Looking at the fixture list and realised how important the November games will be.
Don’t expect us to take points on Saturday, but regardless of the Swindon result the four (potentially six) consecutive home games that follow could be make-or-break in terms of turning this season around, restoring some faith in the ‘project’ and getting funds in ahead of the January sales.
Darlington (09.11) - FA Cup: Absolute must win, anything else than progress to the next round and the early-season takeover enthusiasm will bottom out for even the most optimistic of us. Wouldn’t trust us to win a replay either, so a draw would be an abject result.
Win well and we have a home victory and a bit of momentum, and we’re in desperate need of both. The £36,000 prize money can’t be sniffed at either and the performance in this game will undoubtedly effect take-up on the £5 Cambridge offer.
Worth noting we currently have just two scheduled home matches in December, so from a financial perspective getting to the 2nd Round of the FA Cup (31.11) offers a 50/50 chance of another home tie before the window, though we’ll share gate revenue either way.
Blue sky thinking, but reach the FA Cup 3rd Round and that’s another £64,000 in the pot and a potential money spinner in the first week of January…
Forest Green (12.11) - Mickey Mouse U23 Trophy: Farce competition but we can qualify for the next round with a win (£10,000) or draw (£5,000), then there’s another £20k up for grabs in the second round (03.12). Chance of another home tie of course, but imagine they struggle to break even with attendances as low as they (deservedly) are.
Cambridge (16.11) and Stevenage (23.11) - League 2: It doesn’t have to be pretty (and it probably wont be) but if we’re going to turn things around we need to start digging in and taking points at home, especially against two visiting teams currently in the bottom half.
December looks a tough month as it is (Vale, Exeter and Scunthorpe away, Macclesfield and Carlisle at home) but on the back of another couple of poor home results things will look very bleak going into Christmas, especially if we’re out of the FA Cup.
Also, our poor home form isn’t going to help the uptake of half season tickets, which is presumably a budget consideration in January. Guessing we can already expect sales to be lower because more supporters invested in full ST’s during the early Pomlett euphoria.
Being optimistic, the November home fixtures present a real platform for Clarke and his players to step up to the challenge, change the direction of this season and lift the gloom. If they can’t, I really do fear for us between now and May.