Simon ‘Sprout` Phillips is back!!
Hi and welcome to an end of season something for the weekend. I have been AWOL for a few weeks, what with the season (happily) fizzling out and having a Bus hit my car, getting round to put words to screen has been a bit difficult, but I am here for one more this season, however long this article is so??
Well it wasn`t quite the way we wanted to round out the home season was it.? Apart from the excellent Accrington free-kick after 3 minutes that was a pretty dire game and had 0-0 written all over it as they say. There were some things to take from the game though, good and bad, that hopefully help us in too next season. Michael Smith was a worth Player of the Year, but in another solid performance and it is great news he has signed a new contract to `keep` him at the club. At worst someone is going to have to stump up some money to take him off of us now.
One of the poorer aspects of the game was once again that Tom Parkes reaffirmed to me he is not a midfielder. Obviously he was needed there last week, but hopefully we can sort the midfield out so that he is very much a last resort to play their again. Tom Parkes is a centre-half and nothing else to me. To be honest that is only a minor gripe made for the purpose of contrast to my next positive. Alongside Tom, was young Ollie Clarke who seemed like he wanted the ball, looked pretty composed and surprisingly given his size won more headers then I thought against the Accrington midfield. I saw Ollie on loan at Mangotsfield the other year before his injury and he looked far too good for that level, the question was could he make it in the league. Well last weekends performance was encouraging and hopefully he will get another chance in the final game of the season to impress. Being out of contract, personally I think he has to be worth offering a short term deal too at least to see whether he can make an impression next season.
Ollie Clarke getting a chance to show his worth is another addition to the other young players who have been given a sniff of the first team and will hopefully give hope to the next batch of youngsters that they will be given opportunities if they work hard and show they deserve a chance. In recent years we have heard that our youngsters aren`t good enough and they have been few and far between in the first team. Are all of our youngsters good enough? Maybe not, but at least the likes of Ellis Harrison, Tom Lockyer, Mitch Harding, Alefe Santos, Josh Southway, whoever else I have missed and whoever else might come through now know they will be given opportunities and perhaps not be dismissed like other younger players have in the past.
Also in contract news, there are new one year deals for Jim Patterson, and Matt Harrold. It`s fair to say many people do not rate Jim at all judging by some comments I have seen. Whilst I don`t think he is anywhere near as bad as some make out, personally I would have looked to have moved him on and perhaps make space for a new addition but an appearance clause in his contract appears to have activated an extension. Why these clauses are signed off I don`t know, especially when we have been bitten on the bum by a few of them in the past. Matt Harrold as signed a new one year deal after recovering from an injury. I think Matt is more then a useful squad player for us and will be a decent back-up for Ryan Brunt and maybe even a decent strike partner.
That`s me nearly done, all that remains for me to say is if you are off to Torquay for the day or the weekend I hope you have a good time, I hope everyone else has a good weekend and a great summer (hopefully I will get to watch a few ‘Shire games this year) and Up The GAS!!!!
Simon ‘Sprout` Phillips