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Fuller Flavour: Let’s go straight to spot-kicks tonight, plus why the EFL trophy is our Brexit

10 December, 2019 - 08:56
Luke Chambers is out injured. Photo: ROSS HALLS

Luke Chambers is out injured. Photo: ROSS HALLS

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Can we just go straight to penalties tonight please? I’m already fearing another 1-1 and the thought of prolonging matters until a predictable penalty shoot-out is not overly appealing, writes Karl Fuller.

That we drew and picked up an away point at one of our fellow promotion contenders would ordinarily be not too bad a result. But the grumbles are getting louder at yet another game of two halves and a failure to defend a slim lead.

I read someone's comment after the game asking how can we go from being Barcelona to Barnet in the space of one game?

I'm sure that we are not as good as the Catalans or similar to The Bees but I understand and share the frustration that as good as were in the first 45 minutes on Saturday, that we could not put our chances away and put the game to bed before Coventry came back into it in the second period.

MORE: North Stander: 'I really do worry we'll miss out on promotion if squad rotation continues'

Our position in the league table is a very healthy one still but failure to win again against a top-six side is starting to raise more than the odd concern. The problem we have as supporters is that there is absolutely nothing we can do about it.

Paul Lambert will go on rotating his line-up, we know he will opt occasionally for a one-up-front policy and when questioned about various matters, he is starting to get quite prickly in response.

Barry Cotter celebrates his EFL Trophy heroics at Peterborough Picture: PAGEPIX LTDBarry Cotter celebrates his EFL Trophy heroics at Peterborough Picture: PAGEPIX LTD

One of my recent thoughts on the rotation policy has come to fruition in respect of Luke Chambers missing Saturday's game through injury.

When I questioned the need to field a weakened side, it was put to me that we did not want to risk an injury in say an EFL trophy game. I tried to point out that injuries also occur in training and lo and behold, Chambers has gone and picked up an injury in such circumstance.

I do get why the EFL Trophy should see the need for changes. It's the least of our priorities and should indeed be used to give youngsters and fringe players an opportunity for a game.

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But it's the FA Cup where I'm feeling somewhat agitated that we don't go stronger than we have been. If we win tonight, then let's try and get the job done at the first time of asking in the third round with a stronger team rather than risk yet another game added to the schedule with a replay.

I do fear that soon the league table will not have such a positive look if we continue with our current policy. I really want to see both a line-up and formation imbedded and stick to it and get a pattern of consistency finally up and running. But I know there is little chance of getting what I want. We'll see how it all pans out in the long-run, I guess.

Back to the EFL Trophy and for me, this is the Brexit of our season. There are those that want to remain in the competition and those that want us to leave.

Should we have the chance to reach a Wembley final, then no doubt there'll be a slight majority of those wanting us to remain and last week's win at Peterborough saw another step taken in that direction.

I'm convinced that as each game presents itself, we go with a weaker and younger squad. When last week's line-up was announced, I'm ashamed to admit that there were a couple of players in the squad that I'd not heard of.

Most fans would have thought the same unless you're an avid follower of our Academy. But all those that played did us proud and we even had the rare glory of winning a penalty shoot-out. Who'd have thought we'd score six penalties in one shoot-out!

MORE: Stuart Watson's Sunday Verdict: Do I fear that Ipswich Town could mess this up? You bet. Fear is a good thing though...

If we reach the same conclusion tonight, then who knows, we might win two shoot-outs in a week. Where will last week's heroes be though in Barry Cotter and Adam Przybek?

That aside, I look forward to Saturday for the first of five league games in a row where we can hopefully start enjoying a bit more normality.


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