I had to look up Chris Hutchings’ record earlier this week for a post. They are worth repeating now:
Hutchings: Played 63, Won 21, Lost 24, Drawn 18 – 1.28 points per game
That compares with the hapless Mullen, sacked, remember for results, especially at home, leading to “falling gates” (just like now) – of:
Mullen: Played 29, Won 10, Lost 14, Drawn 5 – 1.21 points per game
Hutchings’s win rate is 33%, Mullen’s 34%.
(By way of comparison, by the way, Money averaged 1.6 points per game and had a win ratio of 42%).
In addition, since the 1st December, as Exile pointed out earlier this week, we’ve played 18 games, won only 4, losing 9 times and gaining a mere 17 points, including an 8 game streak without a win. Luckily we made those points in the first half of the season, as that’s relegation form whatever way you look at it. On this basis we’ll be lucky to see 55 points by the end of the season, and we’re doubly lucky that there’s some runaway good teams in the top 6 and plenty of dross surrounding us.
Over those 18 games, we are averaging just 0.94 points per game, or a seasonal aggregate, over 46 games, of 43 points. That’s nailed on relegation form, so we are, quite frankly, getting worse.
At least the injury news is a little better. Mattis and Richards are set hand the beleaguered Saddlers a boost and win their fitness battles ahead of the trip to Exeter on Saturday.
Both limped out of Tuesday’s disgusting defeat at relegation threatened Southend and were rated doubtful, but boss Chris Hutchings has confirmed they are due to rejoin training.
The manager said on Thursday: “Matt will train tomorrow and hopefully Dwayne will too, it’s just a matter of time to let the injuries settle down and hopefully they will be available for Saturday. Dwayne’s was a flare up of his Achilles and they are a nightmare as I have had them myself and Matty just got his knock on the ankle. Hopefully we can get Dwayne through because we haven’t got a midweek game the following week.”
The Saddlers will, of course, be without two first choice centre backs, as Hughes and McDonald are both suspended. Quite how that leaves the defence remains to be seen. Hutchings has seemed to be reluctant to bring Smith in from the cold during his contract dispute, so we might even see a situation, given Richards’s injury problems, of two full backs at centre back (Weston and Vincent) and two kids at fullback (Westlake and Sansara), or even a midfielder at right back (Taundry).
As for the opposition, they may have a new boy in the ranks, in the shape of 6ft 2in Rotherham striker Ryan Taylor on a month-long loan transfer, with a view to extending the deal.
Taylor is likely to feature for the Grecians tomorrow, giving manager Paul Tisdale plenty of options up front, with Marcus Stewart, Adam Stansfield, Barry Corr, Richard Logan, James Norwood and Stuart Fleetwood already on the books. Stansfield is a doubt for tomorrow, though, as he is suffering from a stomach bug.
Quite frankly, after the pathetic display on Tuesday night against a team in the bottom four, I am firmly of the belief that it’s impossible to forecast anything we are going to do this season. It ought to be a draw, but who knows?