WHAT. A. BOOB.
Why did I do it? Why did we all do it? Reading back over the last ramble makes me upset. We were all so hopeful (not arrogant, Crewe fans) – the idea that the scoreline would be a demolishing one never even entered our thoughts. How sweet, and naive, anticipating a win like that.
Mind you, while the game was followed by disbelief and disappointment, I can’t help but notice the level of pragmatism at play since then. I say pragmatism; what I really mean is hope, all over again.
“It’s not the end of the world – we’ve still got a chance.”
“It’s just another game – anything can happen.”
The Black Eyed Peas have taken hold of the Sky Blue army, and most people now have a feeling. A feeling that we can come back from the dead.
I hope – of course I do – but I’m not expecting this time. If we’re talking about pragmatism; I just wish our players had shown some on Tuesday, instead of allowing themselves to be whipped up into the hoopla of trying to score at all costs. It was a period of madness which left us vulnerable in defence, and one that is likely to cost us our JPT trip to Wembley. SAD FACE.
But anyway. That is gone for the moment. It’s back to the real important stuff. League-a-mundo.
Today we play Yeovil. It was a reality check back in August when we met down at their holiday camp. 6 months down the line, and we’re 7th and 8th – both knowing that a win offers a huge chance to jump into those play-off places.
It’s quite unnerving.
How are they getting on?
Really, really well. Five league games in a row they’ve won. It’s a seriously intimidating number, especially seeing as the best we’ve managed is back-to-back all season.
That is what I call concerted form, and when you look at the teams they’ve beaten in the last three games – Brentford, MK Dons, Sheffield Utd – you realise this is no fluke. They are the freight train of the league at the moment.
They find themselves a point ahead of us in 7th, so in the context of our push for the play-offs, the games really don’t come much bigger. We are both looking towards the same goal, and while they have momentum now, is it possible to take some solace in the idea that they’ve had to do perfection in their last five games just to get to where we are?
Realistically, how much longer can this form last?
Who could cause us trouble?
Paddy Madden. He is the man. 14 league goals, and no sign of stopping. He’s got 7 in the last 4 games, the utter lunatic. Against our fragile looking defence, you can’t help but be concerned.
But he’s not the only one. James Hayter has 10 in all competitions which is a solid return.
On the plus side, Matthew Dolan, who’s on loan from Middlesbrough and been in decent form will miss out in midfield with injury, to be replaced by Joe Edwards.
However, they’re a team in great form, and that is going to be the danger. They all know their positions, everything is flowing at the moment. What we have to do is halt that rhythm. Disrupt that dynamic. Make them doubt all the things that have been working so well for them recently.
Sky Blues team news
The big worry is whether Joe Murphy will be available after he had to be withdrawn at half-time against Crewe. Chris Dunn came on in his place, and after months of people clambering to see him in goal, didn’t really cover himself in glory.
I don’t think he’s untrustworthy, but the last thing you want is a keeper who everyone is doubting, or even worse, is doubting himself. We can’t afford that. As much as Murphy has been questioned at times this season, it’s pretty clear that he doesn’t question himself. That much at least is to be valued.
Other than that, the squad is pretty much all fit and ready for Robins to pick from. He’s moved to a 4-4-2 in recent games, but after the limp nature of Tuesday, and our fundamental inability to balance attack and defence, a return to the familiarity of 4-5-1 would appear to be in order.
Steven Elliott looks most likely to drop out, with James Bailey making a return to midfield alongside Jennings and Moussa. Although Robins has never been one to go with the obvious, so keep your eyes on John Fleck as a dark-horse for a starting place.
New signing Danny Philliskirk has been impressing in training we hear, so is a new option for the bench, and one which Robins is likely to take up.
As for the defence, it was shambolic the other night, but what options do we have? The only feasible changes appear to be Cameron and Clarke, but having played so many games together, will Robins want to break up the Wood/Edjenguele partnership before such an important game? I can’t see it.
This is the worst part of the ramble, because it’s so difficult to avoid looking like a wally. Aside from that period of away wins, our form has been unpredictable, as no matter how we have played one game, that’s rarely had any bearing on things in the following match. Even when we lose, we know how to bounce back.
But is bouncing back from Tuesday night a different ask all together? It was a massive disappointment for the lads. You could see they were shocked at what they’d allowed to happen.
I think we’re looking at a middle-ground here. A win would be the perfect tonic and put us back in the driving seat as far as play-offs are concerned. If my maths are correct, there’s even a slim chance of jumping to 5th by the end of the day.
But, I do worry. I worry that Tuesday will have left a lot of them drained. I feel a 1-1 brewing.