by the 3 UK party leaders - does the rest of the UK, who will be funding this, have a say? Does this include a pledge to reduce Scotland's huge over-representation at Westminster in the light of greater devolution plus removal of the right of Scottish MP's to vote on purely English affairs? No, thought not.
the "big 4" CL clubs all drawn at home, 3 of them against lower division opposition, after having a bye through the 2nd round. Even 4th division Portsmouth made 8 changes for their game at Stoke. The sooner this competition was put to bed, the better.
but it's pretty simple. The Budgies beat us deservedly today because they have better players. That's what a few years in the PL does for you. One can carp about various players we have & choices, but MM is getting pretty well as much as he can from a limited squad. Our team is probably no better than last year & shorn of our best player, Cresswell, probably slightly worse. Without some additions, especially in midfield, the play offs will be a good achievement.
I don't count Crawley as all that did was show that our squad is quite thin. Very promising performance against a decent Fulham side - huge work rate & pressing. Unfortunately, we haven't built on that & have gone into 2 away games against average teams with a negative attitude. If we keep doing this, not sure our poor away record will improve. Pleased to see anderson start yesterday; would prefer Wordy ahead of Skuse. Cresswell is the big hole - it was always going to be hard to replace the best LB in the league. Hence criticism of Mings - unfair IMO - he will get there but it will take time. Please persist with him rather than casting him adrift like Garvan, Trotter & Rhodes. Too dependent on Mc goldrick - if he is injured, we will have big problems. Sammon & Murphy is a poor pairing. Conclusion - I can see us hovering around 6th-10th place unless we make a couple of shrewd loan signings, along the lines of Williams.
Missed the first 10 minutes following horrendous traffic on the M25, but we did very little in what I saw of the first half. Reading played a strong pressing game, with which we struggled to cope. Poor goal to concede, but Reading deserved it. Pogebrynak was a constant threat & both our centre backs struggled to cope. Changing Hewitt for Anderson made sense as although Hewitt had done little wrong, we needed more of an attacking threat. Anderson made a difference & we improved 2nd half. Created a few chances before McGoldrick went off. I think the linesman had flagged for offside before Murphy's miss. Sammon is a big lump who will win a few headers & run around - once, he comically got the ball tangled up in his feet & sent it out for a throw. Ref was poor - fat pedant who loved to keep cheap free kicks to the defence & didn't deal with Federici's blatant time wasting. Town support was very quiet. We need to set the side up a bit more aggressively away from home.
for the 9th time in 12 years in the league cup. No reason to get distressed. We do not have a particularly deep squad & we have a few injuries. Positives - Bialkowski got a game; apparently Clarke & Bru did well. Marriott sounds like he may be at the Jordan Rhodes stage of development. Rhodes didn't impress in his cameos as sub. Unfortunately, the likes of Marriott & Clarke will need to go on loan if they are to get some decent experience. Sounds like Henshall has a bit to learn, as well. Taylor sounded like he has no end product - again, MM was criticising him for trying to put it in the top corner, rather than hitting the target. If we stay injury free, I expect a decent play off challenge. Gaps in the squad are likely to be filled once the PL clubs have confirmed their squads.
when we lose to lower league opposition & the manager is berated for not taking the competition seriously? IMO, we have quite a few injuries so playing some squad players makes sense, but please don't make 11 changes to the starting XI as it sends such a message to the opposition. It's easy to write off the League Cup but our semi final against Arsenal represents about the one bit of excitement in a pretty dismal 5 years.
Seems a lot of money for a player who has seemed permanently injured for the last 2 years, despite his potential. Is he another Michael Owen, who may have suffered from playing too much when in his teens?
OK - it's 100 years. No participants are still alive. Isn't it about time this one was put to rest? I presume there will also be much made of the centenary of the end of the war. We are also probably going to celebrate the centenary of every significant battle. I'm sure this is driven by our politicians, desperately trying to increase patriotism & create feel-good. Oddly enough, the losers don't keep making such a big deal of it. I have no problem with an annual day of remembrance for the victims of various wars.
MM has tried to plug most of the obvious gaps in the squad e.g. a couple of wide attackers, which is where we were sorely lacking. An adequate replacement for Cresswell. A GK who he prefers to Loach. The boil of Taylor will be lanced. We don't want huge disruption to the squad & I would expect us to be seriously challenging for top 6. McGoldrick's fitness will be key; also, let's wait & see what PL loanees appear.
& Southend started with 7 triallists, I don't think too much should be read into tonight's game. However, good to see Mc Goldrick back on the pitch. I guess we might see something closer to MM's starting XI at Orient on Saturday.