Even the biggest disbeliever in instant gratification couldn’t help but be pretty disheartened by the midweek showing against Brentford. A spirited and hard-working side, and undoubtedly deserved victors on the night, but an at times shockingly bad showing from the Reds. Sure, the familiar message of individual errors were central to the story, but the organisation and application from most of the squad for swathes of the game (Antonio and Osborn excepted) was pretty woeful.
As I inferred in my last post – I didn’t have massive expectations of Stuart Pearce the manager – but one thing I really did expect would be application and passion from his team, and I’m at a bit of a loss to explain its absence aside from the loss of our key ‘voices’ on the pitch in Chris Cohen, Andy Reid and Jack Hobbs. Leadership. The thing that the manager epitomised as a player doesn’t seem to be present in any kind of abundance amongst our squad.
I can’t stand the football fan tendency we all indulge in from time to time of scapegoating individuals – so that’s not my intention here – but as I look around the squad without these pivotal characters I can’t help but feel that Henri Lansbury hasn’t stepped up to try to fill this void a little more. You get passion from him occasionally – usually in the form of a reckless foul – but he’s really struggled to impose himself on games as he did so well at spells last season.
The run we are on and the demeanour of the players is pretty concerning – nay – very concerning. We have an owner who has demonstrated a quick and ruthless policy when it comes to underperformance, as noted before a small number of fans even have cast off their Psycho-tinted glasses and seem to actually want yet another managerial change. Hopefully the addition of John McGovern and Paul Faulkner to the senior leadership of the club will help to quell his more impulsive nature in favour of prudence.
With Norwich arriving tomorrow even on similarly dodgy form it would be a brave bet to bet against another failure to win, which is a sad state of affairs irrespective of how the Canaries might or might not be underperforming. The lack of confidence the players are showing on the pitch is certainly influencing me off it – which brings me neatly onto the other thing I was going to mention – hat’s off to the fans in the Lower Bridgford on Wednesday.
At 3-0 down to still be determinedly making an atmosphere – and to sing the manager’s name at the end – is such a welcome relief from the normal negativity that seems to quickly permeate the City Ground at the smallest sign of trouble (and I freely acknowledge, our current run and most recent performance certainly exceeds ‘the smallest sign’!) – hopefully the team can take the lead of those fans and put in the kind of performance that they ought to be.
Back to leadership, if Henri isn’t going to step up to the plate I struggle to think of another suitable candidate – for all his quality Mancienne is young and not too vocal, I don’t rate Wilson’s leadership qualities indeed the only players ‘leading by example’ midweek as discussed above were Antonio and Osborn. I’m dearly hoping that the players dig themselves out of their malaise at the weekend, and whilst I support Stuart Pearce wholeheartedly hope he opts for a less unconventional line-up to face the Canaries.
It would be gutting to see the club thrust into another period of uncertainty.
Edit – Fawaz (or probably his ‘people’) has been treating about remaining together whether we win, lose or draw at the weekend – I’m not sure whether to be relieved or whether to treat it like a dreaded ‘vote of confidence’ announcement!