THERE'S no point in saying ‘Ignore the league table until 10 games have been played’. We all look at it, but the season has hardly started, and is decided over 46 games, not four. A win or defeat can move a side eight or 10 places.
Having missed good opportunities to win the game against Oldham and having toyed with Notts County but still lost, we slogged it out with impressive Doncaster and lost to a solitary goal.
Encouragingly, the Gilbey and Moncur central midfield axis looking full of promise, with both players showing the full range of ability needed in the middle of the pitch. They have energy and the mobility to get them to situations. Lacking only experience, they should only get better.
Left back Ben Gordon needed pre-season and a few competitive games to get him lean and up to pace, but now it is obvious why we snapped him up as soon as he became available. A feather in the cap of the chief scout, who knew all about Ben from his young days at Chelsea and kept him on the radar.
On the wrong side of the touchline, Sanchez Watt and Drey Wright are important to our attacking plans, as specialist wide men, with the X factor to cause brilliance. We will look more potent the sooner both are match fit after injury. We need them, as defenders hate facing players who do everything at pace.
Without pace we risk getting bogged and too static, and it doesn’t make good entertainment. Sanchez and Drey are players who enable us to open up and be expansive which is exactly what the management is striving for. Both were due to play in the development squad at Crystal Palace on Tuesday, but the game was postponed, with hopes of a swift rearrangement.
No player at the club is more popular and respected by the fans than Jabo Ibehre. His domination of the end-of-season awards in the last two years shows that. He should be brimming with confidence and belief, but perhaps he isn’t, or else he would have taken on a shot on the angle, half way through the second half last Saturday against Doncaster.
Instead of shooting, Jabo pulled the ball back and possession was lost, Doncaster streaked to the other end and scored within a couple of minutes. If Jabo had converted a first half chance from a similar position at Notts County four days earlier instead of having his shot saved by Roy Carroll’s legs, perhaps he would have taken a potshot against Doncaster. It was a lesson in the need for indestructible self-belief.
Darren Ferguson’s Peterborough side roll into town tomorrow. It is a chance for the lads to put everything right, with last year’s thrilling League win against big spending Posh still fresh in mind.
Last year our performance was explosive, as was Ferguson Junior’s reaction to a foolhardy journalist asking him if he had read Sir Alex’s autobiography! He got a taste of the hairdryer. Let’s hope tomorrow’s fireworks are confined to the pitch.