The last month of the season before the Play-Offs start, using a revolving squad I expected a mixed bag of results as we got the majority of our squad fit and match ready before the games that would decide whether we made the football league or next season.
Also this month we finally received our youth intake and sadly its not amazing but we knew this from our preview back in December. We have a few players that in the future could replace some of our highearners and they could become squad players but sadly no standouts and no superstars we can cash in on in the future.
The league kind of goes out the window now we are guaranteed playoffs and Notts County have won the league, but following our poor form recently we’ve split to third, which still means we don’t feature in the Playoffs until the semi final stage.
Player of the Month
We gave some game time to players who wouldn’t normally get as much and to my surprise the player that really stepped up was a player who came in with the youth intake, 16 year old striker Ben Hughes. The striker scored the second goal against Solihull and two against Yeovil in our final league game.
Another sub standard month if you look at her early season form, we managed to secure our position in the playoffs however and short of them having a complete disaster, it seems as though Notts County will win the National League.
Our form going into the final month of the season is patchy at best, of the six games played in March we won 2, lost 2 and drew 2. We’ve also had a number of players away in International duty and pick up small niggly injuries, and therefore we will be heavily rotating the squad in the final month to get everyone in good shape and ready for the playoffs.
We also had transfer deadline day for the conference, not that we made any late additions due to our budget being very close to our limits. Hopefully we have enough to see us get over the line.
Player of the Month
Another POTM for Scott Quigley, the big man has just started to pick up form scoring 3 in two games going into the final month of the season
Could this month have gone any worse? The loss in the FA Cup to Sheffield United at the end of January seems to have knocked all the momentum and any kind of decent football completely out of us.
Since being knocked out the cup, we’ve gone on a run that’s seen us winless in 6 games and we’ve picked up 2 points from a possible 15! Nothing seems to work, and from this run of games I would have expected us to pick up roughly 12 points. We’ve played some of the worst teams in the division and been beaten comfortably, however we’ve drew with Chesterfield and Stockport who are both in play off contention. It makes no sense.
Despite this horrendous run, we still somehow sit top of the league by a point! Admittedly only because we’ve played one game more than the rest of the league but still. From fairly comfortable league leaders to looking like we are getting dragged into the play off mix, and with only one automatic promotion spot id rather not.
Player of the Month
Stephen Wearne wins it this month, probably the only positive of the entire month. The Middlesborough youngster performed well coming on as a substitute while we got him up to match tempo and then on his first start against Chesterfield he got an assist and scored the goal that earned us a point.
So my bad, I didn’t know transfer windows didn’t really apply to the National League, so during those months we were struggling player wise, I could have been signing short term players…
Anyways as mentioned last episode, January we were really just looking for some squad depth. Leeds were no help at all in this. Once again this partnership I thought would really help us sign some quality young players has been useless. We ended up bringing in two youngsters on loan, Neves of Reading is a young left winger who can also play CAM, hes currently a fringe player but his most impressive stat is 18 crossing. (Just imagine the crosses onto Scott Quigley’s head!) We also signed Stephen Wearne from Boro, another young winger who is two footed and can play on the left or right, hes currently not match fit but will be a great signing when we get him up to speed.
Unfortunately we have to pay these players wages due to us not having any links with them, thank you Leeds, they aren’t on astronomical sums but we still had to balance the books. We let young Luca Navarro go, on £850 a week we needed a game changing player not a youngster who probably will develop into a decent player but we needed the results now. we also let Mamadou Kone go out on loan, it leaves us a bit short of defensive cover but we will deal.
On the pitch, we had a mixed bag of results this month, We still haven’t been beaten in the league in months, however we are out of both cup competitions. Notts County was always going to be tough and Im just glad we beat them in the league earlier this year. As for the FA Cup, we got a nice little earner of a tie at home to now Premier League Sheffield United, that was always gonna be a massive ask, but as mentioned its probably set us up financially for the rest of the season.
We still sit top of the league, we are now 6 points clear going into the business end of the season, and if we have anything about us and stay clear of injuries etc, maybe automatic promotion is possible?
Player of the Month
Only one option this month really, its keeper Joel Dixon. The big man has been an absolute monster this month, pulling off some heroics to guide us through to 1-0 wins on three different occasions and quite frankily it could have been a cricket score against Sheffield United if it wasn’t for him. He also saved a penalty from Phil Jagielka in the Sheffield United game, what a man.
Another undefeated month! Admittedly again it wasn’t smooth sailing as we seem to be struggling to score goals at the moment despite dominating games. December was a busy month for us with a game every 3-4 days, this lead to us rotating the squad a lot and not being able to field the same XI for most games.
Unfortunately for us Scott Quigley seems to have fallen slightly out of form, and none of our other strikers have stepped up to the plate. I’m especially disappointed in Luca Navarro who we signed in the summer, don’t get me wrong the lad is still young but he just isn’t doing the business.
Despite all of this we currently sit top of the league as it appears that the once unstoppable Ebbsfleet have fallen out of form losing a few consecutive games.
Off the pitch now and we drew League One Portsmouth in the FA Cup and Notts County in the FA Trophy, two very difficult games.
We also received a preview of our next youth intake and it isn’t a good sign, it seems we have 2-3 players who may make squad players but outside of that nothing.
Thanks to this crap intake, it seems like we are going to have to have a fairly busy January window as we look to maintain our challenge for the league. Im going to look to terminate the loans of Olly Dyson and Oliver Greaves as for they aren’t justifying the money we are paying them, id much prefer to stick some of our youngsters on the bench/reserves. Im also going to see if I can get any interest in Luca Navarro, the young lad could turn out to be brilliant, but as a false nine he doesn’t fit our style and he’s one of our high earners.
Therefore our transfer targets this month are going to be some Leeds youngsters as we can get them for free and they will fill out the squad, with the hopeful Navarro money we can reinvest if a good player becomes available.
Player of the Month
This months winner is Jack Hindle, the right winger has scored six goals in as many games this month, which moves him alongside Quigley as our top scorer. He’s averaged an 8.9 rating this month and has stepped up when others form has dipped.