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NEW ARTICLE: The 2017 Summer Squad Upgrade and the need for Mag-nificence

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Comments

  • Congratulations Covered End, a sensible and thought provoking article.

    Agree with the thrust of your argument and in particular your thoughts on deadline day attempts for a striker.

    Personally think we have to wait 12/15 games before we can really judge them. Looking good at the moment !

    Its just that I'm a 'glass half empty' type, that way i don't get to disappointed. In particular when we lose Magennis for any time, as you have mentioned.

    My main gripe at this time is the massive and unsustainable debt we now have. It must surely be over £60 million by now? I hold our owner directly responsible for around two thirds of it.

    I will be attending future matches. Support the team not the regime !
  • Just realised I never did say, this thread has some surprisingly good reads on it. Cheers to the contributors.
  • To be honest I'm having trouble with all this gushing praise for the start we have had. Even under this mob we've had good starts only to be quickly disappointed. That's not to say I'm not enjoying the football we are playing, I am, but we've only played 5 games and may have been a little fortunate. At 2-2 against Oldham it could have gone wrong for us and after a 30 onslaught against Plymouth we lost 2-0, we had no plan B. As we go through this season teams will have worked us out prior to us talking the field, we will have to be able to play a different game, I'm not convinced we have enough or the quality players to be able to to do this.
    Our preferred starting eleven and style of play certainly looks better than last season but to think we are on the verge of a return to better things might be a little premature. I'll wait and see where we are in March before giving any praise to the clubs management team, they are after all responsible for third tier football at The Valley.

    You made a good point about teams will start to work out how to nullify and counter our game plan. The most obvious way usually is to identify the key player and stifle his movement. I think the difference in this team is there are so many key players. Put two players on holmes for instance and that just means one of the others is roaming free.
  • Good post AFKA.

    Pretty much agree with the synopsis, namely first 11 is good and should be top 6, behind that we lack in a number of areas.

    As the heavier ground in winter comes, the odd injury (even minor ones that mean a player misses a game or two) and some dark & cold mid week always I think we'll struggle. Especially as we'll come up against some pretty physical teams.

    By struggle I don't think we'll flirt with relegation but equally without a huge dose of Lady Luck I think by Jan/Feb we'll be outside the play offs or just holding on in 6th.

    That said I've been studying our opponents in league 1 and there are some poor squads around so might be as much about whom we line up against than anything, this league is certainly there for the taking.

    A striker should have been bought to cover magennis effectively as Robinson has shown his lack of adaptable playing style and I'd have also got in a experienced utility player of the Stevie Brown style if such a player exists.
  • Rob7Lee said:

    Good post AFKA.

    Pretty much agree with the synopsis, namely first 11 is good and should be top 6, behind that we lack in a number of areas.

    As the heavier ground in winter comes, the odd injury (even minor ones that mean a player misses a game or two) and some dark & cold mid week always I think we'll struggle. Especially as we'll come up against some pretty physical teams.

    By struggle I don't think we'll flirt with relegation but equally without a huge dose of Lady Luck I think by Jan/Feb we'll be outside the play offs or just holding on in 6th.

    That said I've been studying our opponents in league 1 and there are some poor squads around so might be as much about whom we line up against than anything, this league is certainly there for the taking.

    A striker should have been bought to cover magennis effectively as Robinson has shown his lack of adaptable playing style and I'd have also got in a experienced utility player of the Stevie Brown style if such a player exists.

    Makes me wonder if the likes of Dijksteel and Sarr will ever get a run out when facing more physical sides, (possibly even playing three centre backs?)
    I'm a big fan of Dasilva, but how will he get on at at cold and wet Valley Parade in February.
    These autumn matches suit our style of play, as we've seen so far this season. But it'll be a big test of Karl to see if he can mix it up a bit when the going gets tough.

  • Last season last weekend's match would likely have been postponed because of international call-ups, causing a subsequent "extra" midweek game. This season we played the fixture as scheduled, got it out of the way with a short-handed squad and as it happened took three valuable points. If we can expect the usual Cup disappointments and avoid a fixture backlog that might be an advantage provided, of course, that we continue to do well.

    Regarding successful signings, my sneaking suspicion is that the best will turn out to be LB.
  • Heavier grounds? Are we talking 1970s Baseball Ground? Players don't even get muddy these days.

    Every other squad in the division has key men, that they can't do without. Every other squad in the division has the same concerns about players beyond their first choice XI. The key is get the max out of the replacements. Who thought Andy Hughes would be such a decent stand-in when he got his chance?

