Date:Sunday October 19 2014
Our regular blogger, Adam Guest, sets Dean Smith some targets in order to save his job.
In the last issue of this blog, which was written pre the Bristol City game, I said it would be typically Walsall to win that one and then lose against Crewe. At least I was half right.
Anyone regular readers of my ramblings will know that I`ve nailed my colours firmly to the Smith In mast so far this season, but performances and defeats like yesterday, and the previous week against Oldham, regularly earn managers the sack. I don`t think we`re at that point yet, but given that we dropped into the bottom four yesterday, and that after the Chesterfield game next week we`ll be 1/3 of the way through the season, a line in the sand has to be drawn somewhere. For me, I`d draw it for the end of November. That gives Deano six league games, up to and including Coventry away on November 29th, to turn things around.
Why then? Well for me the timing of a managerial change has to be considered very carefully. I`d be very uneasy about doing it today for instance purely because we`d be throwing the team into turmoil before a midweek away game. However, if we get to somewhere like the end of January before making a decision, then any new manager who comes in won`t have the benefit of a transfer window to make any changes and will face an uphill struggle to shape the side he wants to get us out of trouble. The end of November gives any new manager a month to assess the squad before the transfer window opens in January, and it will also give the club two weeks to find a replacement, on the assumption we`ll be already be out of the FA Cup by then and the impact on the team will be minimised by the fortnight gap between the Coventry game and our next league fixture at home to Barnsley on December 13th.
Then what needs to change? For a start Deano needs to decide what his best XI is, which at the minute he doesn`t seem to know. This is proven by the fact that for reasons I haven`t yet fathomed he seems to think Benning and Flanagan are part of it. They`re not. Benning makes too many mistakes and Flanagan, despite having huge potential, simply isn`t ready yet. I appreciate he`s not been helped by a long injury list, but yesterdays side contained five changes from the Oldham game and it was equally appalling.
What about results? The first thing to point out is that of those six games I`m giving Deano, four of them are away from home. You`d want to be averaging a point a game from those four away games. Notts County, who we travel to on November 1st, are currently in the top 6, and Fleetwood, which is November 22nd, are 9th and currently unbeaten at home. But Coventry and Crawley are both winnable games, so one point a game is not the highest of benchmarks to set. As for our home games, there are only two. Chesterfield next week, who have W2, D2 and L2 so far on the road, and Peterborough who are second in the league. You have to make the most of home advantage and we need to get 4 points there. So that`s 8 points from 6 games, with four of those games on the road. Some would argue the targets set above are too low, but if we fail to hit even those Deano really will be left with nowhere to go. If we can achieve it however, and especially if we can throw a cup win or two into the mix, then we may just hit the Christmas games with a modicum of momentum and give ourselves a chance of riding out the storm.
The line has been drawn; let`s see what happens.
Date:Sunday October 19 2014
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