"On the … green
Of Shakespeare’s county shine!"
A break from League One pressures as we enter the 1st round proper of the F.A. Cup, the “real” cup competition, and savour the thought of something called a “cup run”. The obstacle comes in the form of a resurgent Coventry City side who have taken 13 points from their last 5 League One games (we have taken a measly 3 points if that gives you any idea of current form). There will probably be a couple of familiar faces in their line-up, in the shape of Jordy Hiwula-Mayifuila and the more recently acquired Amadou Bakayoko - and if we display the kind of generosity shown to Charlton Athletic’s Krystian Bielik in scoring, then we can probably expect much the same from these two ex-Saddlers.
I won’t depress everyone with a detailed list of their current matches - just be aware that in the last month or so they have beaten Doncaster Rovers at home, and won away at Southend United and Charlton Athletic. Oh, and they beat Barnsley in September as well …
Dean Keates’ problems are basically twofold … not only does he have the tricky task of selecting his estimation of the best starting XI, but just as importantly he has to find some way of motivating players who seem to have “switched off” over the past few weeks. Some of the most basic requirements in playing football are not being met, and a glaring example is our conduct at throw-ins where the Saddler taking the throw has the responsibility of finding a team mate in space to ensure possession. This so often proves impossible because no-one is moving into space, or trying to draw his marker away so as to make space for another Saddler. Accurate passing of the ball also seems to have been forgotten, or dismissed as unimportant, and the (in)accuracy of crosses from the wing is a prime example in this category.
The fitness of certain players has been called into question recently, and it is a feature of the pace of current League One football that anyone who is not totally match fit will get found out quickly, and once found out that weakness will be quite rightly exploited by the opposition. Again, if tired legs are beginning to be noticed after 60 minutes then substitution should be considered then, and not at 84 minutes when all is probably lost, and the new player has precious little chance of making any impression in the game.
Rant over - and prediction time … As every week goes by, the “hope springs eternal” mindset comes into play, and this Saturday is no exception. If the appropriate stimulation can be successfully applied, and we can start to play in the style that propelled us into the play-off zone, we are quite capable of winning this 2-1 - Cook and Morris (what a welcome return that would be) to score.