Pre-season friendlies and new squad

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Pre-season friendlies and new squad

Post by GodalmingYellow » Wed Jul 27, 2016 1:41 am

OK, I didn't go to Spain to see the two friendlies played there, but apart from a narrow win against a very lowly ranked Spanish team, we have yet to win a pre-season friendly in 2016.

And Barnet will be no pushovers on Saturday either. they will want to show their credentials against opponents from last season.

This is not good for confidence.

Against Leicester, we actually played some decent football when we had the limited opportunities to do so. But Leicester were playing this like a training game and had many more chances to score than we did.

Against Brighton tonight, my fears about the present squad were kind of confirmed. Firstly let me recognise this as being just a pre-season friendly and not a full blooded competitive match. But we were outplayed entirely and by a very wide distance, for about 88 of the available 90 minutes. This against a team just one division above us and who had lost to the likes of Stevenage just last weekend.

We must surely be able to give them a better match than a 4-0 home reverse, which save for the MoM Eastwood, could so easily have been many more. We were 2nd and 3rd best in all departments.

I am truly concerned about our present squad. I believe it is not as good as last year's squad. Last year's first choice XI would beat this year's, on that I have no doubt. And this year's squad is way too thin with very little in reserve, in reparation for a season where the short term loan system has gone. We probably need another 5 or 6 players, of which 2 need to be top quality strikers, and at present the nearest we have to a winger is Macdonald who is injured, and full backs who don't really do overlaps. This does not bode well.

The positives are the almost unrecognisable (from his previous spell at the club) Eastwood, who now looks to be a very solid keeper indeed, together with the sublime passing and coolness under pressure of Lundstram, Maguire who is top draw when his mind is on the job, and a very much improved Ryan Taylor.

I fear we have too quickly thrown away the talent that got us promoted, and replaced them with mediocre also rans. The loss of Wright and Hylton, both self-inflicted wounds, has been silly and unnecessary. I am led to believe that Luton offered Hylton an extra £1,000 a week to us and an extra year contract to us. We've taken in £4.6 mill in transfer fees, but have not spent the money wisely replacing talent with talent.

Of particular concern to me is Wes Thomas. I've seen the 3 friendlies he has played in in England, and not in one of them did he perform well. Very little effort from him, no defence from the front, chasing down lost causes. Just a gently trot around in each game, generally losing control on the occasions that he positioned himself well enough to receive the ball. For a big man, he gets tumbled very easily.

I make it a squad of 16 with some first team appearances mostly at League 2 or below, which includes Crocombe who is on the way out and Rob Hall who is a long term injury.

All I ask this season is to avoid a relegation battle. Anything above that will be a bonus. I think it may well be a difficult season ahead.

ty cobb
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Re: Pre-season friendlies and new squad

Post by ty cobb » Wed Jul 27, 2016 10:45 am

Couldn't agree more about how quickly we are letting key players go - I would also include Mullins in this. The Wright one is baffling - experience, well respected, pulled the team together at the back end of the season (how we missed him when he was out) excellent captain - Appleton should have said, you will start as a first choice but after that will be down to form.

However, the players we have let go are essentially all league 2 players as well. My worry is aside from Roofe (who Appleton seemed to know pretty well beforehand) his record of picking attacking players is not the best. We've had plenty over the last few seasons and people were not that upset to many of them go.

I worry we held out to long for Taylor and will be reliant on some last minute purchases for the most key position on the field. Wes Thomas has not scored double figures in a season for ages and he another one Appleton knows from the past. It was pretty obvious Roofe and COD would go and we should have had replacements lined up. I am also concerned on the reliance of teenagers this season.

I would be disappointed if we are aiming for avoiding relegation.

We shall see - fingers crossed we are in for a season like last one, not like the one before.

Kernow Yellow
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Re: Pre-season friendlies and new squad

Post by Kernow Yellow » Wed Jul 27, 2016 11:13 am

In terms of friendly results I'm not too bothered. My memories of bygone pre-seasons is that good ones were often followed by appalling league campaigns, and vice versa.

In terms of the squad I'm certainly a little concerned. For weeks now we've seen articles saying that Eales/Appleton is 'hopeful' that 'one or two' players will come in soon. The latest talk is of another West Brom youngster - which certainly worked well last time, but cannot be relied upon. We seem to have gone from having a plethora of wide/attacking options last year to almost no fit ones at present.

No point lamenting the players we've lost now, but we do need to see some more experienced replacements for Hylton, COD and Roofe sharpish.

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Re: Pre-season friendlies and new squad

Post by recordmeister » Wed Jul 27, 2016 12:09 pm

With regard to Wright, I wouldn't be surprised if this has been packaged up by the club as 'letting a servant go to further the latter stages of his career'. Let's not forget he's Wilders mate, has worked with him before Oxford and, I believe, the two of them live in the same village outside of Bicester. It's not hard to see the two of them sharing the odd glass of red wine over the close season with CW simply asking JW to join him in a 'leadership role' at the Blades, the very talk of which would have left his head not entirely in the thrall of Oxford United. So, less a player let go, more a player lured away by a longstanding friend and neighbour. Once someone, esp a Captain, is no longer emotionally invested in the club, it's time to let go. I don't think Oxford Utd had much of a choice on this one. As a wise man once told me, which has been great advice being self employed, that people do business with people and if you become emotionally detached from a client, the relationship is over. I fear this is what happened with Wright. I don't blame the club at all for this.

IMHO, he's also too short to cope at a higher level. We got killed on balls into the box last season due to Mullins and Wright not being big enough. We looks so much more solid with The (new) Beast at the back when it came to areal attacks.

As for the rest of the squad, we need a 'shirt seller'; a goal scorer or midfield maestro who can get us excited, pull in the crowds and get a momentum going in the club. Let's not forget that, apparently, our win record was BETTER when Roofe didn't play, and that CoD was often used as sub and didn't always perform. However, what these players did do was sprinkle magic around, got the juices flowing and turned the excitement and anticipation up to 11. It is this that we lack, and with this comes something bigger than just a simple 'football club'.

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Re: Pre-season friendlies and new squad

Post by recordmeister » Wed Jul 27, 2016 12:15 pm


Jake and Mullins are both 5ft 11.

Curtis Nelson is 6ft 1
Dunkley is 6ft 2
Martin is 6ft 3

IMHO you've got to be 6ft + to be a properly competitive centre back at L1+ level.

LITTLE KNOWN FACT: Jake Wright's middle name is Maxwell. Well, there you go!

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