Good grief. Terrible result on Saturday. We looked devoid of ideas and Ian Evatt is right, we wouldn’t have scored in a month of Sundays.
Lots of fall out on social media and few things that I take issue with.
People are going on about the formation not working. Well, it did for the games where we won five on the bounce. It worked against second-placed Cheltenham and Cambridge too.
Incidentally, the two games where we did change formation, against Colchester and Newport, it didn’t work.
Added to that, people go on about our recruitment being poor. And it’s not been great, granted, but there are simple reasons for this that people ignore.
We had to sign 20-odd players. It’s not as if we only needed a few signings to fit into an already settled team, meaning we would know exactly how any new signing would fit and we would be able to predict their success more accurately.
We had to throw mud at a wall and see what stuck. That’s nobody's fault, it’s just what happened because we had a new manager, new owners, new recruitment strategy, new style of play and no players.
It was always going to be a bit hit and miss. The good thing is though, that most of our players are still contracted until next year and so we are only adding to a squad rather than assembling a whole new one.
We are terribly inconsistent at the moment but we have shown that consistency is possible. This isn’t a formation issue, it’s a wide variety of other issues like changing personnel, attitude and fitness.
I know it’s a frustrating time for the fans and I realise why some people do want Ian Evatt out however I don’t feel this way.
Evatt is still the perfect choice of manager you would want for the level we’re at.
It’s going wrong currently, he recognises that, we all do but I think it’s fair to say, it doesn’t seem to be getting worse and we’re under no real threat of further relegations. Why would we sack Evatt and hire someone else with either the same credentials or someone proven at League Two level, a safe bet to take us out of this league more quickly?
Look at Phil Parkinson, he was great in League One, and fairly or unfairly to judge, was out of his depth in the Championship, obviously hindered by the ownership he had to work under.
Evatt is still a young manager, learning on the job, it’s a whole new team with financial limitations and previous recruitment problems.
We have to have faith, regardless of what was promised and said at the start of the season.
Fans have to be realistic, why would he start a season with, ‘we stink, recruitment has been bad, get ready for a long season everyone?'
Anyway, I feel it’s easy to ascertain what is going wrong now and that’s simply that we have no strength in depth.
You can criticise Evatt for his choice of team and substitutions but if he doesn’t trust his players or think that they’re good enough, you have to have faith he is correct.
Andrew Tutte has been the standout player for sure and that’s been a surprise. We need to remember that with him missing, we are simply not the same without another defensive midfielder.
You can argue that Evatt needs a plan B and of course that’s true, but we’ve seen some of these players this season, they don’t look at the level.
A full year of a rebuild and stability is ideal this season, a promotion would just be a bonus.
Evatt’s recruitment in January is key.
Unfortunately, yet again, Saturday showed us how vulnerable we are under attack, but also how weak we are in attack without Andrew Tutte playing.
I think the second goal shows a great example of the way that attacking players aren’t closed down effectively when pressing towards our box.
This area is usually where Tutte operates most effectively in eliminating opposition attacks and providing the relevant support for the back three.
However after saying this, I have been impressed with what George Thomasson has brought so far. Against Tranmere he seemed confident to switch the play, opening up an opportunity for Harry Brockbank or Gethin Jones to push down either side and deliver crosses into the box.
I didn’t necessarily have a problem with the quality of the wing-back’s crossing, but more the response of the first player to receive the ball.
I don’t think it’s fair to blame Evatt’s system when that same system brought us so much success in the month of November.
I think the two main factors were the loss of Tutte and the attacking threat that Peter Kioso brings.
In January, I think that we need to bring in an experienced defensive minded midfielder because I feel that is the key to our success as November showed.
We got all of the basics wrong. We couldn’t defend and we certainly couldn’t produce any quality in the final third.
What I think was very noticeable was that we came out of the blocks quickly especially at the start of the game.
This does make me ask if we are actually fit enough to compete for 90 minutes? After all, Tranmere, didn’t have to work hard to beat us 3-0. All Tranmere had to do was get the basics right.
I have to mention Lloyd Isgrove and Nathan Delfouneso who I thought did absolutely nothing in all of the time they were on the pitch. Is Delfouneso still carrying an injury?
If so he should be allowed to rest because playing him isn’t doing us any favours. Isgrove should also be left as an impact sub for now until he gets his match fitness back.
I do also feel very sorry for, Eoin Doyle, who put in one heck of a shift.
Unfortunately, Doyle, has to keep going and looking for the ball due to a lack of service.
We need him to be up front and in the middle getting the service he needs to fire in the goals rather than constantly being pulled out to the wings leaving nobody there when we do have possession.
I have to also mention, Keith Hill, who I am sure will have enjoyed his Saturday night. I did wonder if Keith would have had more of a chance if it wasn’t for Tobias Phoenix? On that performance I think Keith has shown that he was worthy of another season. We will never know for certain, but I doubt we would have been in a worse position that we are now.
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