Thursday, 26 April 2012

Getting Near the End

I am sat here on my 60th thinking back, as you do. I wish my Dad was the type who took me to games when we lived in Sunderland but he was not. I took all of my kids to games, not many in Sunderland, too far from Milton Keynes. We went to Midlands and London games. Some grew to love football others just liked to day out.  The closest my Dad got to SAFC was after mass one Sunday at St. Benets. We drove to a hall, Dad went inside and came out with a signed sheet. It was the whole Sunderland team of around 1960, what a team sheet that must of been. Did I get it, NO, one of my brother's did who has never had any interest in football. It is currently in his loft !!! How I envy him and what a waste.

If we could have some of those players now. The past few weeks have not been good for us, that spark have gone. The goals that we seemed to be able to score from any part of the field or player has gone. If you think about it it is not surprising. We have a small squad of average players, one or two decent ones. MON had got them playing above themselves, pressuring & closing down the opposition. With such a small squad they were bound to run out of steam at sometime. The second reason is we are safe, nothing to play for except points & position. Important to the club but maybe not to the players, summer holidays beckoning. We are not usual in this, it happens to most mid table teams at this time. I can't understand why they do not realise they are also playing for their places. The chop will happen, especially as MON has been told he needs to sell to buy.

So who should go? It might be easier to say who should stay. Lets start at the back, Mig & Westwood. I like Gordon but been injured too often. The downside he will leave on a free. If we gave him a new contract and sold Westwood then we would at least get something. Big risk though.  I would keep O'Shea, Brown, Turner & Kilgallon - never thought I  would say that. I know Bramble should be in there & he has not been found guilty yet but not keen on him as a person. I wonder how young Laing & Egan have got on while being loaned out.

Midfield is harder. Colback & McClean are certs. I would also keep Knott, who is on loan. I can't make up my mind about Catts. He has great ability but his temper gets in the way of it, I think he is just too much of a liability. That means we also keep Meyler, who has not really had a chance since his return. Catts, Meyler & Colback are too similar to keep all 3. If we can have Larsson of old then he is definite. Maybe his downturn in form has to do with the injury that he has just had an operation for. Larsson being out will give us a better judgement on Emlo and see if the old Martin magic has worked on him. I don't think so, so he is a no. Richardson is also out for the season now, due to an operation. As I have said, he has not reached his potential and so can only be a squad player for midfield or LB.

Up front is also difficult. I can't see Bendtner staying, too expensive, too idle and he does not want us. Sess is our only creative player and a player I would love to keep but I can't see it happening. I am sure he will return to France and his family. Campbell is a keep, with a full pre season behind him I can see him being a regular first team player. Gyan will stay in the Middle East. Ji will stay as he is still inexperienced and deserves a chance but also I think we will get big sponsorship from Korea. Wickham again inexperienced and so needs to stay. During next season they need to show what they have or else they will be in MON 2nd season of cuts.

Therefore my list of definite keeps are Mig, Westwood, O'Shea, Brown, Turner, Kilgallon, Colback, Larsson, Meyler, McClean, Campbell, Wickham and Ji. Definite youngsters, Egan, Laing, Ryan Noble & Knott.  Squad players Bardsley & Richardson.

The places where we urgently need players are left back, creative midfield and  2 strikers. I would also say a right back but money will be a problem and Rome was not built in a day. We do have Bardsley & O'Shea who can play there. I can't make up my mind about Vaughan & Gardner and would not care if they left or stayed but they would then need replacing.

Over the next 3 games don't boo the lads. It does no one any good. If we loose, we loose, this is not Martin's team, it is Bruce's team. The time to judge Martin won't even be at the end of next season, the team will still be Work in Progress but it will give us a good idea of what Martin is after. We can start judging in the 2nd full season.

Bolton will be after points, they are still in the relegation zone and so will fight. Coyle is a good manager and so they will be hard to beat. I can see the team being Mig, O'Shea, Turner, Kilgallon, Bardsley, Elmo Vaughan, Colback McClean, Sess & Bendtner. Outside chance of Colback for Bardsley at LB, Meyler in midfield and Campbell for Elmo.

The score 2-0 to us and so it will be

  Let's Party with Marty

the Lads

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