Sky Bet League Two, Saturday 9th October 2021
Nigel Clough must be wondering when he walked underneath a ladder, stepped all over cracked paving and smashed a mirror simultaneously, because he seems to be having the worst luck ever right now – having to play square pegs in round holes to field an 11 to compete right now.
Comments walking out of the ground and on social media were mostly negative – whilst I’m frustrated as the next fan, I couldn’t help but swallow down my own frustrations and take a positive from the game – a clean sheet with square pegs in round holes.
I genuinely think had we not lost George Maris early through what looked a very serious injury, or Hawkins at the break also through injury, we’d have won that game. Credit must go to the lads who kept the clean sheet, I’m not too concerned about the lack of goals scored right now – we’re in a real predicament with injuries and suspensions so keeping a clean sheet gives you a point bare minimum, that’ll do for me.
We are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, Farrend Rawson will be back for Northampton on Saturday and will go straight back in, whilst Will Forrester will have a full weeks training with the Stags, finally arriving from Stoke late this week after his battle with injury.
After Northampton, we’ll then have Tyrese Sinclair back in the fold and, most importantly of all – Stephen Quinn, who will reignite our extinguished attacking fire. I actually can’t wait for the Port Vale game, I’m sure Clough can’t either!
Praise yesterday must go to James Clarke, I’ve long since been a fan of his since he made his breakthrough under John Dempster’s tenure. The young right back never really got a look in under Cloughlan and definitely didn’t last season when he really should have been pushed on.
He’s a season behind in his development but has a phenomenal attitude – yes he’ll make mistakes, but what I rate about him is, every time he makes a mistake, he works hard and puts in right – in terms of an actual right back, he’s the best we’ve got at the club – Kellan Gordon is class, but we all know he’s better as a wing back or an out an out right winger.
Clough needs to allow him to have a run in the side now and see what he can do, leave Hewitt in the middle, probably with Rawson – but you’ve also got the option of Forrester now.
Keaton Ward is also an option to cover these injuries, I’ll be very surprised if Maris plays next week – I felt Ward was brilliant on Tuesday in the deep Maris role, and was excellent when he came on yesterday. Again, if I have a criticism of Clough, it was that Ward should have replaced Maris, rather than bringing on Oates and changing shape.
We can play fluid football, we can be dangerous and score goals – but that takes bravery and confidence, we’re low on both right now so let’s get our heads down and battle on through – we’ve played 11 games, let’s see where we are after the next 11, when we’ve got bodies back in and rebuilt our confidence.
Let’s dig in our heels, find the energy and smash through the wall!
STAGS: Bishop, J.Clarke, Hewitt, Hawkins (Burke 46), McLAughlin, Maris (Oates 25), O.Clarke © (Ward 61), Charsley, Lapslie, Bowery, Johnson UNUSED SUBS: Shelvey, Forrester, Gale, Law
Attendance: 4,526 (496)
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