Heading into this Sky Bet Championship we were expected to suffer defeat after defeat and be destined for a long hard relegation battle like the club first were entangled in when I took over the helm. However, with a number of players being adding to the club (and quality ones at that), the deadwood being sent packing, new backroom staff being brought in, we have the making of a very good club that will continue to grow in the future. I have recently signed a new contract that will see me at the club for the next two seasons and with how this current season has gone so far, I intend to see out this contract. Although, it will be difficult if a bigger club does come knocking to turn them down; on the other hand, I really do believe we have the making of a great club that can compete at the highest level and we have shown this in our first month in the Championship.
I admittedly do read the hints and tips you are given when the game is simulating and one that appears constantly is the idea to give players time to gel when new additions are made to the squad. I do like this approach, but with several players joining it was essential to get them embedded into the squad as soon as possible and performing to the ability that they have. Every single newcomer has been given game time so far (apart from young goalkeeper Steve Short) and they have not disappointed. Michael Kightly has put in some impressive performances when he has come off the bench and Gabriele Perico has been able to keep Ryan McLaughlin out of the first team with a string of impressive defensive displays. The star newcomer would have to be the clubs new captain, Jack Collison; he has been instrumental in our wins so far this season and it is vital that he stays fit for the duration of the season. Only being 28 years of age he has a number of years of playing ahead of him and I hope he sees out his career with us.
Players that showed promise last season have continued their good form; McFadzean, Williamson, Fernandez and Ugwu have shown that they are not going to let newcomers push them out of the squad. Overall the team has huge potential with young players being given game time to help ensure Notts County can challenge for honours in the future (it may be the distant future but it is still possible).
The only concerns I have at the moment are the injuries we have picked up so far. Ryan McLaughlin, who we acquired from Huddersfield Town, is out for the next 3 to 5 weeks with a torn hamstring. Part of me is surprised it isn’t for longer. Thankfully Scougall will only miss two weeks of game time due to a groin strain. These two injuries have highlighted the need for improvements to be made to the physio department. I feel that we have a solid team that needs little improvement for the duration of this season and possibly the next. This will allow me to invest in the backroom staff, specifically the scouting and physio teams in order to ensure that they provide the best possible service for a club that I have high ambitions for.
Player of the Month – Jak Alnwick