In every Checkatrade Trophy fixture, we have to play four outfield players from the first XI from our previous league game. Back when it was the Vans Trophy, I usually played an entire eleven of back-ups and kids, preserving the condition of the first team whom are physically incapable of playing 3 games in a week.
If I fail to play four such players, the club gets fined £5k. We can’t afford that, so we’ll have to rotate parts of the side more often.
We also got a tough draw. On paper, we were clearly the weakest in our group of four.
The 4-0 win over Charlton was very satisfying. Their manager, Stuart McCall, gave us some stick in the media beforehand, and he’s the first manager to irk me in this game. He got sacked a week later, and I like to think we had a hand in that.
But this is the worst competition. I’m glad we’re out. In the five league games we had within four days of these fixtures, we won none. With a squad like ours, short of high quality depth, a run in this would’ve cost us more valuable league points.
If we’re ever an established mid-table side in the league, and I’m certain we won’t be at risk of relegation or gunning for promotion, I’ll try and win the Checkatrade Trophy.
Otherwise it can do one.
Another bad draw for us. Southend were on a winning streak and flying high in League One. I’m gutted with our (proper) cup draws this season. We could’ve done with some cash. Even with our average attendance up in the heights of four figures, we’re back in the red.
I’ve finished my coaching badge, and immediately signed up for the next one before we ran out of money.
There’s been political progress:
A squad limit of 17 foreign players sounds manageable. And no work permits sounds good. We currently have no players that this would effect.
Bigger clubs are starting to take notice of me. First, Luton and Peterborough appear in my profile, with “Wnt” showing up.
Later I’m offered interviews at Bradford and Bolton.
I go under the guise of curiosity, but find myself wanting the Bolton job. They’ve got great facilities, lots of fans, and a pitch that has your actual grass on it.
I didn’t get the job, but have been left uncertain what kind of save I want this to be. I want to be at a bigger club to enjoy things like a quality under 18 team, a transfer budget, and grass. But I also want to take Concord to that level. It’s just that, without surprise investment, that dream is going to take a long time.
Steve Evans got the Bolton job and Stuart McCall got the Bradford job. The fiend.
We’ve brought in another free agent, Tom Richards (DL/M/AML), to initially provide cover on the left, but hopefully with a bit of focussed defensive training, to take over at left back. We are over our wage budget now, but seeing as we’re losing money fast anyway, I’m ignoring it for the time being. A lot of dead wood will go in the summer.
Four of our loanees have returned to their clubs. Lewis O’Brien, George Danaher, Edward Moulden and Louis Lomas. Lomas didn’t really get a chance, but the others were disappointing.
We’ve added Noel Rush (ST) on loan from Preston. On paper, he’s a better defensive forward than anyone we have and will be our last roll of the dice to get some production out of that role before I try tactical changes instead.
Sky Bet League Two:
A real mixed bag of results, but that suggests we might be a mid-table team, which is better than I thought. There was a run of four games, from Coventry to Crewe, where we looked particularly good, against decent opposition. We only got 7 points admittedly, but played well, with some of our patient, short passing attacks proving very effective, and good on the eye too!
But we haven’t won in five now, and the defence has sprung a leak. Injuries to key defensive players haven’t helped, and hopefully with them soon returning, we’ll get back to our stingy ways.
Ryan Longman’s recent hat-trick has put him clear as our top scorer, with ten goals. Leon Lobjoit has seven goals, and once again, they’re mostly from the bench.
We only have three players averaging over 7. Greenhalgh (who has 4 goals and 7 assists), and two of our BWM’s Kyron Farrell and Harry Lee. They are all players who have come up from the Vanarama South with us.
Max Broughton is doing OK on the wing. I think his stats would be better if our strikers had done a better job converting some of the chances he’s created. He certainly looks better in-game than Lewis Taafe.
Dare I say it? I think we’re safe. With sixteen games left we’ve got a thirteen point cushion over the relegation zone, and perhaps more importantly, thirteen teams would need to overtake us.
Looking upwards, the top three are beginning to eke out a lead, but with a decent run and some luck, we could sneak into the play-offs… Maybe?