Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Pushing On Part Two

To read part one please follow the link below-
Pushing On Part One

One of the biggest factors we will need for any future success will be in the dug out, we need Nigel and his staff to make tough decisions, we need them to utilize the talent we have properly, no one player in the team as a right to be on the team sheet regardless of performance, one instance of this is George Long, he wasn't performing to a high enough standard and rightfully so he was dropped. Unfortunately this isn't something that is consistent throughout and players giving sub par performances have been picked despite this. What we also need to do is avoid knee jerk reactions, to many times have we seen the team take a one or two goal lead and suddenly change emphasis from attack to defend. One thing we desperately need is to absolutely thump another team, beat them by a large margin of goals, it will boost confidence and help momentum shift in our favour. But this can not be achieved when we suddenly decide we should sit back and grind out a one goal lead at home.

Unsung Heroes

Neil Collins

Neil often takes criticism for not being good enough, I would like to examine this claim. Neil isn't a quick
player, technically he isn't the best footballer in the team, does he make mistakes, yes but who in the team doesn't. But does he make as many mistakes as certain other players, no, no where near. He is a strong battling player who gives everything he has each game, yes other players under scrutiny do the same but they are not centre half's. Neil has the job of cleaning up and dealing with quick pacey forwards, tall stocky target men, poaching strikers and he dies this week in week out, will he win every battle of course not no one person can win every battle, he has to be that last line and he does not get enough praise for this. Aside from playing ability and effort Neil has had to wear the captains armband recently, and as soon as he did I noticed a huge difference. He raised his game, he lead by example and got the players into the right frame of mind, his attitude helped the team, his willingness to come out of his comfort zone and join in attacks suddenly came into focus and this is something we don't usually see from him, and when he did he played a huge part in one of our recent goals. Neil deserves a lot more praise than he gets, especially lately, and in my view should still be wearing the captains armband.

Stephen McGinn

Stephen McGinn is another player who people sometimes don't value, sometimes seen as a fringe player. But McGinn did more in the middle of the park over three games than the man he replaced has in two seasons. He is comfortable on the ball and is capable of making some sublime passes and crosses. He is not afraid to get stuck into challenges and put himself in harms way to win back possession. He is another player who also knows how to slow down the tempo of the game, assess the situation and pick out the best option, something a majority of our players sometimes struggle with. McGinn in my view should have done enough to cement his place in the team alongside loanee Conor Coady. If McGinn in correctly utilized peoples opinions will change, he will be recognized as more than a fringe player, people will realise he is an important part of this team. 


Chris Porter Super Sub

Chris Porter has many faults, he will never be the first choice goal scorer we so desperately need. But one thing we can rely on is one hundred percent effort the moment he walks on the pitch, so it makes sense. Instead of giving it all for ninety minutes, being exhausted and sussed out by the opposition after fifty minutes, utilise him as an impact substitution. The rest of the team will have tired legs, they will not have had a tall man to deal with. Porters fresh legs and effort will cause problems, his weaknesses will be hidden by the opposition fatigue, his strengths will be more noticeable because of the same reason and he will get vital goals because of this. Chris has gotten vital goals this season no one can deny this, but not enough from game starts. There is no shame of being Mr Super Sub, some high profile players have made a career out of it, and in my view Chris will win serve the team better coming on from the bench.

One For Next Season?? Stefan Scougall

When Nigel Clough stated that new signing Stefan Scougall was one for next season one can only believe he underestimated just how good this lad is. Like a pit bull Scougall is tenacious, he just wants to take that ball away from the opposition and never looks like giving in. He never leaves the position with more than half a yard of space, in their face and kicking at feet Scougall is never put off by the strength or build of any player. This added to the sharp bursts of pace, a confidence to beat players and find space out of nowhere leaves defenders scratching their heads and wondering what they can do to stop him. A player with his ability and obvious passion for the game is a rare find, and young Stefan Scougall will become one of our most valued key players, but I don't think we will have to wait for next season before this happens.  

Is It Finally Diego Time??

We have yet to see any ware near the amount of Diego DeGirolamo that we want to. Linked to every big club going week in week out despite a low amount of first team performances everyone wants this lad to come in and do well. After suffering a knee injury whilst on (youth) International duty he has spent the better part of nine months sidelined on crutches. But now he is back, he is on the bench and ready to go, but so far we haven't seen him on that pitch, and that is where we all want him to be. Technically gifted, sharp, agile and with a deadly strike of the ball not only do we want him on the pitch, but are we getting to the stage where we need him on the pitch? Diego needs game time and we need goals, with the likes of Gillingham, Colchester, Carlisle, Oldham, Stevenage, Tranmere and Port Vale left to play these are games that are made for him to get that game time. We have tougher games where it may not be worth taking the risk, but even in those if its time its time, and I think with the dog fight we are in, with everything at stake it is finally time to let Diego loose.

The Cup Run

Cup runs can kick start a turnaround, with the exception of Wigan who won the cup last year not many teams go down after a good cup run, the momentum the victories build can inject confidence, they can rejuvenate moral and boost a team. But within this cup run also holds a danger. Because of match congestion our season is going to be an uphill struggle, and with the proposition of a chance to visit Wembley only one game away we risk distraction. Also we risk complete moral destruction if you know who meet us in the next round and we have a disastrous game. But in circumstances like these it pays off to look in a positive light, the longer we can keep this cup run going more players will believe we can beat anyone, and as long as we stick to what we are good at the confidence of a cup run could see us over the line to survival. 

Loud And Proud

One giant factor we can not overlook is us, the fans, the ones singing our hearts out. And whilst some plastic fans only turn up to big games and sit on their hands the ones travelling the country, at The Lane every week, ripping their vocal chords to shreds to encourage their team, well it doesn't go unnoticed. Scougall has stated he has never seen anything like it when we are in full voice, he states it drives him on. Jose Baxter says when we sing the hairs on his neck stand up and he wants to give everything he has. Opposition players get caught up in the noise and switch off, we make a difference. Whilst I am not one of these fans that thinks we should never boo, and only ever say nice things and happily clap along even when we are subjected to tripe (you all know who you are) on this occasion I agree with one of their fundamental beliefs, and I have always agreed with them in regards to this, when the team is struggling they need us. This does not mean we have to be mindless and just ignore everything that goes wrong but we do need to be there week in week out, there to blow the roof off the ground with noise, to show what everything they do means to us, to drive them forward and push them on, they need us to show them exactly what this club means to us, and as long as we can do this things will improve. 

Next up is Gillingham, and like every game from now until the season draws to an end it is must win, so get ready for a hectic few weeks and twists and turns, and lets hope the team just remember "it's in our hands". 

-Jonathan Gascoigne

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