Flight Of The Concords: Part 14

We do seem to be good.

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We’ve added one more defender. Manny Monthe (DLC) has joined and similarly to Chris Smith he offers good mentals for tutoring, as well as slotting straight in to first team contention.

I said before that the summer was our best transfer window so far, and the results and performances have borne that out. We are much better than last season. We’ve even (shock horror) won more than one cup game this season!

Checkatrade Trophy:

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I still don’t like this competition. Playing against under-23 teams lacks romance, attendances are shockingly low and the rules suck. But we need every penny at the moment, so we’re trying our best. Holders Tottenham U23 are our next opponents in the Third Round…

FA Cup:

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A proper tournament, and we’ve had relatively favourable draws. We were brilliant against Accrington, probably our best ever performance. It could’ve been eight or nine.

Beating Peterborough was a proud moment, as they’re mid-table in League One, though we were fortunate to play them during a slump. We’ve gotten farther than I’d hoped, and get to test our mettle at home to a Watford side flying high in fifth place in the Premier League next. I’m hoping for a record attendance…

Sky Bet League Two:

Not a sexy month, but enough to bag me another gong:

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We had a little stumble at Christmas as I played half the first team on Boxing Day, and the other half on the 28th.

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Perhaps I should’ve targeted one fixture and sacrificed the other. You live and learn. Before that, we were a ridiculous eleven points clear, but Lincoln are on fire at the moment. After we beat them they’ve won eight on the bounce, closing the gap to six points.

We’re back on track in early January, despite playing a full blown back-up XI against relegation threatened Ebbsfleet, as we rested our players for the FA Cup tie versus Bury.

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I almost can’t believe how well it’s going. Our efforts to attack more are working brilliantly, and our home form continues to astound. We’ve turned the Aspect Arena into a real fortress.

But it hasn’t cost us too much at the back. Our defence is still one of the best in the league.

Other News:

There was a point where I went to three job interviews in just two days, all for Championship clubs, but when Concord offered me a new contract to stay for another year, I signed it (after negotiating the wage budget higher). I couldn’t leave now.

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Louis John has left for Solihull Moors on a free. He gave us a decent season and a half, but has been left behind as we try to improve. There’ll be more of that this summer I suspect…

It’s the start of the January window and the vultures are already beginning to circle for John English. West Brom bid a pathetic £42.5k plus future fees, an offer I’ve stalled on answering. I think I’ll have to negotiate rather than reject so as not to piss him off. The partnership between him and Ryan Longman is what’s got us into this position. If one of them was to leave, I suspect we’d drop like a stone.

In terms of potential incoming transfers, I am considering adding another goalie. Ben Wilson’s done nothing wrong, but there’s an upgrade available for free…

Player Performance:

John English, attracting interest from all three divisions above us, most frighteningly from Premier League West Brom, has been superb, especially in the league:

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He’s developing nicely too, and I hope he’s not too far off adding “Moves Into Channels” onto his player traits.

Ryan Longman’s form declined after I signed him to a new deal, and after he got praised in the media. But he’s still playing okay, and I remain hopeful he can strike another rich vein of form. At one point he scored twelve league goals in just six games. Crazy.

Ben Greenhalgh has upped his game again.

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Seven goals and eight assists is great, and he continues to perform brilliantly.

Manny Monthe has stepped straight into the back four, averaging 7.16, and has already started tutoring, taking Ben Adamson under his wing.

I’ve ended this post a little earlier than usual as with two cup games and a decision about John English to make, it seemed like a natural pausing point. Also, I may not have much time to play and write for a few days.

It’s going very well so far, and I’m enjoying myself hugely. My only concern is if the January window is destined to disrupt our title/promotion challenge…

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