Friday 30 April 2021

Accrington Away

Tomorrow ( or perhaps it was today ) we make the long trip up to Accrington in what, in respect of our play-off hopes, is a must win.

There's much to admire about Accrington from the way it is run by their excellent owner, Andy Holt, to Bumble ( David Lloyd ) one of their famous fans. Their achievements have been quite remarkable.

Stanley have scored 11 goals in their last 4 games with the last two games being 3-3 draws. Clearly they carry a threat up front whilst being prone to conceding a few themselves.

For our part, the Plymouth game aside, we haven't scored as many goals as we would like or perhaps deserve. That allied to our tendency to concede sloppy and/or late goals has been our undoing in numerous games this season.

On Tuesday we were slow to respond and make changes against a Crewe side who acquitted themselves very well. Tomorrow we need to set up better and adjust more rapidly if things aren't going our way.

Whilst I appreciate the success we've had of late with our starting formation I don't believe we oughtn't to change to 4-4-2.

Further to that I can't see a problem with starting with both Aneke and Stockley. I appreciate that they are similar players but I don't think many defences would relish the challenge they offer.

Why Aneke, like Shinnie, hasn't played more is a mystery to me. Chuks has been great this season and  converts a high percentage of chances in addition to offering good hold up play. He is our best striker and needs to start or play a much bigger part

I note that Adkins spoke about Shinnie not playing due to the success of the current squad and competition for places. All well and good if you're winning games buy we've lost and drawn the last two and Shinnie is more than equal to most of our midfield. I find it baffling especially given the two games a week situation and the need ( one assumes ) to rotate the squad.

Hopefully, they will get their chance tomorrow in what promises to be a very tough game. Stanley may be out of the play-off running but they aren't rolling over for anyone as their game against Sunderland on Tuesday demonstrates.

A result similar to that of our last away game would do very nicely but let's be honest any kind of a win will do. It's essential if we are to prolong our season. 

The fixture planner have again given us a final game at home to the potential Champions ( Nice how that happens so often! ) and it would be nice if we had something riding on it!

I don't think it matters this season where you finish as there is no advantage in playing the second leg at home, certainly not for us! Added to that we are quite capable of both beating and losing to any team in this league!

Fingers crossed for the 3 points tomorrow and who cares about the performance.

Come On You Reds!

Friday 9 April 2021

A Real Test

Games don't come much tougher than tomorrow's trip to the Stadium of Light. However, it's a challenge we should welcome and this season we have tended to play poorly against teams lower in the league.

Sunderland's indifferent start to the season has given way to a long unbeaten run and more solid performances following the arrival of Lee Johnson.

Aiden McGeady has returned to the fold and formed a formidable partnership with Wyke and has provided him with plenty of assists!

We will need to be really solid defensively and also to take whatever chances come our way especially from set pieces.

I suspect that Adkins will want to stick with the starting eleven that secured the 3 points on Good Friday. Certainly it's hard to argue against keeping the same back four in front of Amos. Matthews and Purrington for me remain the best full back pairing and it'd be harsh on Pearce to drop him.

I didn't rate Gilbey last week as much as the manager did and would prefer to see Shinnie in his place.

I'm still puzzled by the omission of our best player, Aneke, week after week. I appreciate what Stockley does, however, it's nothing that Chuks can't do. In addition, I see no reason why the can't play together, something we've rarely seen this season.

Given that we've finally ended trying to play out from the back so much Aneke offers another option from goal kicks.

Stockley has shown what his physicality brings to our team and Aneke offers that too and the pair of them will scare League One defences.

Adkins has had the luxury of more than a week to work with the whole squad ahead of the game. He has one more week ahead of Ipswich before we return to two games a week on the final leg of the season.

The new manager will certainly need to make use of the whole squad in the last few weeks. He will be praying that he won't have to call upon his skills from his previous incarnation as a physio! It's fair to say that we're long overdue some luck with injuries.

A draw tomorrow wouldn't be disastrous in terms of our play-off hopes but a defeat would make it damn sight harder to achieve that goal.

Come On You Reds!



Saturday 3 April 2021

First Win For Adkins

 A much changed Charlton side took all 3 points in yesterday's early kick off as the new manager put his stamp on the team. 

A new role for Maatsen paid early dividends and the loanee had a stonking game. A constant threat up front and put in a decent defensive shift that Lee Bowyer would have very much approved of.

It took a while for us to settle down but once we did we looked a threat going forward. Sadly, that dissipated in a rather lacklustre second half. However, it mattered little as our final run of games are all about the result.

There were plenty of decent performances notably Inniss, Forster-Caskey, Stockley, Maatsen, Pratley to name a few.

For me our best full back combination is Matthews and Purrington and I was pleased to see them in the back four.

I understand that playing two strikers yesterday wasn't the way perhaps that Adkins wanted to set up. However, I still fail to understand how Aneke can't be starting games. A change of manager hasn't changed that and it remains a mystery to me.

Defensively, one heart-stopping moment aside, we looked quite comfortable. Inniss was immense and his display just served to underline how much he's been missed.

It was good to see that we are not messing around at the back from goal kicks. Kicking out long it so much the safer option.

Early days but the manager seems to have had a positive impact and we'll take 1-0 wins to season's end!

The run in sees us pit our wits against high flying teams. It will be tough but these are the sort of games it seems we're more capable of getting ourselves up for and that is no more typified than in this season.

Sunderland are flying at present with McGeady in superb form and recently delivered a hat-trick of assists for Wyke. He will need to be closely marked.

Let's hope Adkins gets the lads fired up for the challenge.