You’ve got to admit, it’s getting harder and harder to stay positive about our prospects. This home form of ours is becoming a right git – every time we need a victory to consolidate our position in the chase, we bugger it up with dropped points and are left playing the chasing game once again.
For many, the defeat on Saturday felt like the last straw in this pattern of home shoddiness. We’re 8 points away from the play-offs, although the funny thing is that’s only 10 off top too, so if you are still confident that we’re in with a shout of achieving something this year – you may as well have your eyes on automatics as well. There’s very little difference.
While the likely required points total is still eminently achievable, it needs a concerted run to get there. A proper run of results, where we genuinely earn the right to make the play-offs, rather than bumble our way over the finish line and somehow expect that to be enough. Having not won more than 2 straight league games all season, the idea that we can finally achieve that level of consistency seems a tad unlikely to me.
Mind you, that’s not to say our form in general is disastrous. We are picking up regular results away from home. But next up comes Bournemouth – Eddie Howe’s squeaky clean machine with one of the best home records in the league.
We need to get back into confidence-mode. Like, really quickly.
How are they getting on?
It’s a sign of how close the league is that Bournemouth – a team that have just won 5 in a row – managed to drop from 1st to 6th in the space of a week.
They were absolutely flying up until a defeat to Preston 10 days ago which set them back – only slightly I might add – but it was soon followed by a further loss to Sheffield Utd; the team who now replace them at the top. It’s crazy tight up there at the moment.
Along with Swindon, they are the most formidible team at home in the league. Absolutely bloody brilliant, they are.
Who could cause us trouble?
Lewis Grabban is the guy doing all the damage goalscoring-wise, with plenty of help from Brett Pitman. They’ve amassed 22 league strikes between them this campaign. It may not seem wildly prolific, but when you look a little closer, that’s the same amount as our entire starting line up on Saturday has managed for us in the league this year. (So we don’t count Leon Clarke’s goals for Scunthorpe, for instance).
Interpret that sort of stuff however you like. I see myself very much as the Huggy Bear of this operation. There’s a duty to dig some stats out as part of the segment, I accept that. But to paraphrase the man from the 2004 film himself – I lay it out, for y’all to play it out.
I literally have no idea what that means, but it sounds absolutely amazing.
Sky Blues team news
I can’t predict it. Things have definitely started to feel a little stale in our attacking play over the last few games, and with the return of Cody McDonald from his loan at Gillingham, it would appear that Carso (as I would call him if I was a player) has noticed this too. To haul him back suggests he’s going to make his way back onto the bench at the very least.
Another fresh face in the team is the lad Aaron Martin from Southampton. You get the feeling that Carso (there it is again) isn’t fully happy with the idea of Edjenguele and Cameron at the moment, and if Wood’s out, he needs that peace of mind. Plus, as much as I dislike some of the criticism of Cameron’s performance from Saturday, he did collapse into the net like some sort of chronic plonker for the second goal.
Bailey and Jennings haven’t been quite themselves just lately, so part of me is wondering if there’s to be a return to the team for Franck Moussa or Fleck.
I’d definitely be keen on Franck – after re-living his MK Dons goal in a late night highlights session recently, I remembered just how dangerous the man can be. It’s time to find space for him in the team again I reckon. The options seem to be in place of McSheffrey, Elliott, or as part of a midfield 3 again. Plopping him in as part of a two however, feels a little too risky for me. Especially at Bournemouth.
This could be our fourth away win in a row if we manage it. I don’t know about you, but that surprised me. For a team that’s performing in a fairly bitty fashion, that’s still an impressive sequence.
My main issue is how stagnant some of our play is feeling. We attack, but I never feel as though we’re as threatening as we used to be. If the boss can find a way of freshening that up, we’re well in with a chance of a massive win. I’m just not sure we have it in us right now.
It’s the best home team against the best away team. How’d you fancy a draw? I’m going for 2-2 or something like that.