It’s pretty much universally agreed that our first choice 15 (I’m including Per Frandsen in that) is one of, if not the, best in the division. Behind that there is a group of players who, depending on who you are talking to and what day it is, are either not good enough, or not experienced enough to fill in.
None of them have ever let us down on the pitch; but would you be confident if Flynny and Mitch were drafted in for a potential promotion decider against Reading on May 8th? Studs is never fit enough to tell whether or not he’s still the player he looked like being when he joined us, Nicky Eaden spent most of last season attempting to take Peter Kennedy’s place in the fans’ hearts, Magno Viera has never had a sniff of the first team and David Graham has still got a lot to prove (and with our front two, little chance of getting the opportunity to prove it).
Paul Jewell’s theory on the squad is probably the right one. A small squad has to have a good team spirit; bringing in a player or two won’t upset that too much and if/when we get to the Premier League and have to buy a raft of new players, there’ll be room for them. I also can’t argue with his transfer tactics. We should only be looking to bring players in who are as good as if not better than what you’ve got, but our players are good and that standard of player isn’t going to go to any First Division club without a guarantee of a starting place (Parker, Carrick, Fetcher and Biscan may seem like aiming too high, but that’s the sort of game Wigan Athletic are playing now).
Players who’ll come to be subs/reserves in the first division probably aren’t good enough. Whilst I agree with his tactics, Jewell is taking a risk. We all saw what happened without Roberts at the end of last season and we’re now looking at what seems like a major injury crisis. Our strikers have also looked a little out of sorts since Leeds and Stoke booted them all over the park. Messages from the club seem to be suggesting that the players we want won’t be available until at least the January sales. So what can we do?
The message is don’t panic. I hope we can continue to get behind the lads, even if times get tough (and that means no more shouts of “Get Graham off, he’s crap” after five minutes of the game) and also continue to trust Paul Jewell a) he’s got us this far and will get us further and b) it’s his job that’s on the line – the worst case for us is another season in this division (oh the shame of it!).
We also need to realise that unlike Championship Manager Jewell can’t cheat to prise a player away from a club that doesn’t want to sell him. Above all remember we’re here to support the team; and they’re hardly doing us a bad job are they?
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