FM20 Barrow (Ep 5: November)

Thats 8 games unbeaten now! Admittedly some haven’t been convincing results be we move on.

The biggest challenge of this month was getting the damn Swindon game played! Twice the game got postponed due to the weather and flooding at Holker Street, so the game was moved to Swindon and even then went to a replay. The last thing we needed going into late November was more fixtures, but the postponements saw us 3 games behind in the league and if we won them all we went top by a four points.

With a rather quiet month, we ended playing our strongest team in the FA Cup, just so the lads didn’t lose match fitness. This was something i never planned on doing as realistically i would have liked to have played some of the fringe players.

We also very easily dispatched Macclesfield in the second round, meaning that hopefully we can get a big game in the third round and be financially set for the season (hopefully.)

Player of the Month

This month its left winger Dior Angus, with Liandro Martis away on International duty, Angus stepped in and made the left wing spot his own. He has scored 5 goals in 5 games this month and when Martis returns I really will have a decision to make as Angus has been very impressive.

FM20 Barrow (Ep: 4 – October)

So close to another spotless month in October, but sadly we did have one slip up in the league against Halifax going down 1-0 at home. Plenty of excuses we could use, we dominated the game with a weaker team due to injuries and players unavailable but just didn’t take our chance.

Even fielding a significantly weakened team to save some players for league games, we comfortably came through our FA Cup and have now achieved our targets for the competition. Our reward for defeating Alfreton is a tricky away trip to League Two Swindon in the first round.

On a positive note we do seem to be over the worst our the injury crisis, most of the players that were out are now working back to match fitness which is great as it means we now actually have some options picking the match day squad as some of our players were starting to get a bit jaded.

Something that is becoming an issue however is our team discipline, I don’t know how to solve the issues as the players aren’t instructed to go in hard or anything but yet we seem to accumulate a ridiculous amount of yellow cards per game! we’ve know hard 4 different players suspended for games.

Something we weren’t expecting to be an issue is international call ups, however we have a couple of players that represent island teams in North America and they keep disappearing for weeks at a time and its beginning to get frustrating but nothing we can do.

In the league we now sit second, just one point behind Ebbsfleet, they seem to be a juggernaut of a team and don’t seem to slip up! I just hope our slip against Halifax doesn’t cost us.

Player of the Month

Patrick Brough is this month’s winner. The left back has created 7 goals this month, that’s despite being suspended for the Halifax game and being an unused substitute in the FA Cup tie against Alfreton. 7 assists in 4 games isn’t bad form at all, yes the vast majority were dispatched by Scott Quigley but Brough has been solid defensively also.

FM20 Barrow (Ep 3: September)

Well what a month! The lads have suddenly found form and we’ve gone unbeaten in five games and picked up maximum points.

It wasn’t plain sailing though and after the very tough Notts County game, we had a bit of an injury crisis with six players out injured for the Chorley fixture and right back Bradley Barry suspended after picking up five yellows already. Those injured included star player from last month Lewis Hardcastle who has managed to get a double hernia and is out for the next two months.

Because of this, I dipped back into the free agent market and signed a very promising young ball playing centre back in Mich’el Parker. As you can see by our results we are a bit leaky defensively and I think the addition of more competition (And cover!) will help us plug the gaps.

This great run of games has seen us rise up the table and now we currently sit two points of table topping Ebbsfleet in third on goal difference. With our expectations being top half/play offs the board are currently very pleased with us and hopefully as long as we keep our squad in the majority fit, this can continue.

Next month see’s us appear in the FA Cup for the first time this season and the board want us to reach the first round minimum. We enter in the fourth qualifying round, I think as long as we reach the first round everyone will be happy. I don’t want the additional fixtures as we already have a small squad, but the prize money would be nice…

Player of the Month

The player of the month is fairly easy this time around, its got to be Scott Quigley. The big target man has really stepped up during our injury crisis and has scored in our last four meaning he is now our top scorer so far this season. I was a bit worried where our goals were going to come from this season, that’s why we signed Luca Navarro, but long may this form continue big man!

FM20 Barrow (Ep 2 – August)

A bit of a mixed bag for us in August, starting the season with two big wins and dominating the games before we slipped up against Ebbsfleet and have struggled to recover.

Our very average start see’s us currently sat 7th in the league, just, and if anything it has revealed some holes in our squad mainly due to us only being able to utilise five substitutes. It seems we are definitely in need of a couple of players that can play in multiple positions, at least while we are a National League club.

Player of The Month

Player of the month is a tight one this time around, a number of players have started really well, but one player who we very obviously missed in the Ebbsfleet game was Lewis Hardcastle (CM). The 20 Year Old has been a massive presence for us in the centre of the park in his box-to-box role and is currently our joint top scorer and assister.

A New Series Begins..

Today see’s the launch of Football Manager 2020, here at ‘Climbing The Ladder’ we’ve been fans of the game for years and now we are combining our love of Non-League with our favourite virtual game.

So here we are, until we find a database that covers the deep dark depths of English Non-League, taking over at National League team Barrow. They sit pretty much at the very top of our usual coverage but for now at least here we go.

As a Cumbrian, they are the second biggest side in our county and we look forward to trying to match their real life exploits where they sit top of the National League.

Squad Overview

Defensively we look solid, we have a starting back four and cover centrally, out wide however we have very little cover with ageing Connor Brown covering both sides who we could move on plus 31 year old Sam Hird who we will also be moving on, so back ups are needed left and right.

Offensively we have decent options, in midfield we are set with a number of good youngsters coming through. On the wings we could use a couple more options especially on the left. In The CAM role we need cover for the still relatively young Josh Kay. Up top we are set and could even afford to move one of our Target Man strikers on.

The Plan

In the short term, the board want us to compete for the playoff positions. This is something that we feel is very achievable with the current Barrow squad and we will look to better this whilst remaining within our budgets.

With only £200 p/w to work with, we will need to move some players on so we can secure more strength in depth on the left wing and defensively, outside of that I believe with the young players on the verge of the starting XI we will challenge for the play offs minimum.

We are looking forward to having you join us on this journey and we will update you again in a couple of days.