Due to taking the best part of a month off work following my operation at the start of September, I have been increasingly busy in the last couple of weeks. Clearly this is all good news as it helps to pay the mortgage, but it has made my blogging rather erratic. It also explains why I am writing a preview of today's game at 9am on the Saturday rather than on the Thursday or the Friday. Normally this would afford me the benefit of reading all the other blogs first, but this week I've not had time to do so.
Anyway, now I'm here I might as well fill in the gaps. I was pleased with the 0-0 at Leeds. I would have loved it had we won by two goals and gone top, but after the hammering at Colchester I was very fearful of the wheels literally falling off. I know this is a little disrespectful to Parkinson and the players, but after the last three years I can't help it.
My decision to go to Leeds (or not as it turned out) was almost confirmed when we lost at Colchester, but the club's decision to insist all tickets were picked up in person due to the postal strikes was the final nail in the coffin. For the record I have no problem with the club making this decision, but as I am still unable to drive I was just not able to get there to collect a ticket.
Barnet in the Johnson's Paint Trophy was both entertaining and professional. I suspect that the League's rules requiring at least 6 'first team players' to start had more to do with the lineup, but either way we put out a side that put on a good show and won comfortably - despite going behind. I don't care what the competition is; I don't care who the opposition is; I defy anyone not to enjoy seeing their team score four goals, and for this reason I just can't understand why so few fans turned out to watch the game. If you add Barnet's goal it works out at a mere £1 a goal. I know we are in a recession but you can't even buy a Sunday paper for a pound. Having said that in the past we have lost these kind of games so maybe I can understand the stay-aways.
So, on to today's game. Despite winning the first six games of the season, and being undefeated at home I can't help feeling that we are walking a tightrope. Maybe it's a result of last season (or the two seasons before it) or maybe it's as a result of our recent games being less comfortable than those six wins, but I go into today's game with a lot less confidence than I had six weeks ago.
Thanks to statto.com I am able to have all sorts of facts and figures at my fingertips when I write my blog each week. Normally I don't bother with too much of this as I am boring enough without throwing in stats. In recent weeks we have fallen down the form table (last 6 games) to 8th. we have lost to Colchester and drawn with Leeds and the two sides that were relegated with us last season. Oldham, however, are 6th in the form table with three wins and a draw out of six. This should make for a good game today.
Following our collapse at the start of 2008 I started to write about looking forward to each game as nothing more than a game of football. Bearing in mind how close the chasing pack are I cannot approach today's fixture in the same fashion. This is a game we really need to win. It's not exactly a 'must win' but it is important that we get back to winning ways in the league. With just one win in our last five league games there is good reason to question our staying power in this division. A win today would speak volumes, especially as Oldham are in decent form, and just two points off the playoffs.
Team news (something that I've never had that much to say about) suggests that we may see a couple of the Barnet heroes today as we have a few injuries to contend with. I'm happy with our squad. Clearly we have some players that are better then others, but on the whole I think all of our first team squad can hold their own in this division so a few changes here and there should not be seen as a disaster.
I've just seen that we have been drawn away to Southampton in the Johnson's Paint Trophy. This is the last fixture that I wanted, but it is what we have got. I must make my feelings clear here. I would just love a trip to Wembley early next year. It may not be the FA Cup, but it is a trophy that we can realistically win, and anything less than a Final appearance will mean failure in my book. I don't care how much money we make from it, nor do I care that the competition has a bit of a silly name, it is a chance for the fans (me in particular) to have a day out at Wembley. After the last three seasons I think the fans deserve that day out.
Today will be a first for me. My Dad is off in Tenerife again (retirement eh?) and due to my shoulder operation I am still unable to drive. I was going to get the Valley Express, but in the nick of time I was offered a lift from Daggs, who you will have read both on my blog (as well as others) with his comments and here. Let's hope that we will both have good things to write about come 5pm.
Up the Addicks!