Fuller Flavour: The bubble of optimism has been well and truly pricked!
PUBLISHED: 06:00 01 April 2019 | UPDATED: 16:58 02 April 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Blues fan Karl Fuller admits to feeling as low as any point under Lambert, after Town's hapless effort against Hull
Since the end of October, there have not been too many occasions where I have felt overly down despite being bottom of the league ever since and having won just two games.
Like most fans, I knew early that we were in deep trouble and with the squad that Paul Hurst left us, it was reasonably obvious that we did not have enough quality to get us out of the mess he left us in.
Saturday evening however, I felt as low as I have done at any point under Paul Lambert.
The bubble of optimism was well and truly pricked.
In recent matches, I really felt that there were shoots of recovery and progress was being made in performances. Yet again, the hope is what is killing us.
Last time out, the second-half against Nottingham Forest gave so much optimism for the remainder of the season where it was hoped that we would at least go down with a fight.
Then along came the fourth international break of the season and for the fourth time, we’ve lost the first game back and for the second time, against Hull City.
That’s 10 wins and three draws for The Tigers in their last 13 games against us.
We won’t have to worry about them next season and possibly, international breaks either.
With no Teddy Bishop and rumours that Matthew Pennington was out for the season prior to kick-off, there was a sense that misfortune continues to find us, and this was compounded when Jon Nolan went off injured.
The performance was flat and probably the worst under Lambert, and this transmitted into the stands where usual volumes of support went missing too.
From optimism at the final whistle against Forest, read despondency at Saturday’s final whistle.
If truth be known, most of us probably wished that was the final whistle of this forgettable season.
Lambert’s post-match interview certainly had folk talking.
What did it mean? Is he off? Or are we all reading too much into it? There are certainly more people clamouring against Lambert now as another winless game passed by.
Surely, we need Lambert in charge come the start of next season, don’t we? Stability must be the order of the day for the months ahead. Lambert needs to be here for a pre-season, he needs proper backing from Marcus Evans and then see where we are at the end of the year.
If he was to leave, we’re back to square one and then what happens?
I was pleased to see Luke Chambers sign a new contract recently.
He’s had his critics this season, but he still has a lot to offer and no matter how many youngsters we’re looking forward to seeing next season, we need some experienced heads to guide them and Chambers will be an exemplary role model.
The time of the season has arrived to vote for our Player of the Season and when you have a season like ours, there is no obvious candidate.
For me, it was a process of elimination. There was not a goalkeeper or striker that I could select (incidentally, only seven strikers have ever won the award in the previous 39 seasons) and that left me thinking of a worthy nominee from defence or midfield.
I whittled my selection down to three. I thought about Trevoh Chalobah’s contributions this term, especially in the second-half of the season.
I can see why he would scoop many fans’ votes. It’s easy to forget that against Blackburn Rovers on the opening day of the season, he was playing in his first-ever senior game. He will have a good future in the game.
Chambers has had to shoulder so much responsibility on his shoulders this season and has always been dignified and his consummate professional self in everything he does for the club who I thought long and hard about.
But as it’s probably an award for footballing attributes, then my vote goes to Matthew Pennington who has shown marginally more consistency than most and at times, put in some very good individual performances when collectively, we’ve struggled defensively.
We’ll find out in less than two weeks who the winner is.