So after one 3-0 embarassment on opening day, Craig Short is living on borrowed time, last season’s assembled squad of players is no longer fit to wear the shirt, and we’re facing the relegation fight of our lives to stay in the third tier beyond this season.
Well, League One really is as unforgiving as we were lead to believe!
Of course, bar that last sentence, absolutely none of the above is true in the slightest, but that’s not what some sections of the support will have you believe following the weekend’s fall from grace at Meadow Lane. It beggars belief that some quarters already consider us done for.
There’s no losing sight of the fact that yes, Saturday was embarassing. But our squad is well up to the challenge this year. If it takes a few competitive fixtures for the team to gel then we’re just going to have sit tight in the meantime. Last season didn’t go without it’s blips, why should this season be any different?
Does this even equate to a blip really though? It’s one game, out of 46 that the team will play this year. Whoever won or lost promotion on the first day of the season? A defeat, no matter how alarming is just a defeat at this stage of the campaign. How the team responds to that, be it against Oldham, Dagenham & Redbridge or Bournemouth in the coming weeks, is huge.
With all that said, tomorrow night’s League Cup trek to Plymouth could barely have come at a worse time. No one needs a 500+ mile roundtrip so early in the season, least of all in an apparently regionalised draw! Or could it prove to be the distraction the players just might need?
With the injury news coming out of Meadow Lane, perhaps it could prove to be a good opportunity to give a longer runout to some players?
Stuart Nelson may come in as goalkeeper in light of a toe injury to Rob Burch. His inclusion might add further confusion to who should be the number one goalkeeper going forward. Questions have been asked about Burch’s command of the back line after Saturday’s game, an area of the game that came second nature to Kasper last season.
Obviously though, if people continue to judge our goalkeepers and the painfully over-qualified number one last year there’s going to be a lot of disappointed customers.
I also think Kevin Smith would find himself unfortunate not to start at Home Park with the news that Ben Burgess is doubtful. If not, it certainly won’t hurt for Jake Jervis to continue in the role he finished the Huddersfield game in. But at least throwing Smith into the starting XI would offer an alternative to what was seen on Saturday.
Plymouth, themselves acclimatising to life in League One, began the season on Saturday with a win against another team prepared for big things this season at Southampton. So this should prove just as stiff a test as Saturday’s Huddersfield game. At least this time should their be any negative after-effects, they won’t haunt the club much longer than a few days.