2016/17 – League One – End of Season Review
We managed a strong top half finish last season, and this season we needed to push on for a minimum of a play-off position if we were to convince the players and the fans that this is a club looking to reach the Premier League in this decade…
Sky Bet League One (stats)
The board were looking at a minimum of a mid-table finish, but I had greater aims – to at least finish in the play-offs. We started slowly, and after the first six games or so we looked like we weren’t going to do much better than last season. A change of tactic, from the trusty old rigid, counter-attacking system that got us this far, to a more possession based, fluid and short passing tactic. Still based on the 4-1DM-2-2-1 formation, the main changes to the roles were the use of an inside forward on the left wing, supporting full-backs rather than defensive, and the use of a Half-Back to step back into the defensive line when the full-backs went forward. It was a formation I had already set up, so the familiarity with it was pretty high already when it was implemented, and therefore it had much more of an instantaneous effect. Though we still hadn’t lost at that point, we started winning games instead of drawing, and went on a run of six games won in a row, and ended up going 21 games unbeaten in the league. Towards the end of the season, due to us picking up injuries like an Essex girl picks up STD’s, we dropped off a bit, but we still managed to take the title relatively comfortably in the end.
FA Cup (stats)
I don’t really care that we only reached the third round again, the fact that we smashed Franchise FC 4-0 was achievement enough for both myself and the fans!
Capital One Cup (stats)
We struggled past Pompey, though we set a record attendance in the process, with 11,000 (new ground full capacity) turning up to watch us just about reach the second round thanks to an extra-time winner from Hope. Against Aston Villa I was very pleased with our resilient defending, but I did think our fitness compared to a Premier League side would see the Villains nick it, but defensive midfielder Joe Partington scored in the first half of added time to see us reach the third round, our best to date with me as manager. We defended really well again against Cardiff, but a 90th minute winner from talented 17 year-old newgen Russell Webbe ended our hopes of going any further in the cup this season.
Johnstones Paint Trophy (stats)
At last! Third time lucky, eh?
IN: Kieran Lamb was poached from Crewe’s youth intake for compensation, and I’m pretty sure that he could end up a top player in the future. He had a great season, starting off slow but he soon started scoring some important goals and he has been developing very well. Liam O’Neil was solid at the back, as was Zakuani. Hope was Lamb’s backup, and ended up playing a few games on the right wing towards the end of the season. Jackson and Mesca were backup CB and AML respectively.
OUT: A few out on frees, as they weren’t considered god enough to earn a new deal.
Not a great player, but Shaun Benson may end up good enough to provide backup.
Stay up. Nothing less is acceptable for me. I don’t think anything more than mid-table is a realistic aim, either.