Wednesday, August 22, 2007

It's a marathon not a sprint

The aftershock from Saturday is still getting me down but I keep telling myself it's too early to be worrying about how well we are going to do. Losing the points was hard enough (did I mention how really poor 'Boro were?) but the rumours of players moving on and the loss of Bouazza and McBride, especially McBride, has made me wonder if we really have got a strong enough squad for the fight ahead. Then there's the form of teams like Man City, Wigan and Reading who have all got off to much better starts than I expected. At least there is the comfort of hearing Man Utd fans claim they've already blown their chance of winning the league and seeing Spurs doing their best to completely implode.

Our current injury list reads something like this; McBride (Knee - 3 months), Bullard (Knee - 2 1/2 months), Hughes (Ankle - 6 weeks), Bouazza (Shoulder - 5 weeks), Cook (Knee - return unknown), Niemi (Wrist - back soon) and of course Elliott and Elrich who are unlikely to see action even if they manage to get fit. Added to that are the players who are likely to be moving on; Diop, Rosenior, John, Pearce and Christanval. If my sums are correct that leaves us with about 17 fit players. It's enough, but only just.

My biggest concern is the lack of a target man. I was expecting us to try and sign some sort of back up for McBride as he seemed to be a key component in the way we planned on playing. The affect his departure had on the team on Saturday only went to emphasis how true that is. So now we find ourselves completely bereft of a player capable of playing that role. Kamara is surely still carrying an injury so I am not to perturbed by his relatively ineffective performance against 'Boro, I think there is more to come from him. Healy continues to look sharp but needs someone to play off and I just can't see who that might be in our current team.

Two really very poor errors from Tony Warner have put him in the spotlight (just next to Jens Lehmann). I think we need to bring in someone better, but maybe if Niemi's return is imminent he will get a stay of execution until January. So far I think the defence have been very solid. Carlos did make a bad error which led to 'Boro's winning goal, but that aside has looked pretty good as has Knight. However, I am sure Sanchez realised this was area that needed improving and with his man Hughes out for a while I think we will see one more addition before the end of August.

I had felt Sanchez was going to be able to blend the best of Coleman's squad with his own signings and we'd be up and running pretty quickly. It now looks like he is going for a complete rebuild job, which will inevitably take some time to settle. There's a very long way to go and it doesn't matter where you are in August it's where you are in May that counts. I'm thinking positive and will try not to worry too much until after Christmas.

In the words of the mighty Micky Adams - Keep the faith!

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