Club Watch

January 5, 2013




Ken Masters


Clubs will doubtless be taking stock of their positions, injuries to key players, pending suspensions as yellow cards build and the state of their finances giving regards to the salary cap in League Two. The month of January is sure to be a busy time for club directors and football managers as they seek to fashion events between now and the end of April.

Past experiences shows that clubs who have made a good start to the season can fade away; the expression ‘Alright up to Christmas’ is one that has been used many times in the past. Clubs that are in middle of the pack often make a late surge into the play off or even promotion places. Other clubs who think that they are mid table security can find themselves slipping with a poor turn of form only to be sucked into the battle to avoid relegation. Then there are the clubs who show a determined resolve to climb the table and out of trouble from often a precarious December League positions.

I wonder what the clubs in League Two are thinking and what is going on in people’s minds as the second half of the season gets under way. The News Now web site is a good source and the individual club websites can be revealing albeit this season’s design of the club web sites is considered by many to be a bit to be desired; a bit difficult to browse and a bit of a turn off.

Edgar Davids finds himself in sole charge at Barnet and praised his side’s battling mentality after the Bees fought back to secure a 2-2 against Exeter City in the Christmas fixture at St James’ Park.

The head coach says the side should not be affected by the departure of former joint boss Mark Robson. The Exeter game was Davids’ first game in sole charge. He told BBC London

“It’s still the same, nothing changed really, now we need to get the results in.

“We are looking for progress and every game we have to see if there is a positive trend and work on the negatives. So far we are doing OK.”

It looks like it Edgar but there is still a very long way to go and changing things is an option that must be left open, just in case! AFC Wimbledon Boss Neal Ardley was not a happy man following his side’s home defeat to Oxford United. He had this to say after the game,

“We were 2-0 down before anyone started to show a bit of courage; there’s too many weak mentalities.”

“We’re bottom going into the New Year. I’m willing to have a go to make sure we don’t go down, and only the players who are willing to be brave and have a bit of balls about them will get us out of it.

“I’m also willing to roll my sleeves up and have a go. It’s not going to be easy but I’m going to have a damn good go at it.”

And so say all of us Neal and there was me and all of us at Rovers thinking that we would be bottom going into the New Year; not a nice feeling and talking about balls, it’s all about getting them into the opposition’s net and stopping them getting into your own.

Accrington boss Learn Richardson described the goals his side conceded as ‘sloppy’ as they went down 4-1 at Rotherham.

“The lads are all in it together whether it’s good, bad or indifferent and we will stick together and work hard and we will always come back stronger, but if you don’t take your chances at one end, you will always have a problem at the other end.”

Just as I was saying, in reference to balls that is.

“We always knew December would be tough but in January I get the chance to attack things and affect things.”

I think we are all saying that but I suspect you need resources and finance to affect things greatly and some clubs at this level are positioned to survive on pitifully low attendances.

At the top end the Port Vale official website reported Micky Adams understandably buzzing after the win against Dagenham took his side to the top of the league, capping off a bizarre twelve months.

Vale have really gone through the mill in 2012, which has seen the go through several months of administration, a failed takeover, players’ contracts withdrawn, debts, and finally top spot in League Two.

Adams goes on;

 “Overall we’ve got to be delighted to be top of the league going into the New Year and we’re all dead chuffed with that.”

And so would all of us be and it just goes to show there is light at the end of the tunnel if you are prepared to be positive and work hard but it’s all about the end of April. Club positions will surely change between now and then.



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