The Vital View
Bristol City deserved the three points on Saturday. They were quicker to the loose ball, kept the ball better and actually found the net! We were beaten by the better side sadly. The visitors` midfield were much more in touch with both their attack and defence, and the gaping holes that were apparent in the 'Pool side just couldn`t be seen in City`s. This led to neater link up play from The Robins and also allowed them to get both strikers - Brooker and Andrews (who were both miles better than our strikeforce) - in the game.
The substitution that brought Scott Murray on for me was the turning point in the match. As he took up the right hand side of midfield, the away side looked far more balanced and Murray caused problems to Paul Tierney all game as the left back had no defensive help from Wes Hoolahan.
Hoolahan in fact seems to have let his form dip in recent weeks. I`m not sure why that is. Whether it`s because of his back problem at the beginning of January or the news of scouts from such clubs as Sunderland has allowed him think of ideas above his station I don`t know but there has certainly been a decreased level of quality from him. Having said that he is obviously the one player who if he does have a dip in form, it`s more noticeable because of his usual high match winning standards.
Rumours of certain players going out drinking isn`t going to help anyone and fans speculating about things is pointless also, so perhaps they shouldn`t be so quick to judge some players so quickly? I urge all fans to get behind the team on Tuesday night at Forest, as we can secure a result there - and the 12th man that is doing us so proud wherever we go this year - Tuesday will be no different.
Watching both the cup exit at Norwich and our home league defeat to Bristol City I found myself questioning Larry`s assertion that we have four quality strikers on our books.
Keigan Parker as we all know is a most frustrating player, but in both games he has had sufficient chances to have bagged both match balls! Unfortunately though the Keigan Parker of old appears to have resurfaced, with his striking profligate and his work rate becoming increasingly poor.
Scott Vernon sadly seems to be going through a lack of confidence phase as well. If only the chances that have been falling to our diminutive Scot had come his way!
I have yet to be won over by Big Ben Burgess and the fact that thirty games in we still await his first league goal says it all. Would John Murphy have missed those two free headers that came Ben`s way on Saturday? I think not.
Undoubtedly the Tangerines` Four Musketeers are in desperate need of the return of the talismatic D`Artagnan - Andy Morrell - because without him in these last two matches we have been sorely lacking guile and creativity.
Simon claims that we have a squad of twenty professionals that are capable of getting us up to the promised land of the Championship. However it strikes me that without quality loan signings at left back, central midfield and up front our season might just come to a halt just when it should be at its most exciting!