Tuesday, 9 September 2014

The Football League Is Upside Down

Six games into the 2014/15 season and the League Two table isn't exactly the most beautiful thing to look at, in fact it resembles a bit of a mess, well that's being kind, it resembles a big mess.

No wins from our first six games and already FOURTEEN points behind first place and NINE points adrift from the play-offs, yes it's early days but those gaps are still rather worrying.

I normally don't pay much attention to the table until 10-15 games have been played but this year has been different. Admittedly, I haven't got to any of the games played thus far so many may consider my views irrelevant and lacking in evidence, however, the fact is, we've played six games and scored five goals - four from the same source and three of them were penalties (the anti Rob Duffy crowd will tell you they don't count). That doesn't fit with the attacking, exciting football that Michael Appleton promised us on his arrival at the club.

I don't think you can blame Appleton, he was handed a pretty rubbish hand, appointed a week after pre-season had started with players devoid of confidence after a miserable end to the previous season. He pretty much had to start from scratch and to be fair to him, his signings on paper have been impressive. Michael Collins is a midfielder I have always rated and from reading the views of the OUFC masses on twitter and other sources, it would appear he is well liked by the fanbase. On the flipside, goalkeeper George Long came to the club with great reviews from Sheffield United fans and many other League One supporters. For whatever reason, (as I say, I haven't witnessed any games so far), he has become a bit of a scapegoat for the unnerving start to the season. For what it is worth, I am a goalkeeper and I couldn't find any fault with his positioning for Abu Ogogo's wonder goal from distance for Dagenham (and neither can the dusty coaching manuals I brought off the shelf). I was told Joe Riley is a good player and he seems to have been pretty steady so far, of the two younger loanees, Alex Jakubiak seems to have impressed more than Carlton Morris. Morris could find his matchday place under threat if a striker comes in during the loan window. Will Hoskins has lived up to his reputation, a threat but injury hit. His exit from the pitch on Saturday on a stretcher looked nasty and I can't imagine we will see him anytime soon.

So then we come to Danny Hylton, the star performer so far you could say, ironically brought in by a Mr G. Waddock (remember him?). Six goals in nine appearances so far including goals at higher division opposition in Bristol City and West Bromwich Albion is a great return. Hopefully he can keep it up for the rest of the season as no-one else appears as if they are going to chip in at the moment. The collapse of the deal for Tyrone Barnett could prove costly unless a strong recruit can me made during the loan window.

And then there's the issue of the loans, in principle, Long, Riley, Morris and Jakubiak could all go back in January and we end up four players down. Ryan Clarke will be back so that is Long's absence taken care of but the other three have all played a large part so far. I hope Appleton has a plan in place.

I'm not negative, but I really would like a win from somewhere and soon. I'm fed up of hearing how well we played without winning. I'd take a 1-0 with the winner being an OG off the opposition's defenders elbow every time over a 1-1 draw where we battled well and played good football.
Chris Wilder was criticised for often negative football but it certainly got results.

It's not quite time to panic but by the end of September it could well be.

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