I have to say, on reflection, we have delivered our fans a good number of performances in the Christmas period to make sure they went into the New Year confident that their club would gain promotion come the end of the season. The month got off to a very good start with us carrying on our good run of form in the league with a win against Scunthorpe United. This was followed by progressing to the coveted third round of the FA Cup after a below par performance against Northampton Town. We were solid defensively but we didn’t show the difference in quality at the other end of the pitch. However, we did make up for this by putting in a much improved performance against Bradford City in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. This is the domestic cup competition which I have set my eyes on winning. The final has pitted us against a difficult Barnsley side with it being played over two legs. I am quietly confident of our chances despite the first leg being away.
The next game is one that I wish to forget. Yeovil Town showed why they are vying for the play-off spots and it gave an indication that they certainly haven’t given up the fight for the automatic spots that us and Walsall have occupied for a while now. The other loss didn’t do Bristol City’s chances of a play-off spot any harm with a very impressive two nil win against us. Both Yeovil and Bristol were deserving of their wins and it was an important six point’s loss. Simply beating the clubs around us will give the lads a boost of confidence that we can perform against the clubs in and around us in the league and come away with all three points on offer.
What I worry about when looking to the future, which could involve a promotion, is that the likes of Duane Holmes, despite him having an amazing first season with us, won’t be up to the standard to play in the Championship. I am confident that if with us having Championship status we will be able to look to the loan market and get in quality players; however, that really isn’t fair on the players who have got us there. With the poor training facilities on offer, the players’ attributes are only increasing by playing in games. This means the majority of the players’ attributes aren’t going up like I would have hoped, surely resulting in them not being good enough for the next step up. However, one thing we do have is team spirit and that can go a long way to gaining success against the odds.
Player of the Month – Duane Holmes