I purposely didn’t write anything after the Reading game for fear of overacting and ending up with a load of nonsense that was based on emotion rather than properly thought out analysis. Having had time to mull things over a bit and with the transfer window now closed, it is probably a good time to have a look at how things stand and what we can expect from the next few weeks and months.
Firstly Reading was awful for the large part and there can be no getting away from the fact that we struggled against what is in reality, a poor Reading team. Comparisons with last seasons team are pointless and somewhat counterproductive but it has to be said that our attacking instincts last season would have most likely seen them off with ease. We no doubt got better after Alan Mac came on and from about 60 minutes in, dominated possession without creating too many clear cut chances. A positive of the game was Lasse Vibe’s excellent goal and all round better display. The way I was forced to see it however was that a player that came into the team on 40 minutes and made us better was someone who couldn’t get into the team last year and if we are all honest is a player we expected to be on the way out. I love Alan Mac and his tenacity, and right now I think he will be vital to the mentality of the group and key to have around but it would seem in stark contrast to last season that he has become so important to us when he struggled to get game time after his injury last season.
That’s the doom and gloom out of the way. We have had a very productive transfer window with the areas of concern in the team addressed. We all knew we needed a striker and Djuricin has been on the radar for some time. Some people have already doubted him due to his poor form at Salzburg but I do think he could be the replacement for Gray that we’ve been hoping for. From what I’ve seen and read the lad has suffered from a lack of confidence recently so if he can get a fast start with us, we could be in for a treat.
Sergio Canos is someone I know nothing about but adding width in wide areas is exactly what we needed. Gogia has dipped in form since impressing early on and it’s great to be able to ease the pressure on a young lad, something we didn’t necessarily do last year. With Vibe hopefully coming into form we could have that depth in attacking options that we have wanted and his goal against Reading was top class. I like his eagerness and once he adapts properly to the English game I think he’ll be a real handful.
But of course the big issue this season already has been centre midfield. I’ve heard lots of people criticise the back four for the goals we’ve conceded but honestly, delve a bit deeper and it’s obvious that the problems are in the middle of the pitch. Dean and Tarkowski were okay against Reading, Dean in particular looked solid for me but the ease in which teams have broken through the middle is worrying. The club have now addressed that with Ryan Woods. He may not be the huge lump that we thought we needed but by all accounts he has bags of quality. That area is about finding balance, Kerschbaumer is full of running but him and Toums haven’t hit it off yet. Woods will hopefully be the sort of player that can put his foot on the ball and distribute it, someone to relieve the pressure and be in the right areas. He comes with huge potential and I’m certain he will get better with us.
The other excellent news is that Lewis Macleod is back in training. A lot has been said about him by the fans whilst almost nothing has come out of the club prior to a couple of weeks ago but if he is now making the sort of progress we hoped for than that is excellent news. With him back in contention soon, the Woods addition and Mchechran back in another 4-6 weeks or so, things will soon be starting to look rosy again. With everyone fit we would have a formidable squad but we have to play the hand we’ve been dealt and whilst the last game was disappointing it’s not the end of the world. Our next two matches are extremely tough though, Leeds and Boro away are not nice fixtures to be going into, especially after two defeats and plenty of unrest. That said, if we can stick together through those games then we enter a period of 5 very winnable fixtures. The three consecutive home games against Preston, Sheffield Wednesday and Birmingham present us with an opportunity to get some points on the board and we then go to Derby. Of course that’s tough but we did well up there last year and could be going into it off the back of some positive results, we’ve then got Rotherham at home. I would love to be doing a write up after that game saying how well Dijkhuizen is doing and how much better we look.
To achieve that though, I think it will be so important for the fans to be together. The unrest that was present since the start of the season will have been picked up on and for a team with so many changes it will surely be vital for them to feel like they’ve settled. I hope we can pull together and start to get this season moving. The one or two areas of concern have been addressed, players will start to come back from injury and confidence will again to start to flow. When it does we are going to be difficult to stop. Let’s get behind them and enjoy this season.
The BIAS blog is the space to challenge perceived wisdom, entertain readers and inform our members. The views expressed are those of the author and they don’t necessarily represent BIAS policy and (pay attention journalists) shouldn’t be attributed to BIAS.