North Stander: ‘Donacien and Kenlock are simply not good enough’
What do you think of it so far? As promised, I’m staying positive – but with a number of concerns.
A draw at Peterborough is, I believe, a decent result. At the end of the season, it's highly likely the home team will be in or around the top six.
So we stay unbeaten in the league after three games. That can't be bad.
There are some good things to take from the visit to Posh. Great to see James Norwood get off the mark. It was so important that he scored early on in the season. Shame about his awful penalty. I would have saved that!
Norwood is just what our club needed - a real bubbly, colourful personality with a great connection to the fans. His social media presence is hilarious!
Alongside Norwood, Kayden Jackson doesn't look as though he will score loads of goals but his electric pace will scare the living daylights out of lumbering League One defences. The way he won the penalty was a classic example.
In midfield, Cole Skuse and Flynn Downes are establishing a really effective partnership. There can't be any better at this level.
It was also good to see Luke Chambers popping up with the last-gasp winner, after his howler last week. As I said then, I would keep picking him, not least for his powerful personality and leadership.
But there are also plenty of concerns. Bad habits are hard to break, they say, and that's certainly the case with our defence conceding poor goals.
It was one of the reasons we were relegated, and we don't seem to have kicked the habit.
There was the Chambers nightmare last weekend, and Peterborough's first goal was another awful moment.
It must have driven Paul Lambert and his coaching staff absolutely mad. You should never concede such a sloppy goal. I know one thing - I can't remember us being allowed to score many goals like that! It really is down to a lack of basic defensive discipline.
Staying with the defence, I'm afraid I have sadly come to the conclusion that both our current full-backs, Donacien and Kenlock, are simply not good enough.
I assume one of them - probably Donacien - will be replaced immediately by our new signing, Kane Vincent-Young. We have, after all, spent proper money on the young man, so we'd better play him!
I'm also less than convinced by Holy the goalie. Yes, he's big - and I'm convinced his giant presence in the penalty area distracted the Peterborough defenders for Chambers' goal - but I can't ever see him being as good as Bart, who is now earning rave reviews at Millwall. We miss him.
Another major concern is our lack of creativity. I've mentioned the success of the Skuse-Downes axis but, let's face it, those two are never going to create loads of chances. Their job is different.
So, we're rather lacking in the chances department, and that has to change. Look at our two goals at Peterborough - the first given to us by their keeper, the second from a set-piece. We need to create more from open play.
Ironically, of course, we do have two of the best creative players you will ever see in the third division. Fully firing, both Alan Judge and Emyr Huws could be League One superstars, and a prolific supply chain for Norwood and Jackson. We understand why Huws is being gently nursed back, and hopefully he can prove a real force later in the campaign.
It's Judge who worries me. Where is the player we saw last season? What's wrong with him? Is he still off the pace because of his lack of pre-season? Or is he still distracted by the QPR saga? Whatever the reason, he is a long way from the player we all know he can be.
All in all, after three games, we're doing ok. I would give us seven out of ten. It's how we do in the next three that will be really informative. Wimbledon at home on Tuesday evening, then Bolton away next Saturday, and Shrewsbury at Portman Road the following Saturday.
All three of those sides are expected to struggle. Bolton, in particular, are in a right mess. We should expect at least seven points. That would give us 12 points from the first six games, establish us inside the top six, and create a solid platform for a promotion push, especially when our injured players are fit. Oh, and we're still expecting two more signings to strengthen the squad.
Finally, a mention of our magnificent travelling support. 4,000 at Peterborough. Wow! If anyone deserved an injury time equaliser, it was them. Well played.
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