It’s close to two months since we last won a league game at the Ricoh, and yet here we are again – only 5 points off the play-offs and entering a home game with renewed hope. Four times we have won on our travels only to bugger it up the very next game. The teases.
How are they getting on?
No team has lost more games away from home than Colchester. One way or another, the result tonight is going to contradict the form book.
They did however win against the rapidly declining Stevenage a week or two ago, bringing a temporary (we hope) fix to their travel sickness.
Having spent the vast majority of the season in the bottom half, sense would suggest we should have the beating of team which currently resides just outside of the relegation places. Dig a little deeper and you’ll spot that with 5 wins out of the last 10 games, they’ve a recent record that is very similar to our own. Given how prevalent our home record is becoming to the rest of the league, they’ll be feeling pretty capable of achieving a positive result.
Who could cause us trouble?
They’re struggling somewhat, with top scorer Freddie Sears likely to miss out through injury, and Jabo Ibehre – double goal hero against Stevenage – unavailable through suspension. Beyond that their goal threats are sparse, with no other player in their squad having scored more than 3 all season.
They also have Clinton Morrison: the world’s most expressive man.
Sky Blues team news
The bad news is that Leon Clarke is likely to be unavailable. The big man has played through the pain in recent weeks and actually left Glanford Park in one of those protective moonboots. While Clarke was initially optimistic about his chances to the Coventry Telegraph on Monday, Pressley is far less confident and has already warned that he’s not going to make it.
That leaves us with a dilemma, because Cody McDonald is a very different kind of player to Leon, and is unlikely to perform the lone striker role in the same manner. Callum Ball has been getting his match sharpness through the development squad, but hasn’t been anywhere close to the first team for weeks. The difficulty we have as fans is knowing who (if anybody) has caught the new manager’s eye in training since Saturday. The natural swap is Cody, and judging by Pressley’s positive comments about him earlier, there’s a man who’ll be starting tonight.
Billy Edge returned to the squad the other day and should continue alongside Martin, while Wood waits to recover from his strain and Cameron gets over his performance from the other day.
This is so familiar. Before each match I’ll think, “surely it’s about time we sorted this home nonsense out” because there is no real reason why we can’t win. But still we don’t.
I’m stuck at an impasse – do I follow my natural instinct to believe we’re actually a decent team, or do I follow the unavoidable pattern of home defeats we seem so incapable of overturning?
It’s a tough one. The defeats are predictable in so much as they’ve become so regular. But they’re also irregular in their nature because we’ve proven ourselves as a good team plenty of times on the road this season.
In football, it feels as though it only takes a bout of apparent bad luck to evolve into something that feels like a genuine problem. We’re prone to looking for patterns to figure out where the issue lies. Sometimes, especially if you’re losing every single game – there clearly is something wrong. But we’re not losing every single game. We’re still more than capable of winning a football match. So what else could it be?
In my mind there’s no such thing as prolonged luck in this world, and there’s definitely no such thing as hoodoos. They’re perceptions invented by humans looking to find sense in random or bizarre events. Clearly reoccurence heightens your awareness of these events, makes you worry, and can often impair your judgement in a way that increases the probability of them happening again.
Look at the Crewe game – we battered them, but as the game wore on, the players became noticeably anxious in their play and seemed worried about not scoring at all. That voice in your mind – “what if we’re never going to score tonight?” – surely it can’t be conducive to breaking that hoodoo?
The irony with all this is it’s actually left me looking for a pattern so I can disprove the idea that there is a pattern. Which is daft. I guess that’s why I call this a ramble. There is a valid point there, I’m sure there is.
But in short, my overarching sentiment is a simple one: maybe we just need to get a grip. There’s no jinx at the Ricoh because we’ve won countless games there. It’s all in your head. It’s in all of our heads. My suggestion to the players is to go out there, play your natural game, and win. We all know you’re good enough to do that.
2-0 will be the score.