    Maybe it's our turn to enjoy better fortune with long term injuries?

    All to play for and it could be fun.
  • Simonsen said:

    Heavier grounds? Are we talking 1970s Baseball Ground? Players don't even get muddy these days.

    Every other squad in the division has key men, that they can't do without. Every other squad in the division has the same concerns about players beyond their first choice XI. The key is get the max out of the replacements. Who thought Andy Hughes would be such a decent stand-in when he got his chance?

    Maybe it's our turn to enjoy better fortune with long term injuries?

    All to play for and it could be fun.

    Yes, I was really impressed with the pitches last season at away matches, AND the quality of football played as well, many lower division managers fancy themselves as Pep these days, getting their defenders to pass the ball out, rather than lumping it.

    When you consider that we've started the season with 4 players effectively missing (Lennon, Reeves, Page and Marshall) our squad depth overall is pretty good actually (other than direct cover for Josh) once they're back.
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  • Simonsen said:

    Heavier grounds? Are we talking 1970s Baseball Ground? Players don't even get muddy these days.

    Every other squad in the division has key men, that they can't do without. Every other squad in the division has the same concerns about players beyond their first choice XI. The key is get the max out of the replacements. Who thought Andy Hughes would be such a decent stand-in when he got his chance?

    Maybe it's our turn to enjoy better fortune with long term injuries?

    All to play for and it could be fun.

    Yes, I was really impressed with the pitches last season at away matches, AND the quality of football played as well, many lower division managers fancy themselves as Pep these days, getting their defenders to pass the ball out, rather than lumping it.

    When you consider that we've started the season with 4 players effectively missing (Lennon, Reeves, Page and Marshall) our squad depth overall is pretty good actually (other than direct cover for Josh) once they're back.
    I agree but I think we're so used to seeing a small squad suffer due to injuries and being unable to rest players that some expect it to happen again.

    A better pre-season, better thought out signings and sensible choices with team selection to rest players/keep squad players match fit will hopefully result in less injuries and a fitter squad.

    I also think there's a big difference between giving a 20 year old a run in the team in League 1 compared to an 18 year old in the Champ. I have more confidence Aribo, Dijksteel etc will step up than KAG, Kennedy, Charles-Cook etc in the Peeters and Luzon years months.
  • Everyone goes on about injuries to our team, every team has injuries, I would not think their is a team in League 1 that could carry on without any of their main stars. Let us just keep faith and if their are any injuries, the players to come in, mainly the one's injured at the moment, can all certainly do a good job for us.

  • Last season last weekend's match would likely have been postponed because of international call-ups, causing a subsequent "extra" midweek game. This season we played the fixture as scheduled, got it out of the way with a short-handed squad and as it happened took three valuable points. If we can expect the usual Cup disappointments and avoid a fixture backlog that might be an advantage provided, of course, that we continue to do well.

    Regarding successful signings, my sneaking suspicion is that the best will turn out to be LB.

    We only had 2 international call ups, so couldn't request a postponement.
  • I suppose you have to have a wry chuckle and accept simply nothing with this mob will ever be straight forward.

    On the face of it, the Summer turnover programme has looked broadly positive in terms of a quality upgrade and no key departures. But it’s left holes that haven’t been addressed (unless anything emerges in the coming days with out of contract players), and right at the death a wealth of experience has been released which may come back to bite us.

    As a transfer window period it feels very much to me like a replication of the Summer 2015 turnover. We shifted a large number of ‘deadwood’ off our books and replaced them with a smaller number of arrivals, but a perceived upgrade in quality. Bauer and Kashi went on to supply that quality, but early promise of Ba, Ceballos and Makienok didn’t last, and that of Sarr, Bergditch never really showed in the first place. Equally, those promoted from the U21s (Charles-Cook and Lennon) never really went on to have an impact that season.

    But at this equivalent point in time, things were looking positive. When the August window closed, we had won 4 of our opening first team fixtures, drawn 2 and lost only 1 (Wolves away). On 1st Sept, We were in the Championship Top 8. But things turned quickly wrong; by mid-October we had dropped to the relegation places and we never got out of it for the rest of the season.

    I don’t project any similar monumental drop this season, largely because the quality around us in League One is considerably lower than it was in the 15/16 Championship and there is less impact of other factors escalating the problem (heavier weighting of overseas players, ill-placed management team etc).
    But so many of the points I wrote on 1st Sept 2015 remain pertinent on 1st Sept 2017.

