Work to do

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Out of two cups in a week, one expected. One less so.

There’s no dressing up Tuesday night’s defeat to Doncaster – it wasn’t good enough and I’ve no doubt Shaun Maloney will have told the players exactly that and if not Maloney then Graham Barrow certainly will have.

We had a plum draw in that round and in the potential quarter-final with Bradford and with Maloney’s intention to take the competition as seriously as we could many would and could have expected progress on Tuesday night.

Once we scored early on it felt like we could and should have gone on to score a hatful and put the tie out of reach.

But as with many games this season we scored and then didn’t capitalise again leaving us vulnerable to Doncaster who got back on level terms and then the tie was only going one way.

Even then we had chances to win it, but too many players last night had off nights.

Throughout the experienced side there were very few who could look back on be proud of their performance last night which is disappointing.

Considering our illustrious history with this competition in recent years we’ve not had a good time of it, in 2015 under Gary Caldwell we were knocked out at the same stage after looking odds on for a return to Wembley and the same happened under Leam Richardson when we were flying high, League Two Sutton United knocked us out in the semi-finals.

Is it because we carry a higher class of player now, do they see this competition as beneath them?

I’m not sure.

Tuesday saw a mix of senior professionals getting some game time, alongside regular starters from the first eleven and that you would expect to be enough to get past a struggling Doncaster.

We know it wasn’t.

Twitter, X or whatever Space cadet Elon is calling it this week isn’t the best place to go after a defeat but like a car crash it’s a macabre past time I can’t seem to kick.

Some glorious hot takes on there all of course demanding a change in manager.

Listen lads (and it’s always lads) Shaun Maloney’s remit this season is to survive in League One. We all want more of course but he’s currently well on target to achieve that aim.

With that in mind and considering the severe limitations placed on him that I feel like I mention every week A) A club slowly re-building it’s formal structures that every other club see’s as a given B) Unable to spend money on any player C) Saddled with expensive players unable or unwilling to carry out Maloney’s football effectively our position this season is decent.

Yes I’d got as far as looking at hotels for London in early April, is it frustrating ?


Is it season ending?

Not at all.

Is there work for both Maloney and the playing staff to do? Yes of course there is.

I mentioned twitter (RIP blue bird you’re with da angels now) and amongst the pitchforks an esteemed gent on there compared it to Jewell’s first season when he had to clear out the deadwood and it’s such a great analogy.

We had some mad results that season as well, and I’m sure that generation of the bloody hell brigade were sharpening their knives then.

As it was Jewell cleared out the dead wood and from the following season the rest is history.

Now I’m not comparing Maloney to Jewell but the same applies.

This season is about staying up, anything more is a bonus.

So knock the “Tha’ll si mi no mooooorrrrr” on the head.

Or at least give it till next season when we can truly judge Maloney.

Next up is Reading, now there’s a club with real problems.

Seemingly not different from ours last season.

Shame the EFL have decided to treat both clubs so differently. If we ever do get a CEO first task on his desk should be to ask the EFL can we have our points back considering they’ve pursued fines (that Rick Parry has admitted to Parliament won’t work) against their owner whilst we had two points deductions for the exact same charge.

I don’t like to say that the league are making it up as they’re going along but you know …

And you can bet if we hadn’t fulfilled a fixture last season in the way Reading did against Port Vale last week (no matter whether you support or oppose those actions) we would have had a points deduction winging it’s way to Wigan quicker than you could say Rick Parry’s sandals.

Similarly with the fixture Bolton didn’t fulfil in the summer of 2019 on their way to administration.

No one ever mentions that one.

Funny that.

Sean Livesey

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