Date: 11th November 2020 at 9:16am
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Written by kirsikka

Eleven league and two cup games in and we’re about a twenty-five percent of the way through the season already. It’s a year that could slip through our fingers like sand if we aren’t careful, given the relentless nature of the fixture list, so it seems an opportune moment to take stock of what’s happened so far. We’re past the point now where excuses of it being a new system and a new man in charge will wash.

—- The Good —-

– Tindall has shown more propensity to change things tactically than the previous chap. Whether we continue to tinker every match or settle on a main system remains to be seen but it shows a certain fearlessness to be so flexible from the outset.

– We’ve accumulated points well and are in a good position to strike for a promotion position.

– Sometimes managers appear to be ‘lucky’. That may be judging their timing and tactical judgement harshly but having brought on latish subs several times that have made game-changing contributions may indicate JT is in favour with the Lady. That’s always a good thing.

– It hasn’t been a confused mess. There are plenty of examples of assistants stepping up to the big job and the whole thing being an immediate omnishambles. That may be a low bar but nobody could lay that accusation at what’s happened so far.

– There are individuals who have certainly stepped up to the increased expectation upon them with performances of note. L Cook, Solanke, Lerma in his new role, Danjuma among them but probably the most impressive has been Begovic. Kudos to the management team for handling that latter situation well enough that he came in and delivered.

—- The Bad —-

– After doing the hard yards in a tough set of fixtures, we threw five points away against two struggling sides by failing to show up, undoing a lot of that earlier work.

– The left wing-back role seems a huge problem in JT’s preferred 3 at the back formations. We simply don’t have a natural fit for it. One to address in January if Max can be persuaded to splash out perhaps?

– Performances could mostly be described as effective rather than exciting. There’s more than one way to get promoted so we shouldn’t get so tied up with the swashbuckling nature of the Howe season that we dismiss getting results without setting pulses racing. At the same time, I wonder how sustainable it is to keep picking up points if we continue to appear to underperform. Strong showings against likely relegation battlers Coventry and Birmingham shouldn’t disguise that.

– Some players have disappointed but I’m going to give them a pass from being named since everyone can have a spell of bad form and maybe this was theirs. Let’s hope those individuals turn it around in the next quarter.

—- The Unknown —-

– Rotation. JT has set his stall out to switch the team around a lot to make sure nobody gets exhausted by the constant matches. We’ve seen some of the disadvantages in that players aren’t building up the same partnerships you get when they have the same guy next to or in front of them match after match. The pay off he’s likely banking on will be in the final third of the season when some other teams may start to lose players to overuse injuries or fatigue.

Let’s hope the call is right and we finish the season like an absolute train compared to everyone else.

– Josh King. No real sign of the player we know he can be but there are still twelve matches until the January window opens. We’re going to need some performances from him before we reached that point but will we get them? Note, I separate this from the form question as there’s a lot more at play in the case of King and really, he should be bossing this league.

– Youngsters. Given the numbers shipped out, it seems likely a point will come that we need to rely on one or more of the young players in a blood and thunder league match. Surridge hasn’t really taken his chances yet, Ofoborh and Zemura remain as unknowns in league games and Kilkenny seems out of the picture. Let’s hope they’re ready if and when called upon.

Overall, JT’s done enough to warrant patience but it does look like there is paper-thin levels of that for him with some. Which, when you consider how close to a one-shot season this may turn out to be, is understandable. We don’t have time to bed someone in, they need results and they need them now.

Tindall will also be aware of this and that may explain some of the more pragmatic displays. Expansive football is fine and dandy but we don’t have three seasons to get the results right so a certain amount of points first, performances later makes sense.

I think he’s done alright. We’re in the race so far and have shown glimmers that we could also be in it come the end.

The next quarter through to the window opening will let us see how well his ideas have gelled with the squad and, as importantly, how good they are. His approaches will no longer be an unknown to the opposition so we can expect other teams to be well prepared for us. With the onus in many games sitting with us to break them down, Tindall and his team are going to have to earn their corn to have us sitting somewhere useful come 4th January.

That window will bring a whole new set of problems but hopefully, we can spend the next twelve matches pretty laser-focused with on the field matters.

Your say…

Monmouthred wrote…

Watford away we were excellent against a strong team. Norwich was a good performance, against another decent team, where we totally bossed them. They never had a sniff of a goal.

Middlesbrough away was a dig in performance against a horrible team and a terrible ref. We should have seen it out, but I note they have only lost one game as well.

Cardiff we battered, and one mistake cost us, as did missed chances galore, but again the performance was decent.

QPR, Derby and Sheffield Wednesday were the three that stick out as really disappointing, along with the first half against Bristol City.

There is a reason we are 4th, we ourselves are difficult to beat, and we have plenty of quality throughout the team, that can light up moments, and create goalscoring opportunities.

We are doing just fine, but of course, I feel we should be top now. I am sure Norwich fans say the same due to one point from PNE and Derby at home, or Watford fans, with one point from Wycombe and Barnsley away. That’s the Championship, everyone can beat everyone and we aren’t immune. – Join the conversation, click here.

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