My lack of posts over the last couple of weeks is directly related to the sense of frustration at our last few performances. I wrote my last blog after the draws against Watford and Doncaster, hoping those two results would be the end of a disappointingly frustrating run which – yet again – saw us fail to take advantage of opportunities to cement our position in the auto-promotion places.
If I found the Watford and Doncaster results frustrating, you can imagine how I feel now! And I’m sure I’m not the only one who is growing a bit disillusioned with our performances…
I like to consider myself a realist when it comes to my football opinions, so I’m not being unrealistic when I say that five draws on the bounce simply isn’t good enough. The last few seasons have seen my support evolve so that my level of emotion varies with our performances. By the end of last season I wasn’t overly upset when we were relegated: it was what we deserved, and we had done nowhere near enough to survive!
Similarly, I have spent most of this season considering us good enough for automatic promotion and genuinely believing that we will achieve it at the first time of asking. The last few weeks have changed my outlook somewhat; an unbeaten run like this can’t be ignored, but our failings are now becoming more of a worry to me.
Big Sam can only blame the ‘rub of the green’ and ‘luck’ so much before it just starts sounding like delusional, arrogant bullwhip, and the Peterborough match is possibly the end of the line for his too-familiar post-match analysis. Fail to win tonight and there really is no one else to blame; blame our misfiring stickers all you want, but if you don’t play to their strengths then you won’t see the best of them. Baldock and Maynard are two fantastic goal scorers – natural predators of the game – but they are being wasted in Big Sam’s team. Anything less than three points tonight and Sam will surely have to better address his team’s failings.
It’s been said a lot and I’ll reiterate it here. I still haven’t given up hope on this season and I don’t want to sound too negative, but if we can beat Peterborough and Reading this week, then I’ll rediscover my confidence in Sam’s reign. There was a point earlier in the season where we looked efficient, well-oiled, hard to beat and nailed-on promotion chasers. Six points this week could re-kick start our dominance in the top two – anything less could mean the lottery of the play-offs.
Various staff have stated this week that two wins from two will put us back in serious contention, which is an exciting thought, but such talk brings back bad memories for me. Remember Avram Grant stating that we only need three wins from our final three matches to stay up? We all knew it was the talk of a desperate man, already out of his depth at our club. Sam is a proper manager who shouldn’t be compared to Avram, but this talk of six from six reeks of a situation that is getting a little bit desperate.
A win tonight is vital – but will be worthless if we don’t follow it up by beating Reading on Saturday; losing a further three points to them could mean we have to start cacking ourselves about the play-offs. But as I said, I’m a realist, and at least the play-offs could mean a rare day out at Wembley…
COME ON YOU IRONS!