By Simon ‘Sprout` Phillips
Well, I`ve sat down here to write this as I have Gabon v Brazil on the TV, and I am thinking how can I say the same thing this week but completely differently? I think I could quite easily copy and paste whole chunks of text into this article changing a few names and it would be pretty relevant. It would certainly make my life easier, or at least it would if I hadn`t deleted most of my previous articles.
Once again we followed up a win with a disappointing defeat and continued our consistently, inconsistent season. We conceded an early goal which means we were always going to have to chase the game and went two down after about half an hour and from there on in, it is always going to be hard to get something from the game. We did pull one back, and I`ll say again we do have goals in us. With conceding the goals we do, the forwards are under pressure to convert and you are mindful that we are likely to leave ourselves exposed at the back if we are chasing and our defensive record isn`t great as it is.
Last weeks defeat leaves us eight points of the play-off places and eight points of the bottom two, painting us as perhaps the epitome of an average fourth division team. However this week we have the distraction of The FA Cup sponsored by someone different this year First Round Proper, where we play host to The Steelmen, Corby Town who are doing pretty well in Conference North, judging by a cursory glance at the table. A good cup wind and runs can often be a catalyst to kick starting of a good run in the league and this years first round game hopefully gives us a chance to do this. This is the result we all want and we want to be in the hat for the next round and the one after that and the potential big draw. Who fancies a trip to The Sports Direct Arena?
On the other hand, the game is also the proverbial Banana skin. This is a big game for Corby who will want to knock out league opposition and want to get to that third round also. Rovers are clear favourites with the bookies as you`d imagine, but with our defensive record you can easily see The Steelmen scoring and making a game of it. Yes we should win, but something in my head just keeps saying replay.
Whatever the cup game though there always seems to be some connection between the two clubs and in this instance, we have one Stuart Campbell. Cams was born in Corby and apparently played for Corby Town as a youth, however it appears he may well be missing from the game on Saturday along with Matt Gill and loanee Oliver Norburn. These (potential) absentees have led Paul Buckle to enter the loan market again and sign midfielder Andy Dorman from Crystal Palace on a short term deal and who goes straight into the squad for Saturday`s game. In all honesty I don`t know much about him but have read some good comments. Hopefully he will come in and do a job for us and perhaps provide the catalyst that will start us on a good run. I did have to chuckle though when he said he thought (initially for the record) that we were still in league one and didn`t realise we had been relegated. Nothing like conforming to the stereotype.
The signing has brought up some negative comments on the forums and other media however, but I think this is mainly down to us not signing the leader/dominant Centre-half we desperately need (yet). To most people it is glaringly obvious this position needs filling and I am sure the manager does as, but If the injuries we have mean that we will be short in midfield for a few weeks then the loan signing is obviously needed. With these injuries and the number of substitutes allowed to be named on the bench in the cup increased to seven, we may well get to see a couple of youngsters on the bench. It would be nice to see a Lamar Powell, Shaquille Hunter or Darren Jeffries on the bench and maybe get a few minutes on the pitch if everything goes to plan.
Well that`s enough from me this week. Hopefully we will have a good cup win and we can all enjoy the weekend and look forward to the second round draw, before we head back to the day to day of League Two. I don`t want to think about the other outcome, I dread that more than going round the ‘in-laws` on Friday night
Simon ‘Sprout` Phillips