Bring on Colchester

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Ahhh Solihull, with your welcome colder than Thatcher’s heart.

It wasn’t a classic on Tuesday night, be that in the form of an away day or a performance.

Despite proudly advertising four bars on their website you’re not allowed in any of them if you come to watch the away team.

God help you if you have the audacity to arrive in a car too, you’re directed back down the road to the airport and a cargo centre despite an empty car park facing you.

The welcome at a lot of non-league clubs is often warm and welcoming, indeed when we travelled to Fylde in the FA Cup back in 2017 the treatment we received couldn’t have been better.

I wouldn’t wish to return to Solihull in a hurry especially when you see how Latics have struggled against the National Side across a total of 210 minutes. All credit to Leam Richardson for naming such a strong side again and giving the FA Cup the respect it’s owed.

Some games you just struggle it doesn’t mean that the side that have spent most of the season in the promotion places in League One are a bad side suddenly it just means that we had an off night, some of the grumbles in the away end and on twitter pointed to us having far more serious issues than we currently have.

I mean I know we’re not the best team in the league [eyes gaze over the hill to Horwich] and equally we wouldn’t have the same sort of issues as that said best team in the league but Tuesday wasn’t as bad as it was made out to be.

We huffed and puffed in the end but we managed to get across the line. Callum Lang who struggled in the first half came to life during the latter stages of the match and showed his importance to us, in the end meaning that ITV missed out in the battle of the FA Cup replays with the BBC clearly having the plum choice just 24 hours later.

We’re in to the second round, yes a replay was the last thing we needed and yes extra time was even less welcome than that but we’re in the hat and that 12.30 visit to Colchester in a couple of Sunday’s time is all that matters.

1 Million plus superfan points to anyone who can make that away trip with no trains available to get you there in time.

So with the cup taking a back seat for a few weeks and international breaks now a thing of the past (until March) we face Oxford on Saturday.

It’s going to be a difficult few weeks with the amount of games coming up. Tuesday’s trip to Solihull was the first of 11 matches in just 44 days, thankfully there was some good news to come from Tuesday’s match.

The back line looks a lot stronger with the return of Kell Watts and Jack Whatmough to fitness, throw in the continued development of Jason Kerr and things look a lot better than they did a couple of weeks ago.

Oxford will be a tough match on Saturday, Karl Robinson has done a good job there in recent years they’re unbeaten in four league matches but they too faced a punishing extra time in their defeat against Bristol Rovers on Tuesday.

It won’t be an easy game, but there aren’t any easy games at this level and especially at this stage of the season.

After a few weeks away it’ll be good to see if we can continue that march up the league.

Sean Livesey

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