It’s clearer than ever that we don’t have the financial muscle to compete with the big teams in this league. The club has invested heavily in facilities and we now have state of the art youth facilities alongside superb training facilities.
Daryl Dike’s loan expired and couldn’t be extended due to the lack of free cash in the transfer budget. So there goes our top scorer and we’re forced to play Jack Diamond upfront. It’s going to be hard for him to come somewhere near 14 goals in 17 games. Tayo Adaramola were recalled by Crystal Palace, so now we don’t have backup left-back either. On top of all this Dwight Gayle is fallen down the pecking order and is no longer good enough to play for us, we decided to let him leave on loan to Northampton so he can play some football and leave on a free after the season. Considering this we decided to promote four new players to the first team. We need more depth in the squad to be able to compete.
It’s hard to tell from the results that we’re struggling with transfers and a small squad. It’s a fantastic month where everything goes our way. 8-0 against Portsmouth was almost enough to break the record for the biggest win, but the record from 1908 still stands. All of our games except West Ham were against teams from the bottom half, I expect the coming months to be a lot tougher than this. We managed to go through to the fifth round of the FA cup easily against Bradford, and that should provide some desperately needed cash for the club. Elanga ended the month with 9 goals and 4 assists in 7 games and is the top scorer in the league by the end of January. He’s not even a striker! It may be easier for us to buy Rashford in a couple of seasons when Elanga has taken his place at United.
Gallacher and Ayodele are still fresh and won’t play a big part. I still expect them to make some appearances from the bench. O’Hare and Tjåland will play more. O’Hare already has got some games this season and his first goal for the club. Tjåland has been on fire for Gateshead on loan and single-handily fired them against promotion. I really like O’Hare but I see him more as an attacking midfielder than a striker in the future.
A very weird month were we lost many points even if we just lost one match. Miraclolsy we still lead with six points at theA very weird month where we lost many points even if we just lost one match. Miraculously we still lead with six points at the end of the month, so we’re getting closer and closer to promotion. The game to talk about this month is the FA Cup game against Arsenal. Decided to change the tactic after a bad run of games and an injury on Elanga. Changed to three at the back and kind of 3-4-3 with the instruction to counter-attack. After we scored early from a corner and they got a red card we had the game right where we wanted. Let them play and we explode in a counter-attack, again and again. Poor Mikel Arteta..
Great form in the league with two big wins in the first two games. 10 points from four games are more than decent against those teams and before april we are six points down to Crystal Palace with seven games to go. We can actually do this!
We did a good game against United, they’re just so much better than us. We did great for periods until O’Nien was sent off, then the game was practically over. We are nowhere near good enough to beat a team like United with ten men, or at all.
The win against Palace pretty much secure the promotion and after the Stoke game, it was confirmed. After that focus was shifted to winning the league. And we did it against our former League One rivals Hull and one their home ground as well, what a lovely feeling that was. Hope you’re happy with your transfer now, Honeyman!
I still have mixed feelings about going up after just one season. On one side it’s fantastic for the club, the fans and everyone involved. On the other side, I’m afraid we’re going to get bullied and find ourselves relegated with half the team requesting a transfer. If the latter happens we’ll find ourselves in a worse position and status than we’re in now.
At least that’s one year ahead and I have a lot of other things to worry about for the next couple of months.
Academy Player of the Season
Patrick Almond made his debut last season but didn’t make much of an impact then. It clearly was a good experience for him, because this season he got his definitive breakthrough and establish him as a starter and a key player. He’s a physical beast of a player and was a big contribution to the team after Bailey Wright got injured. Almond never looked back after that. He’s also a big presence on set pieces with 7 goals and 2 assists from corners. He’s a big lad and jumps so high that few players can compete with him on headers.
Looking forward to how he will fare in the Premier League next season.
Player of the season
Immense season from Elanga. Simply the biggest reason why we got promoted, won us so many points throughout the season. A season he topped of with being named EFL Young Player of the Year. Got injured in march and struggled to find form again after that, but before that he was unplayable. One goal from being the top scorer in the league, and he’s not even a striker. For a big part of the season, he pretty much did as he pleased and 38 goal contributions in 39 games say it all. We’re desperate to keep him long term, but United demand £142M for him. No way he’s worth that much, and no way we can afford to pay that kind of money. Hopefully, we can bring him back to the Stadium of Light at another time.