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Monday, 28 July 2014

How Much Should We Read Into Pre Season Friendlies?

The fact we have failed in a couple of pre-season Friendlies to get results against opposition we should be looking to beat has seen a lot of fans getting rather nervous. After starting with a win against Ilkeston, and then beating Porto B in Portugal, things started to look good, but with three 1-0 defeats in a row, against teams of lesser quality, a number of fans have started to reach for the Prozac already.

So are they right to be worried?

Well in a word, maybe. For one pre-season game don’t count for anything, the stresses and strains don’t match the normal season. Plus you really don't know what the pre match directive is coming from the management. Take it easy, enjoy the run around, result doesn't matter, or whether they being told to be competitive.

One thing for sure the MK Dons match is something not to read much into. It was a testimonial for Dean Lewington. You can never read anything into a testimonial, even if we did put a decent side out. You aren't going to go hard at one of those, so I am sure the directive was take it easy, build up fitness, whilst trying to new configurations and combinations of players.

Similarly the Rotherham game was the first back on English soil following the Portuguese sojourn. Again directives would be getting fit. The thing is, we already have such an injury crisis, that the staff would surely have an eye on that and just want players to get x amount of minutes under their belt, dependant on where their individual fitness is at.

What they wouldn't want is another needless injury to a key player, so instead of challenging, they might be wanted to stand off a little more.

The other crucial thing is this is a makeshift defence at the moment. Often playing a left back at right back or a full back at centre back. The balance won't be right, and the blend will take time to come together. Getting to know each other. Defences are built on knowing where and when the other guy will be.

But on the other hand you create a winning mentality. You create something to build on. A basis, a platform. Right now we're in a spiral of defeats. What happens against York and West Brom this week will be what the fans take into the season. If the fans see a run of losses they will go in tense, and our fans are incredibly impatient, so one would assume turn on the team (but not Pearce) quickly.

When I was a kid, friendlies barely were mentioned. We'd go play in Sweden or Norway and tonk some fifth tier team there 14-0. What good does that do, aside from perhaps educate Cox in how strikers work. I can't remember ever being bothered about Friendlies when I was a kid, and furthermore them being deemed something worth going to. I sometimes went to the Notts Cup if we were playing County or Stags but that was about it. But now people seem to see them as something more, and that’s something footballs collectively done in the last few years.



Big clubs have turned Friendlies from a piss around to a big event you should go to. The Emirates cup and suchlike. (I ironically have just remembered I went to the Makita Cup in… I think 1993, at Leeds, and that was what I'm now mocking) but these have been turned into a marketing exercise. A chance to make some extra money by getting people into a nothing game and charging the same as a League Cup game. It builds our interest and as such our expectation. They are non-competitive games. They shouldn't be expectation.

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