‘Neque deditionem’ is latin for ‘No Surrender’ however I can’t help but feel that even before kick-off, Steve Evans has thrown in the towel and his team talk will be geared more towards getting fitness up than actually going out to win the game. But hey, what do you expect when the match is in a competition which very few actually care about.
Evans is open with his opinion on the Checkatrade Trophy, he doesn’t care about it and insists the league takes priority.
Whilst of course he is right, it’s disheartening to think that tomorrow night the Mansfield Town management will be putting out a team not in the mind-set to win a game against a fierce local rival – a win which after a slight up turn in form, would have possibly helped to reignite our fire.
‘Significant Changes’ will be made by Evans as he rests legs for Saturday, fair enough – however I was hoping for a more impassioned Steve Evans whose body language screamed that he wanted anything other than this game – in fact he might as well have said “I’m leaving Paul Raynor in charge tomorrow, I’m washing my hair whilst watching repeats of The Bill” – yes be open in the fact you’re making changes, but at least play the media a little by urging the fringe players to come in, get a win and steak a claim for three points.
There are three things that worry me about this situation, the first is what message to his body language send to the players – surely they’ll be like ‘well if the gaffer doesn’t care why should we?’ That’s not an attitude I would want, it certainly wouldn’t motivate me to go out and steak a claim for a shirt on Saturday.
The second is, if the game we’re a dead rubber I’d be 100% behind resting as many legs as possible – but it’s not, not only is it a local derby, but we also have a chance of qualification and the opportunity to bank some extra money by getting through which could buy us a striker in January and impact us in our bid for promotion. Given the depth we have, that shouldn’t be an issue and I’m sure that John Radford would welcome an extra source of income having paid out what he has thus far, for little return!
People have criticised the Trophy and the continued low turnouts don’t help, but financially the prize money for a club of our stature can’t be ignored, looked at what winning the competition did for Coventry last season, the money they earned has been invested and the rewards are bound to come.
That leads me nicely onto my third worry – if we lose tomorrow we are pretty much out, as will Everton U23s should they lose to Lincoln tomorrow – meaning our game next Tuesday at the One Call is dead and our lowest ever attendance may be recorded – no footballer wants to play in somewhere soulless and play a game that means nothing.
Regardless of the competitions stature or reputation, I look at tomorrow like this – it’s a competitive match against our local rivals who will want to get one over on us following our recent league game. It is an opportunity for players to get out there and claim a shirt and for the entirety of the group, it’s a chance to get a few goals and a win – bringing some more confidence back into the dressing room.
Not for a second am I saying going and play the strongest side available, I’m saying at least give it a go and start sending the right messages out to supporters and to our competitors – a game of football is a game of football, and victory is victory.
‘Per Angusta Ad Augusta’ means ‘through trial to triumph’ – a football season is just that a trial, a test of ability, desire and courage – triumph is the end goal we all seek, so why not go away, game by game and find some?
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