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Sunday, 6 September 2015

Five games in - season review so far

Last week an email popped into my inbox from my Dad, who had decided to pick up the virtual pen and key some thoughts on the start to City's season.  Unfortunately I haven't had a chance to upload this until now, so some comments (especially those on the transfer window) are a touch out of date, albeit, ultimately prophetic! 

Over to Mr Binning Snr...

"Gary Johnson always used to say that you have to wait for ten games to assess how you are doing in a new season, and then reassess in ten game blocks. Well as we are fans we don't need to wait ten games, do we? 

We now have an international break after five games and I am off to the sun (hopefully!) for a week, so that I don't miss a City match.

Having seen every minute of every League game so far, I think that four points from five games is harsh, when set against our performances so far. I suppose it could be a bit of a reality check that in this much tougher Division than League 1, you have to do a bit more than just play good football. 

It has been very refreshing that Cotts has stuck to our attacking football philosophy, but in order for that to be successful we now need a stronger and better defensive base.

Against Sheffield Wednesday I thought we were very na├»ve at times and whilst I don't very often disagree with what Cotts says after a game, I really didn't think we deserved anything out of that game. 

They got the first goal from a set piece, which was a rarity for us to concede from last season. This may be an indication of different qualities needed at the higher level as it has already become a recurring theme so far. Whenever we started playing fast passing football they slowed the game down, either by wasting time or players going down feigning injuries. It completely disrupted our rhythm. We nearly scored from a corner and they immediately broke away and scored a second goal. End of game.

First home game against Brentford, and wasn't it exciting to see the brilliant new stadium taking shape? Thank you Mr. Lansdown! Our football for the first 35 mins was breathtaking, but unfortunately we didn't make enough of our opportunities, and then Luke Freeman got sent off. However even in those first 35 mins we were still a bit loose defensively. It was always going to be a bit of an uphill struggle from then on, and sure enough Brentford won, but we still made mistakes to contribute to some of their goals.

Next to the home match against Leeds in midweek. Things are starting to get a bit repetitive now. Started strongly, played some good football, got caught out and gave a goal away. We gave away a poor second goal in the 2nd half and we were up against it again. We managed to stage a grandstand finish for those fans that hadn't already given up and grabbed a draw at the death. As Cotts said, it was the least we deserved.

Why do so many people leave early? It might only be half an hour of your life but if you have taken the time and effort to get there in the first place why go before it finishes?

On to Boro with no great expectations. We were brilliant in the first half, deservedly took the lead and should have been more than one up at half time. It was obvious they were going to come at us hard in the second half and they certainly did that. We dug in and defended well, had a bit of luck for probably the first time this season, and hung on for the win. 

Boy, that was well worth the long drive home through some of the worst thunderstorms I have ever driven in.

Was that the springboard for us to kick on? Well yes, and no really! Again we were brilliant against Burnley for the first 30 mins and should have scored a goal or two. But we didn't and they scored from 2 corners. We certainly don't lack anything in effort and team spirit, but at the moment what we do lack is a bit of guile and experience at this level. 

Writing before the transfer window closes what do we need? On the player front, I have not been convinced so far by Hamer, and I think the defenders in front of him are a bit nervous of his decisions. Flint has been outstanding, probably our best player so far. I'm not sure about Williams mainly because he gives the ball away too easily, and it has cost us goals. Ayling is a good footballer and a bit of a free spirit, but maybe more suited to wing back if we can get another defender in, or right back if we play a back four. 

It's too early to judge Mark Little yet as he's obviously not up to match fitness yet. On the other side Joe Bryan has done most of what you could expect up to now, and I'm sure he will improve just as he did last season. Not much wrong with Smith and Pack in the centre of midfield, although I hear the moaners are starting to get on Pack's back. 

Bobby Reid has been a revelation since he came on against Leeds, although when he starts a game he seems less effective in the second half. With Luke Freeman coming back next game we should certainly have no problem in that area. Wilbraham has worked his socks off every game, but he can't keep doing that for another 41 games. Kodjia has looked better with every game, I do hope he is settling in ok as he could be a real prospect.

So what do we need? I would say two central defenders, one on each side of Flint, and another striker. Easy isn't it? Get on with it Cotts!

All joking aside, I like most City fans think that Cotts has done a great job for us so far, and I'm sure with Steve's backing we can establish ourselves in this League, even if some of the big names don't want to come down to Cider country. 

They don't know what they are missing!"

The Exiled Robin

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