Well that’s been fun, hasn’t it? Ten pre-season games, nine victories and a bagful of goals. Football League teams have been picked apart, and the strikers have been on the mark (Padraig Amond has literally scored more goals than I’ve had hot dinners). But it’s from next Saturday, at Kidderminster, that the real fun begins.
There’s always time for a cold, hard slap across the face, to remind ourselves of the reality – that for all the impressive performances and results over the last few weeks we currently have zero league points – but who wants a cold, hard slap of reality when Amond has just lit the last of his cylinders?
For once I feel arrogant about our chances. I haven’t even begun to look at what other teams have been doing, who they’ve been signing, what their pre-season results have been and all that codswallop. Who cares. We’ve been awesome. Hopefully the players feel it; hopefully they know it. And hopefully they know that if they play as well as they have done throughout July they’ll win this division and not have to worry about anyone else.
Take care of our own business and we’ll be alright.
It reminds me of the great Buckley days. We’re going to set ourselves up in our usual way; we’re going to play our brand of football and we don’t care who you are, where you’ve come from or how you intend to play. It makes no odds to us. We’re well drilled, we’re motivated and we know exactly what we need to do. Now we’re going to go out there and do it.
It also helps that we have a group of strikers who look like they can work together to fire us into the Football League. We know that Paul Hurst likes to rotate them and sub them when things need freshening up. It’s probably the one area of his management that I feel he hasn’t got right, but it’s a tricky task managing players who all expect to start every match.
But as things stand no one knows which two are seen as the main two. Even Hurst himself won’t know. And maybe that’s a good thing. I don’t envy him choosing the two who start at Kiddy next weekend – but maybe the pre-season scoring chart might help him decide:
I imagine Bogle will be out of the equation since his mysterious knee injury has denied him a proper pre-season. Although not as prolific as Pittman and Amond, Arnold has played well up top and has had to adapt from the left wing role he played in last season.
So the 2015/16 season is just around the corner. The fans have been up for this from the moment Bristol Rovers tucked in the winning penalty at Wembley back in May. The players pledged their futures to the club; the fans have pledged their money, and huge season ticket sales show that we’ll be with them the whole way.
What more does a club need to succeed? Just one thing I can think of – the strength to avoid playing anything other than 4-4-2. I notice we played a few different formations against Boston, and while it helped us win the match we have an embarrassing amount of proof to show that your 4-3-3s and 4-5-1s and 5-3-2s are just a waste of precious time.
So then, just a week left before we go again…