Dean Smith, should he stay or should he go?
February 2012, and a season that began all so promisingly, with an opening day home victory against Leyton Orient, is well and truly on a downward spiral.
Some may say it wasn`t expected this season, some may say it was predictable, with or without the gift of hindsight.
Whichever way you choose to look at it, Walsall FC are heading for a relegation dogfight again, granted we are in a slightly better position than last season, but let`s face it not much.
So this then begs the unavoidable question, Do we have the correct man in the hotseat?
Dean Smith, a man with no managerial experience, yet a man who managed to guide the club back from no man`s land at Christmas 2010, to a final day survival by a singular point.
Managerial genius? Or just plain beginners luck?
Well the heroics performed by Smith last season to keep us in this league, led to him being affectionately nicknamed 'Ginger Mourinho`, and yet we find ourselves heading towards a similar situation this season with him at the helm.
We have the obvious arguments of requiring more backing from the financial hierarchy, and not being able to attract a decent caliber of players to the squad, but look at some of the players that were gotten rid of.
I`m sure we would all agree that we would kill at this moment for Matt Richards, Julian Gray etc back in the squad, in their places we got the inconsistent Adam Chambers, and the already departed Claude Gnakpa.
This is Dean`s team and at times he does make himself look quite inept, both tactically and otherwise.
-MK Dons at home and we go down to ten men losing Jimmy Walker, only to find out that our second choice David Grof isn`t on the bench so right back Lee Beevers pulls on the gloves.
-Does anyone actually know where Richard Taundry plays? Or is he just there as a stopgap for any positions unfilled?
-Ryan Jarvis (need any explanation?)
Granted he hasn`t been all bad, home win at an albeit struggling Preston side, home draw against table topping Charlton, away draw against Huddersfield, and who could forget the boxing day victory over Sheffield Wednesday?
The stats though, do to some extent speak for themselves! Four wins in 28 games, which as it stands leaves us only out of the relegation places on goal difference, is not really where the fans or Dean himself undoubtedly envisioned us at the start of the season.
Smith appears afraid of change, the same lineup seems to greet us at kick off every game, youngster Jamie Paterson has done brilliantly to push himself into the squad this season and deservedly so, but what else?
George Bowerman, doesn`t get as much of a chance as he could, and quite frankly where is Will Grigg?
Grigg started the season so well, touched a dip in form and hasn`t been seen since? If a slight dip in form is enough to expel a player from the team for such a long time under Smith then surely half the squad should be out at the moment?
I do believe that we need some fresh blood in the hot seat, and yes I`m aware that whoever the new blood is may face similar problems with lack of budget/backing etc.
Surely though, there is someone out there with more imagination, ambition and at times plain tactical awareness!
Vital Walsall on: