Hedging our bets

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As if there wasn’t enough reasons to hate Millwall, they also managed to let me down on my coupon last weekend by winning away at Preston. I have also filed this under my extensive “reasons to hate Preston” list for good measure, why couldn’t they be useless the week before?

The thing is, without ever proclaiming to know the answers, I have always been a reasonably passionate defender of Paul Cook. When we’ve won one, it has eased my burden and even when we’ve drawn or lost, if we haven’t deserved it or it has been by the odd goal. Yet, there have been one or two occasions, where even a meek happy clapper like myself has thought he’s got to go, such as the home capitulations against Brentford, Reading and Bristol City. We’ve all got our own thoughts and emotions and they all move about a bit depending on the result of the last game.

I can be as stubborn as the next man but my stance has probably changed multiple times this season depending on whether a game gave me a glimmer of hope or sent me to the pits of despair. Only football can provide such emotions, and it is probably why there’s been so much angst and anger poured out this season.

So anyway, where are we? Currently three points adrift but more realistically four points given our goal difference and with a critical home game versus Millwall and an away at Reading to follow. In context as to my above thoughts on Paul Cook, I think I have already stated that I am surprised that he is still in a job but then there’s no guarantee the next manager will do a better job. The trouble with that statement is that, yes, there are no guarantees, but when you look at our next two opponents, they ditched their manager at the first sign of panic, and they are in fact flying up the table.

Reading managed to destroy us at our place with an £8m centre forward but aside from that they looked no better and certainly aren’t much bigger than us. As for Millwall, well they MUST be bigger than us as they once took 50,000 to Wembley against us in the Auto Windscreen Shields! No but Millwall, I very much doubt are much bigger than us, given their squad and their crowds yet under Gary Rowett they seem to be charging towards the play offs.

Maybe we should have booted Cook into touch at the start of the season and moved for serial Championship manager Rowett? I don’t think his football is very pleasant but needs must and I’m not so precious that I’m not prepared to watch us rough it to grind out a few wins. The ironic of Paul Cook’s “style” is that we seem to play better when we try and pass the ball and much of the early season rubbish was down to punting it up to Kieffer Moore who then flicks it on to absolutely nobody. Bottom line for most fans I guess is that we don’t care how we do it, so long as it works!!

There’s a lot of ifs and buts and maybes there and who knows, if we got rid of Cook and appointed Rowett or AN Other, it may not have had the same impact, or maybe it would. More ifs and maybes. There are no guarantees. And there are no guarantees we will go up or stay down yet. We do need a significant up turn in form though. I’d go as far to say that even if we do stay up, we need a bloody good look at what has gone wrong in a car crash of a season regardless.

They say there are no easy games in football but Millwall definitely don’t give anyone an easy game and the fact they beat play off chasing Preston on their own patch last week suggests a difficult game could be in store on Saturday. We’ve gone past the stage where we need to worry about them however. With Barnsley and Luton now starting to pick up points again, we could be bottom by next Wednesday come 10pm. Or we could be out of the drop zone completely. I suspect the latter may require six points out of six, even four points would not be good enough. So suddenly it looks a tall order. The world could look a much brighter place, or we could be officially DOOMED!!

It’s clear as mud as ever. The pattern seems to be that we will trundle along picking up the odd point here and there but not enough to cause us to rise up the table or sink to the depths. It’s not in our gift to determine that, it is up to Paul Cook and his players. We watch in hope. They’ll leaving us hanging on till the end as usual is my bet.

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