JOHN McGINLAY: Wanderers need to end campaign on a high
11:00pm Thursday 21st February 2013 in Sport
REST assured Dougie Freedman will be taking notes as we scrap and fight for every point at the minute.
I’m sure he’ll be watching every one of his players very closely in training and when they step out on the pitch with one eye on the summer. And he’ll be learning a little bit more with every single game.
Let’s be honest, some players have not turned up regularly enough this season. I think the previous manager would still be in a job if they had.
Dougie will be taking everything on board and deciding who is right and who is wrong for the club. All the while, he has to get performances and results, and it is a very difficult job to pull off.
He has made some changes and there is no hiding from the fact the team looks more solid defensively. We have seen snippets of what he wants his team to be about, but the consistency still isn’t there and I think the answer to that comes from the players. Are they really doing enough?
The manager has sensibly started from the back and made sure the team can keep themselves in games. There’s no doubt we are harder to beat now – and that teams have got to play at a decent level to get anything.
Now he really needs that to translate into the offensive players. Unfortunately that’s where it seems to have stalled in the last couple of games.
We seem to be a little over-cautious. We sat back too much against Derby and it cost us the late equaliser when a win would have done us so much good. It’s frustrating from a supporter’s point of view and I’ll bet that’s doubly so for the manager.
It will come, I’m sure. It’s all about repetition. But the fact remains that a few players are not at full tilt, and you can’t rotate everyone.
Regardless of whether we get to the play-offs or not, the most important thing is that we end the season with a bit of momentum.
There are people feeling a little bit disillusioned out there, a few moans and groans, and the last thing we really want is for that to carry on through the summer.
If we leave things on a downer then it is going to be hard work to win people back. We have seen it before.
The same applies for some of the players. If they don’t knuckle down now, the manager will be making his own mind up about their futures at the club.
IT may have got to the stage for David Ngog where he looks at his Reebok career and wonders whether it is actually going to happen or not.
Rumours about interest from Dynamo Kiev don’t surprise me very much, and nor did the links with Fulham, Stoke and a few others during the January transfer window.
You have to look at David, pictured, and say he hasn’t made the impression we would have liked since being at the club.
There are reasons for that, and one of the main ones is that he has never really found a settled position in the team. I don’t think he enjoys playing wide right or as a main striker, so the system doesn’t really suit him.
He has shown it in flashes from the bench but the performances haven’t been there on a regular basis when he has started games. He works hard, but is that really enough for the money we invested in him?
He might turn it around, and I certainly hope he does. I hope that what his agent says about him being happy at the club proves to be true and that he realises his potential here, because he has all the tools to be a top, top striker. But I don’t think we can continually say “he’s young” and make excuses because he’s 23. That’s nearly a third of a career gone by now.
You wouldn’t point at a Daniel Sturridge or a Jack Wilshere and excuse them for being young. They are established players now.
Maybe David feels he needs a change, I don’t know. If the interest from Ukraine pans out then perhaps the figures being bandied about will test his loyalty and the club’s desire to keep him.
WHEN I watched Saturday’s opponents Hull City beat Wanderers in September, I couldn’t have imagined they would go on to become promotion candidates and we would be the ones struggling in the lower half.
I know the result that day was a bad one. Some people say it was the beginning of the end for Owen Coyle.
But look at what happened. We lost a 1-0 lead and we weren’t that far away from taking something – and in that respect not a lot has changed.
I have watched a lot of teams in the Championship this season and I’ve yet to see one I think is really special.
Every week you see a funny result – Peterborough beating Millwall 5-1, or Cardiff and Leicester getting beat. There are no outstanding teams, and that should give us a bit of hope that it isn’t too late to get on a run.
We need wins, because draws are only really maintaining our position in the table, and each week that passes the chance of the play-offs is getting thinner and thinner.
CRAIG Davies has certainly looked up for a scrap since he came into the team.
I’ve said before that he surprised me a bit with how quickly he’s gelled, and that showed on Tuesday night when he got his first start against Derby County.
But I don’t think we’ll see the best of him until Dougie Freedman can sort out the right balance up front – and what he really wants to do with his strikers.
At the moment everyone is getting a turn but, like Marvin Sordell, I think Craig Davies would be more comfortable playing in a two, with someone closer to him.
That might be what the manager chooses to do in the future, but I’d bet he has been encouraged by how the lad has put himself about since signing from Barnsley.