    1. “When the squad is fully fit then it looks a relatively strong and balanced 1st team with the potential to do decent things in the Championship this season. This has been evidenced by the early form.” – Yep, ditto for the this season in League One. On paper we look good. Very good. And we have started well

    2. “Makienok and Reza are injured, Vetokele is returning from a long injury and a long way since his 2014 form, and uncertainties surround Watt; our striking options are our other major risk. Ahearne-Grant is not quite there yet to be anything more than a back-up option. Our three main strikers could all potentially have fantastic seasons, but there are risks there at present that it may prove a major problem area".- We looked like we carried risks up front and so it proved to be risks that materialised. We seem to be carrying similar risks this season in the complete reliance of Magennis as the only player seemingly able to play a function in the preferred team style the manager wants to play. With Novak released and Hanlan sent on loan, there is no back up to that role. If Magennis is injured (which history shows us does happen fairly frequently), we will have to change our style to accommodate Dodoo, who there are justifiable question marks on whether he will be of the standard we need.

    3. “With those risks, letting Ansah and Sho-Silva go on loan at this point indicates they are seen as a long way away from first team action.” – So its fair we make the same judgement on Hanlan and Umerah.

    4. “Squad gaps are being plugged by U21 players (Lennon, Holmes-Dennis, Kennedy etc), but there are unknowns whether they are being filled out of necessity due to small squad, or they are good enough.” – This year’s crop of promoted U23s; Barnes, Djiksteel, Lapslie and Hackett-Fairchild will undoubtedly be required to step up at some stage and come under the same scutiny.

    5. “Roland's approach is still as difficult to decipher as it was when he first arrived at the Club. Under RD we have now failed to get 'over the line' in transfer windows supposedly sizable bids for players (Max Gradel, Andy Dulort, James Henry), and in each case there was no other equivalent aquisition. What happens to the funding earmarked for those high value purchases?" – So the 2017 roll call for this appears to primarily be Grigg, but again it’s another window where supposedly a large level of money has been available for an acquisition that never occurred, and with no identified replacement.

    6. “It is clear from the breakdown that the Club is operating very much on a strict budget, and despite the windfall from the Gomez departure, the approach remains more focused on maintaining rather than a noticeable attempt to push for a play-off place.” – We’ve gone through a clear budget reduction this summer and for the Gomez money we can say exactly the same of the Lookman / Fox money.

    7. “A strong wind, a dollop of luck, and this proving the only real injury situation we have for the next six months does not mean that goal is not achievable, but the lack of additions to the squad over the last month will make that much more difficult.” - We haven’t got the injury situation yet, and we need that luck to ensure that doesn’t emerge. But any significant injuries over the next few months to Solly, Dasilva and particularly Magennis could have a major impact upon us.

    In summary, I’m convinced that our best 11 is one that should be a prime contender for an automatic promotion place. Maintaining a lack of injuries in key positions is going to be vital, and Josh Magennis deserved that new contract because an enormous amount is expected of him this season.

    Key risks are the lack of a replacement figurehead up front and the slight fear that the squad is lightweight and short. We look nice now, but while everyone is Game of Thrones mad at the moment, Winter is Coming.

    Crofts and Novak are very experienced players at this level and yesterday we let two squad men with over 700 games experience at this level leave the club. They might not be fans favourites, but Crofts is proven to dig in on a cold Tuesday night in a physical game, and Novak is a presence who provides an outlet and is a replacement fit for the manager’s preferred style of formation.

    We’ve lost that now, and with the later in particular, not replaced. Dodoo may well now give us a different option, but he has only player a full 90 minutes just 4 times in his career, and none of them a central striker. We’ve brought in a body, but it’s not obviously clear at this stage it’s what we needed.

    If we maintain our strong start to the season, then that requested dollop of luck and a gentle injury situation will need to play a factor. Equally, Robinson, Jackson and Bowyer have a challenge to ensure that squad togetherness, spirit and attitude remains tight throughout the season. This is something we’ve consistently fallen short of during the Duchatelet / Meire reign.

    On balance, we have our best chance for a number of years for a strong season. But not addressing the striker situation properly and letting a high level of experience leave without replacement at the end of the window has probably now made that a bit more of a challenge.

    So frustrating. And I bet Robinson is also feeling that frustration as well.


    Agree or Disagree? lets hear your summary thoughts


    (link to the quoted 2015 article is HERE

    This looking all too accurate now.
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Roland Out!