International Break : Progress Report

I think preseason to be joint top as we have headed into the mid October international break is certainly something any sensible fan would have taken. We are in the mix. Add to the equation the division’s top goal scorer and the fact we are unbeaten (just) goes to show title credentials.

The problem that comes with that is that other teams have made as good a start and that the top of the division is so tight. There isn’t a team pulling clear and looking good. That may well occur between now and the Christmas when traditionally people really start to take note of the league table.

But then there is this slight doubt. Only slight, but its there. And it isn’t anything to do with the team or the manager or anything but history that starts to chip away at fans confidence. We’ve experienced this before. We’ve had hopes dashed all too often, and in the recent history. So as a group there is a collective feeling of just waiting for the next crisis.

I really don’t think this is pessimism, but a conditioning. We prepare for the worst, so we aren’t disappointed when it comes. I’m not saying it will, but if it all goes wrong you will see fans saying very quickly (I told you so” or “I knew it” and people won’t bat an eyelid.

But should we? I think not. The start created a great feeling. One we could and should have grasped. Instead we have had a slightly wobbly September. This is in part down to injuries. Losing Cohen is a blow, and Reid and Vaughan being out hasn’t helped. We haven’t had a real crisis, but the fact that players can’t be rotated as readily as we’d like is meaning like last season some players get over used.

Tesche for instance didn’t have a pre-season. Now he is getting a lot of game time, this could bring problems. I have no idea Tesche's career history, but he hasn’t had as much game time as he possibly should. Can he adapt to suddenly playing every week? Again I have no idea but it’s a question. We have a legacy of players who seem injury prone. It forces other players to adapt.

Look at centre half. Wilson has been out, and luckily it seems he was just ill. But as he walked off on Sunday versus Ipswich, there were numerous comments and utterances in the crowd of “see you in 6 months” and “that’s Wilson out for a while again” then. The same old doom and gloom acceptance. Not that it might be a knock or anything, but an acceptance that he will be injured. It’s what happens. Like Forest screwing up promotion.

But for once we have a definite goal scorer. We have creative midfielders, and exciting dangerous wingers, with strong central defenders with strength in depth. I genuinely see a squad depth I haven’t known for a while. And it excites me. Yes we are a pessimistic bunch, and as I said, that’s nature of conditioning. But genuinely we have quality and we are high in the league.

The only reason doubt remains is that we have had a run of four games with no win in the league. No score draws didn’t help. And then snatching a draw at the depth. But we went to Wigan and Millwall, we got points. Brighton were a top team last season, we drew. Ipswich look solid, a draw. Not ideal, but not a loss. We haven’t played the likes of Wolves or Norwich yet, but we’ve drawn with Derby. 

It’s promising. The teams learning. We’re adapting.

We will succeed. The start to the season has given me hope.