The disaster that was the playoffs is something that will live long in our memories, but at the risk of sounding like a broken record, what’s done is done, and it’s time to move on. So, it’s great to see that the manager is focusing on next season and getting some good business done early.
While signing Gilks to a two-year contract might not be the massive signing we had hoped for to get the transfer ball rolling, it’s a step in the right direction. He’s a player with great experience and one that will help out both in the dressing room and on the training ground more so than on the pitch, and we’ll take that.
As for Rory McArdle, now that’s some great business. A solid defender who will slot straight into the team and lead from the back. What more can you ask for?
But we’re rambling, so let’s get back on track.
If last season’s playoff debacle taught us anything, it’s that there’s no such thing as justice in football. Remember Millwall? Say no more.
So, with that in mind, there’s a real need to hit the ground running and put in a serious run of positive results before the end of September. Why September? Because we can’t afford to be playing catchup in what looks like will be an incredibly competitive league this year with both Blackburn (bags of money) and Wigan making the drop.
It’s not too surprising that BetStars has the likes of Rovers and the Latics ahead of us as favourites to win the league, but let’s face it, 14/1 aren’t great odds for us, the team that finished third last season. Of course, being beaten by a team over two legs that finished nine points below us does our cause no good. But it still rankles to be considered outsiders in a league we could and should win.
On paper, August looks like it could be a good month for us, but then thoughts like that count for nothing, right? What we really need is a good preseason with as many of our first teamers playing in the boss’s preferred formation before the big kick off versus AFC Wimbledon. We need the team playing like they’ve been at it for months and the only way to do that is to play our best team in every one of our games up until then.
Of course, we can experiment a bit, but the first-choice team should be playing at least a full half of each game. Then and only then can we be in the right frame of mind for the first match of the season.
As for the Cups, yes, we all love a good Cup run, but you know what? Forget the Cups. It’s promotion or nothing this year. Realistically, we won’t get to Wembley unless we draw Spurs away, so what’s the point? Money? Think of how much more money we’d make in the Championship. Honestly, we could hammer Arsenal away from home in the FA Cup to reach the quarters, but if we lose out on promotion or end up in another playoff semi because of it, would it have been worth it? Of course not.
This season is all about the league as it should be. And the club’s business so far is seemingly taking us in the right direction. Let’s just hope McArdle and whoever else comes in can help us make that step up into the automatic spots and get us out of League One and back in the Championship.