After reading various views and opinions and watching the unwatchable in channel 5's new football league coverage, I have to say I am definitely feeling like we can do better than most people think we will.
The main aim of the season has to be retaining the current squad, free up some funds, adding where necessary and the biggest ask of all, keeping the key players fit.
When you look at our first 14 or 15 players, we have as good a squad as any, capable of getting results and challenging at the higher end of the table.
So let’s look at the four areas’s mentioned above;
Retaining Current Squad
So let’s narrow this down, as really, it is the key players we will be looking to retain.
QPR seem to be heavily chasing Tim Ream. Whilst he played no part in a good hard fought draw at home to derby at weekend, he is a very key member of our squad. Two years running player of the season for us and a very flexible player in the positions he can play for us. All across the back line and also just in front, which is arguably his best position, and hopefully he will get the opportunity to play there again. This is a player that we must keep.
Spearing. I am not Spearing's biggest fan. Not one bit. I think he can be very temperamental and can be a negative impact on the squad. BUT. He had a good game on Saturday, regardless of whether his sending off was right or wrong, and again, if he stays fit both mentally and physically he can play a key part in pushing us onwards and upwards.
Clough. Not for all the tea in China should we sell Zac Clough. The youngster is only going to get better and as we improve and are less desperate to find money his value is only going to increase. This isn't to say that one day should Real Madrid need a replacement for Christiano or Barca need to replace Messi that we shouldn't sell, but at this moment in time he is a key figure in this squad. He will find it a lot harder this season as his reputation now proceeds’ him and he will be watched like a hawk whoever we come up against. But cometh the hour, cometh the man and Zac will have a big opportunity now to showcase what he really has in his locker.
Freeing up some funds
This will have to be done by players that shouldn't really be in the squad (first team players that could be banished and a youngster or loanee could replace.) or youngsters going out on loan.
The two that immediately springs to mind are Trotter and Medo. Sell, loan or cut the contracts short, freeing them up to go somewhere else and save us some cash to bring in some loans/fresh legs.
Any youngsters that are also not quite there yet in terms of making the first team should also go and gain experience so they can come in and hopefully be the next Clough/Walker or Vela.
There are three Key areas’ to try and get cover for still. Keeper, wide Left/Right and Upfront.
If we can get these positions in way of loans to either better what we currently have or to at least challenge for these positions, again, it can only be good and raise the current squad’s game.
Keeping the players fit.
This really is an act of God. There is no way of knowing if a player is going to get injured during a game, but if we can keep the likes of Davies, Vela, Clough, Wheater etc. fit, then we won't have to look at as forcing through more youngsters, as well as that turned out for us last season.
Overall I think with the squad as it is today, all the players fit, we can challenge for the play offs. A few changes for the better with some last minute additions and we can challenge higher up. A few changes for the worse in losing key players and it could be another long season. It really is on a knife edge, but at least it's exciting!!