Still struggling for any new words at the minute. I’m loathed to spend too much of my time going over old ground. We’re the softest touch in the league, and everyone is desperately scrambling around to attribute blame, as well as trying to figure out what (if anything) can be done to fix it.
The pattern of the game on Saturday was once again all too familiar. Thorn said afterwards how we rarely get tonked, and are always in games for the most part. We may not be hammered on the pitch as often as our league position would suggest, but mentally, we take a right beating every week.
A few thoughts:
Joe Murphy is not Keiren Westwood. He is an average goalkeeper, who will make mistakes, and will not make anything other than the expected saves. He’ll even mess those up far more than Keiren did. In his defence, the penalty on Saturday was a nonsense decision, but that can’t hide the fact that he’s been responsible for a significant number of goals this year. I’m not blaming the man particularly; that’s just his level. He let in close to 80 goals for Scunthorpe last year if I remember rightly – a better keeper wouldn’t have.
Sammy Clingan hasn’t been in the best of form over the last few games, but the suggestion that we would be a better team without him in it, is an absurd one. Regardless of his recent form, he is still one of our most consistent performers. Of course we expect certain standards and I think we all realise he has fallen below those just lately. Alternative options are sparse though, and I see no credible replacements for him if we were to rotate. Deegan, Thomas, Bigirimana, Gardner? None of them have the attributes to play that role.
Steve Harrison has also found himself in line for some grief, as people start to notice a common figure during the club’s inability to hold onto points over the last couple of years. I noted my reservations about him earlier in the year as we were playing hideously under Boothroyd. We’ve lost points in an obscene number of games since he’s been here – his contribution has to be assessed. He seems a lovely chap, and I appreciate the sun-tinted specked eyebrow-raise he gives at away games. I don’t appreciate the quality of play that he’s developed however. There seems to be an overarching philosophy coming from Thorn, but it’s not something we’re able to implement with any sort of success or conviction. From overall shape and tactics, to individual attributes and the absolute basics – he’s overseen a horrid decline in standards during his time here. They are professional footballers, most of whom have been part of capable teams in the past. Yes, options when things aren’t going well would help massively, but something’s going mighty wrong on the training ground when five yard passes are proving troublesome.
If you need evidence of just how sloppy we are (how could you forget?), do take a look at our defensive work on Saturday. C’est downright bloody useless.
Watch Portsmouth v Coventry highlights on the BBC Website (PC only – soz)