Pre-season thoughts - Part 1
Last night. Good! Stirred plenty of thoughts. Just read the Facebook comments from those present. Treading over some old ground. I think some context is required. I went several years ago to St Neots and I would imagine the performances were similar. Firstly. at this stage, it's all pretty makeshift. Secondly, these games for me hold no real gravitas but nonetheless I have some issues - and most for me have been present since joining the Southern.
I don't like 3 at the back. I maintain it's too expansive and give opponents way too much opportunity to exploit spaces.
I have been an advocate from day 1 that the top sides in this division have that man in front of the defence - the Tingey/Brewer type. I would say that Luke may not have been the best qualified in that role - the way I see the present squad we have several candidates - a real blessing. As with the Euro's the best defence won the day. In a league with the highest propensity of goals per game, that notion for me is really the key. I know many were be-moaning the amount of goals we shipped in last season - for what 8 games was worth! I think the midfield and how we set up there is the problem.
I believe in patterns and maintain they exist - until I'm convinced they no longer exist. I worry about our second half performances, particularly at home. Games not put to bed become stretched, especially around the hour mark and subs made, for me exasperate the dynamic. I think things need to be more controlled. The McCann second half late shows demonstrated this to the positive. I worry when we get a corner - about being hit on the counter 30 seconds later. That suggests to me we are not quite there. As to how that issue remains, time will tell. It was present in the penultimate game I went to at Harringay, and I would envisage despite the changes ext, it was there in an underlying sense last night. I want convincing on that point.
Re: Pre-season thoughts - Part 2
I blasted Ryan Hope in the middle for his second half showings. Completely unfair on the lad, again I thought it highlighted the problem. I actually thought he was at the time one of our better players. I don't we saw more rounded displays until Matty Harriott came alongside. Regrettably, that lad couldn't stay on the pitch. I get the same impession, to a degree with the effectiveness of Matt Ball. I think the lad is a class act. For me he is too deep and like Corks needs to get on the ball more. We have for me to date under Lee, tended to go long in the second half to Joe. It is again for a tad desperate or as George Graham would slate his own exceptional Arsenal side at the time - 'too cavalier'.
Right now, my concerns are not the defence it's the composure in midfield and has been from day 1 - even when James Gray was changing the back line. I go back to the Maclaren's - Casey and Kevin. Tenacious. Casey would also pick out passes wide and Kevin would just keep possession in an under-stated fashion. I think Lee, right now is almost spoilt for choice. That is as a big problem as having the exact opposite. What very few games we've had under Lee, IMHO, the Forbes, Ball combo, I think worked the best. In a way, I've entertained the thought, that Brewer and Corks on the same pitch is a difficult marriage and could effectively also switch roles. I do think we have some un-resolved conundrums.
Re: Pre-season thoughts - Part 3
I look at the depth of the squad, the options - I've never seen a Hendon squad remotely like it. There's a flexible dynamic, I think if we nail this and get things settled and get into a rhythm we could really set things alight.
In all honesty, I was not a huge fan of what I can recollect from Quba's first spell - although everything was in a mess.
If that lad for comes in and performs in a way to how Elliott Braithwaite did for his short spell with us - we can only see that as a huge benefit.
I do think Joe is in for a huge season. Moreover his goals, for me it's his overall contribution around the box. He reminds me of Mazzone down at the Met. Again, for me, Mazzone has had - actually no longer - his mate Blackmore.
I think Joe needs that established relationship with a central midfielder in terms of link up - we have had a tendency again around the hour mark, to go long. I think that is a vital piece of the jigsaw.
I would imagine Lee has plenty of thoughts this morning, best time to have them. I think, unlike the top premier league sides of whom channel resources into their main striker a Plan B is required. A fall-back provision in case Joe gets injured. The new lad may dovetail nicely. I would even be prone at this stage to have a look at seeing how they play together.
Overall, this is one heck of a squad shaping up. I bash on about patterns and personally believe they remain and are carried over, until I'm convinced they no longer exist. I don't advocate just because a cut-off point has expired, that all of a sudden problems have been resolved. That being said, I maintain we have more potential going into a campaign since our last play-off appearance. IF we fire on all cylinders and gel we should be in for a very good season.
Time to get stuck in.