Marcus Braddock looks at the week gone and the week ahead
It's Monday again and time to have a look back at the last week and then have a peek at what awaits us in the coming seven days. My first memory is the win against Peterborough United last Tuesday night and how welcome it was after a bit of a lean spell since Wembley. In fairness the first half wasn't a spectacle of excellence but after so many games this season I think we have a right to look occasionally below par toward the end. It was another game where Paul Hurst took the sensible option and resting some players ahead of the play-offs and it was good to see that we can win with a fair chunk of the first team regulars missing.
Abo Eisa continues to impress and create excitement and noise from the crowd, I really wasn't expecting much from him this season, one for next season and all that but he's forcing himself into contention right now. Another man who's impressed me all season is Toto Nsiala, just what do you have to do to stop him? I've seen him take a fair amount of punishment but his reaction to his recent broken cheekbone is miraculous. I thought we might have seen the last of him for the season when he was having such obvious difficulty with his protective mask but he just plays without it which shows his commitment to our cause. I know the forward players tend to take the plaudits but the excellent defensive record that has become our hallmark has a great deal to do with him.
He had a well-earned rest on Saturday as we took on a rampant Blackpool, a game that we could have won had it not been for the intervention of the officials. It's not my place to judge their decisions so I shall look at the massive positive of Sam Jones' first goal for Town and it was a cracker and just what the massive away support deserved. The beach party theme fitted perfectly and I wonder if themed home games could increase the noise levels for key games next season.
This week we could break the 90-point barrier with a win against relegated MK Dons. It's a total that would have seen us promoted automatically last season and promoted as Champions the season before. It shows just how incredible this season has been and that's without the Wembley final and forcing a top flight team to a replay! Have we ever had such an eventful season before? I cant think of one and yet, I still feel a little disappointed that fate has conspired to put us against two teams throwing their considerable resources at getting back on to the gravy train but we've proved that we can compete at this level. I'd love to see what Paul Hurst could do with us and the increased resources available at the next level.
The race for the play-off positions has intensified with Peterborough and Portsmouth fading this week. It leaves Charlton, Scunthorpe and Plymouth in a three horse race for two positions and with Scunny entertaining Plymouth tomorrow night it could get rather interesting.
The youth team entertained Preston North End in the Youth alliance on Saturday. Two goals from Lifumpa Mwandwe were not enough as Town were beaten 5-2 at home having lead at the half time. Next weekends game at Rochdale with be their last game of a season of ups and downs.
Off the pitch we had some great news on the Safe Standing campaign with the arrival of the 550 rail seats. It's another part of an unreal season where we've excelled on and off the pitch. The Supporter’s Parliament and the club should be congratulated for showing the rest of the country what can be done if you work for it.
Finally, Tuesday brings us the Supporters Awards Evening which is always a well supported event and a good night. I could pick at least 6 players worthy of player of the season, maybe 7, so it will be interesting to see how the votes were cast.