Chissie's Chat: November
BBC Radio Lancashire sports reporter Ian Chissnall tells us about November, and what to expect.
September and October proved to be torrid months for Pool, certainly in terms of results, and the size of the survival mission at this level is now well and truly clear. November sees four games on the horizon split by yet another international weekend as Simon and his staff continue the hunt to bring much needed numbers into his squad.
Barnsley away in front of the TV cameras is a tough start. Boss Simon Davey was widely predicted to be the division's first managerial casualty, but having scoured Europe to put together a cosmopolitan outfit, Davey looks secure in his job. At one stage the Oakwell club were in the top three, but before their weekend clash with improving Preston, they were firmly in mid-table. Looking at the Championship as a whole, our games with Barnsley must be targeted as opportunities for victories. It does, however, have to be said that it's not a particularly happy hunting ground for us, so let's hope for another performance for the cameras and a result to accompany it.
Then it's back to Bloomers - at last — when Nigel Adkins brings his League One Champions Scunthorpe to the seaside. And every credit to Scunny, they keep picking up results at difficult places when you think it's time for them to come unstuck. They're ploughing along despite arguably losing upwards of 60 goals from the squad with sale of Andy Keogh and Billy Sharp and young Beckford returning to Leeds. But we were the only team to beat them twice last season and on neither occasion did they cope with Keigan Parker. Great chance then for the Scot to get his season really up and running.
You'd think we'd need at least four points from those two games before yet another fortnight without a match. Realistically, the trip to Southampton is another of those at the start of the season where we'd fear the most. But The Saints have been so inconsistent; just look at their trips to Lancashire: hit for five at Deepdale and then winning at Burnley; you never know. It's a long way to go to come back with nothing.
To finish the month, deeply troubled Norwich City are our visitors on a Tuesday night. That in itself is a ridiculous product of the fixture computer and having covered our cup replay at Carrow Road in February, I can testify that it is 3 days by camel! Driving home that night having just been edged out of the FA Cup, I thought it was a decent measure of how we might cope at Championship level against a mid-table side still packed with players on Premier League wages. But the bottom has really fallen out of The Canaries world this season and it will be just our luck to see them bringing a new manager with them. City's big players have to start performing sometime, and that might lead to a tough old night.
More than ever the lads need our support. Be loud, be the 12th man.