The weekly look back and forward from Marcus Braddock
It's Monday, which means it's time for a quick look back at last week before casting our minds forward in anticipation.
On the pitch, Town were unbeaten in cup and league with 1-1 draws against Manchester City u21 and Bristol Rovers. Both games had their moments of excitement and disappointment, in both cases the disappointment was a penalty. The positives that I took from the weeks football were the excellent performances from Ryan Barnett and Ryan Sears, both of whom started for the first time at Montgomery Waters Meadow. They both took an active part in their games (Barnett on Tuesday and Sears on Saturday) with no hint of them being protected or carried in any way. Given our position and the pressure it brings, I'd label both as man of the match performances. Ryan Woods, Joe Hart and Conor Goldson have shown the way in the last few years and these two look to be forging themselves similar opportunities.
It's plain to see that we've got a much better squad than our position shows but sadly that means little if the points aren't won. I get the impression that once we manage a win, more will come in quick succession although my only real evidence is our form, which is LLLDDLDD. Once we managed that first draw, several more appeared, so if the improvement in results continues we should be more than OK.
We're basically watching the team play themselves into form after the late partial rebuild John Askey was forced into. It can be quite frustrating at times as players learn the playing habits of their team-mates. Passes sometimes go awry, forward runners are occasionally not picked up but it feels like most of the crowd understand that, giving a relatively supportive environment which should help. John Askey mentioned the support in his post game comments and I think the placement of the standing area has been integral to a positive atmosphere during a difficult time.
On Wednesday it was announced that the England Under17 team are to play at Montgomery Waters Meadow as part of a tournament that will see games at Crewe, Chester and Telford. Our game is against Russia on Sunday October 14th (coincidentally my birthday!) and a couple of days later England take on Brazil at the Bucks Head in Wellington, both are great opportunities to see the stars of tomorrow for just £3 for adults and £1 for kids. A Sunday afternoon out for the whole family for under a tenner has to be the best value you'll see anywhere!
Wednesday also saw Town’s Academy make an exciting appointment by bringing in Harvey Parkes as their Head of the Pre-Academy. The former Wolves coach will be responsible for the younger age group's development as they make that all important first step into the world of professional football.
The under 18 team suffered their second defeat in succession on Wednesday, losing narrowly to Preston at home. Defender Luke Ward opened the scoring for Town with a towering header in the 12th minute although North End equalized a few minutes later. Preston took the game to Town after the break and scored twice before Archie Elmore got a consolation goal, making the final score 3-2 to Preston. The under 18's play Fleetwood Town away this weekend with an 11 o'clock kick off.
Last week saw John Askey sign Ipswich defender Josh Emmanuel although his signing was a little too late for inclusion on Saturday. That means he'll have a full week of training with his new team-mates before team selection for next weekends game at Portsmouth. Pompey will be a hard game to get anything from, they've yet to be beaten and consequently occupy 2nd place in League One. It's one of those games that appears on the horizon at exactly the wrong moment and it's hard to see a result for the away team with our form as it is. However, sometimes an unexpected result sometimes acts as a catalyst for change, or at least that's my hope this week!