So after Leeds’ 3-2 defeat on Tuesday we are in the same position in which we concluded the last campaign. Is this where we all expected? Well before the season started I predicted a 5th place finish on The Scratching Shed but that was dependent on this ‘imminent’ takeover going through. Without it we will obviously struggle but personally I thought we’d be doing slightly better than we are doing right now. I have mentioned many times before that our squad is average at best and it is certainly too small to mount a promotion challenge. But the injuries to Paul Green, David Norris and more recently Ross Mccormack and Luciano Becchio have depleted it even more. Whilst players like Davide Somma and Leigh Bromby have been out since the season begun. There is no doubt in my mind that we have been unlucky with injuries for a few seasons now and it’s just our luck that with the smallest squad I can remember for some time, we have suffered an even higher volume of injuries than in recent seasons.
But they say one man’s misfortune is another man’s opportunity and these injuries have allowed youngsters to come through and flourish. Dominic Poleon and Sam Byram have come into the team and settled in immediately. Whilst Poleon has only had fleeting appearances, young Byram has become a permanent fixture in the first team and has churned out consistently impressive performances whether that be at right back or on the wing. His goal against Oxford in the cup showed maturity beyond his years and he evidently has confidence in abundance. His finish was composed and outrageous at the same time. If he carries on in the same vein, I believe he will become a very valuable player for us in the future, if he isn’t already, so hands off Norwich. Poleon will no doubt be starting games more often after the recent injuries to the forward line, starting with Forest on Saturday. I hope he can start scoring some goals that his energy and evident skill deserve.
As for the games we have already played, five of the six teams we have played are in the top 8 with bottom of the league Peterborough being the other team in question. First game of the season against Wolves was a great result and in my opinion a very solid performance, the injury to Green being the only sour point that day. Our loss to Blackpool was coming all game as they well and truly dominated the game, but it was still a shame we couldn’t hold onto our slender lead. The victory over Peterborough wasn’t that convincing to be honest but the victory was still deserved. The game against Blackburn was a thriller and it was one I didn’t think we would get anything out of when we went 2-0 down early on. But the lads fought back and showed great character to bring it back and go in front. The back heel surprised everyone and there’s certainly an argument that the free kick leading up to the goal shouldn’t have been. Diouf could and maybe should have won it at the end and with that goal we would be ninth currently. As for Cardiff, I never expected anything as we haven’t beaten them in 28 years and to be honest we didn’t deserve the three points but we could have certainly drawn the game. Bellamy’s free kick was brilliant but Michael Tongue didn’t have to commit the foul, whilst I don’t think it was a penalty for their second goal. The defending in the Hull game was reminiscent of last season and all in all it was a depressing night, with Poleon being really the only shining light.
So all in all we could have and maybe should have got all three points against Blackburn and without a silly mistake and a contentious refereeing decision against Cardiff could have got a point and maybe all three. You need a little bit of luck in this game and we certainly aren’t getting a fair share of it at the minute. With this takeover still chugging away in the background, I hope it is completed fairly soon, so that Warnock can get whatever is left available. If it is completed then hopefully Warnock can keep us in contention until January when we can hopefully strengthen the squad and maybe mount a promotion challenge. However until it materialises, I can’t see us challenging this season, with our threadbare squad and mounting injuries. Let’s hope these rumours of completion this week are correct and we can finally start thinking about football once again, after all, that’s what everyone else is doing.