still young but with the season we are having we can not expect mistakes to be ignored due to age. Mark Howard wears number one, and this in my book is where he should stay for the rest of the season.

Now lets look at some of the other essential players, these are members of the team if in all honestly we will struggle without.

Harry Maguire

The young centre half has been instrumental for us not just this season but at least the last three, he has shown despite his age he is an integral part of the set up within the squad, surely in years to come a future club captain. Without him we will struggle at the back, no disrespect to other defenders but Harry has made so many match saving challenges, marked opposition threats out of the game, he is possibly the most important piece of the puzzle. And just in case I forgot to mention the lad isn't a bad footballer, he isn't a hoof ball leave you in a heap centre half, he can dribble, he plays useful balls up field, he can contribute to an attack, all these factors and more mean if we have any chance of going on a winning run we need him.

John Brayford

The loan signing from Cardiff has made an immediate impact, he is everything we were not getting from McMahon, confident and not without pace going forward, composed on the ball, good with the ball at his feet. He is hard to get past, he is always looking to win back a ball from the opposition and that is refreshing, usually this side of the pitch is exposed due a stand off attitude, but with Brayford this is not the case. When he does win back the ball its not just hit it hard and high up the pitch, he looks round, he uses intelligence to turn defense into attack, something we have missed since Matt Lowton was sold to Aston Villa. Unfortunately for us Brayford will not be here forever, more is the pitty when you consider who would play there without him, but whilst he is here he is going to be playing a big part, and rightly so as without him we could be doomed. 

Ryan Flynn & Jamie Murphy

These two players are the definition of in form, both have received heavy criticism over the last few seasons, but look at them since Nigel Clough has arrived, each and every game they are involved in they make the attack tick. Neither is scared to run at their opponents, the are using the newly acquired confidence to threaten any player who dares try and stand in their way, and if they don't get past the first time they just keep going and going. Jamie Murphy a player who was regarded at first as a striker is now making the wing his own. Spotting others in good positions whether he is cutting inside and having a go himself or spotting a teammate lying in wait he knows how to get the ball from his feet to the back of the net. This brings us to Flynn, criticized heavily for being to weak, to defensive, to slow he has finally silenced his doubters, how by playing a blinder, by being a man on fire. Whether it is a defender from League One or a Premiership full back this lad is determined that his is getting past them, and he is. If they can keep this form going and if they can both stay fit they will be the focal point of our attacks and they will leave every defender they come across frustrated.

Jose Baxter

This lad just looks dangerous, he wants to attack, he wants to push forward and he wants to score. Whilst he is not an out an out striker he is a goal scorer, and with his technical ability and drive he is a player we rely on to make magic happen, and with him in the team we can cause problems to any team. One thing we need to do is keep Baxter fit, if we can do this we can rely on him to do damage to teams, frustrate them, cause them real problems. With Baxter making his runs and always looking for that chance, for that moment where a game can be tipped on its head he is an integral part of any future success we will be a part of. It is af vital importance that Baxter is kept fit, whether that means he becomes a forty five minute player for more winnable games and relied on for the full ninety in tougher tests is the real dilemma. But one we will have to find the solution to sooner rather than later.

In Part Two we will look at some of teh unsung hero's and x factors we need to Push On.

-Jonathan Gascoigne

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