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K-Hod

Expectations for the season

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As I've seen a few posts relating to this in the match thread, rather than taking that too much off topic, I thought the subject deserved its own thread (even if it is a little late as the season is well underway).....

Personally, whilst fundamentally, there isn't much to fear in this division, I think any talk of promotion THIS SEASON is unrealistic. While I'd hope that would be the ultimate goal for the club, to be honest, with the squad we have, I think a mid table finish would be about par for the course this term. Mostly because, at the bottom of the table there are some poor sides that already look like they could potentially be getting cut adrift.

Anyhow, I'd be interested to hear everyone else's views on the subject!

Edited by K-Hod

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Twelve matches in and it could go in any direction except relegation (he said crossing everything) and automatic promotion (because there are probably five teams unarguably better than us from what I have seen thus far).

I will up my forecast of finishing 18th to falling short of the play-offs in 10th. Going for team spirit to lift us above our "natural" position in the final rankings.

 

 

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I expect us to finish comfortably mid-table, but think that Mowbray and the team are targeting the top end of that, around 8th or 9th, in order to set us up for a proper push next season - similar to what Sheff Utd did last season and so far this 

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I predicted a couple of places above relegation but I think we will be near the top end of the bottom half of the table. We need some quality to take us to the next level of promotion and play off pushes as well as a clearer identity of play. If we want to go up we have to be braver, especially at home. Smallwood and Evans need breaking up for a start before we can dare to dream. We need players playing in there natural positions and to sign players in areas we need strengthening to come straight into the 11 and be signed to play in the area they naturally play.

Edited by Oldgregg86

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I genuinely still believe we can make a push for play offs. At the beginning of the season I was predicting lower table - survival being the aim. However on our day we tore apart Stoke (albeit nearly collapsing) and that first 60 minutes sticks in my memory. We've ground out some results, thrown others away and had 2 dismal performances, although both them have been against 2 teams almost nailed on for a play off push. Without particularly playing well we are still sitting in mid table and look a lot better than other clubs.

If we can settle our midfield down and get our defence on the same hymn sheet we have a great chance of putting together a run of wins. January is important as one thing that has been missing is natural width and our final ball from out wide at times is awful. Bennett is an industrious player but he isn't the most creative. 

We have to develop a system that allows us to release the shackles of feeling the need to play Smallwood & Evans together. If this means investing in centre backs/full backs and dropping what we have then so be it. If Mowbray can't justify playing only 1 holding midfield at home then there's serious concerns about our defence.

Last season we adapted after a poor start and went from strength to strength. I think we will do the same here. There's a lot of quality in this squad waiting to shine and a few players that must believe their chance to impress is coming. Rothwell, Palmer, Dack, Armstrong and dare I say it Brereton all have the potential to make this team a serious top half contender.

I'd start with dropping Bennett from RB and playing either Travis or Reed there, preferably Reed. He did well at Norwich there. Play Evans and Rothwell in the middle and give Armstrong, Dack, Palmer or Bennett the freedom to move between the front 3. It's all a bit rigid at the moment. It will come though as the confidence increases.

 

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Good topic to have. With the money we have spent, resources, momentum, players like Dack/Mulgrew etc we should be above the bottom 8 comfortably. Teams like Sheffield United shouldnt be on a different level. Aim should always be one eye on the play offs, no point aiming for mid table. But if you end up there comfortably then thats acceptable id suggest.

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54 minutes ago, Dreams of 1995 said:

 

I'd start with dropping Bennett from RB and playing either Travis or Reed there, preferably Reed. He did well at Norwich there. Play Evans and Rothwell in the middle and give Armstrong, Dack, Palmer or Bennett the freedom to move between the front 3. It's all a bit rigid at the moment. It will come though as the confidence increases.

 

I don't think Mowbray considers Rothwell to be a centre Mid. And I probably don't either I don't think he'd be able to hold his position often enough defensively

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Mid-table is realistically where we should expect to finish. Until we get a grip on the defensive side of the game we're going nowhere fast, but we have enough quality about us to stay up without too much trouble. There are some really, really bad teams below us. We need to arrest our alarming recent drop in form sooner rather than later though, and I am concerned that an injury to Graham, Dack or Mulgrew would be pretty damaging for us. Hell, even an injury to Nyambe has left us looking significantly weaker. 

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Lower half of the table, 14th at the very best.

The team needs a player and tactical shake-up but Mowbray's too set in his ways. He's never resolved the defensive problem; his teams always leak far too many goals.

Oh, and Dack will increasingly get the hump as the season goes on and the team struggles. He will leave in January.

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I find this season a bit strange to be honest, results have been great in general but like last season I don’t think we have been playing great. It’s an odd one as we always say results are all that matter and in a way they are but I can’t help but feel a little uneasy with where we currently are as a club. We are industrious without being glamorous, when we dig deep it makes you proud but at the same time a little annoyed that we are never comfortable. I can watch full game such as qpr and Bolton and we win but we played terrible, it’s hard to get overly enthusiastic. A winning run is looking as likely as a losing run with the rub of the green going either way at the moment. I’d just like us to be a bit more dominating and exciting but I can’t have it all I guess. I think we are mid table come the end 

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Going to upward revise again on the assumption we get 7 out of the next 9 points on offer- ie, we become a bit more efficient turning draws into wins.

Two sides all round better than us- Derby and Sheffield United. Boro undoubtedly better defence and Norwich better fire power.

 Leeds, Villa, Swansea, Bristol City, Forest, West Brom all in the categories of we beat them on our day and they beat us on their's so we finish in the middle of that group.

The rest of the league don't have squads as good as our's (Wigan, Brum might be) but Mowbray and the team spirit are decisive factors in our favour.

Add it all up and we are going to finish a frustrating/encouraging 7th folks! 

Edited by philipl

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I will say top ten with an outside chance of sneaking the playoffs. This squad will not get relegated unless we somehow capitulate but with the attitude and professionalism of our group as a core, this will never happen.

I say outside chance of the playoffs simply because of how the league has gone so far. Very few points separate the top 8 , (5) and no team has looked like running away with it just yet. Leeds and Derby seem to be the two that look the most likely of pulling away as I expect Sheff Utd and Boro to drop away a little. There have been crazy results with any team seemingly able to beat anyone else on their day.

If we can strengthen well in January and get a bit luckier with injuries and the season carries on being so unpredictable,you never know, we could just scrape them but then I wouldnt reaally fancy us winning them (though again, you never know).

Top ten and I would be extremely happy as my expectations at the start were to just consolidate in this league after our first season back.

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Anyone seen our Christmas fixtures? My god. It's so important that we win 4 of our next 6 at a minimum because we play Leeds, Norwich and Sheff Utd over Christmas and New Year. Remain in the place we are at now and we will have a real chance of promotion.

If anything it will benefit us getting the likes of Leeds and Sheff Utd out of the way. 

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We've just come through a spell of fixtures in October that would have most people concerned and we got a decent points return and performed well in most of those games. WBA away, Swansea away, Leeds home, Sheffield Utd home, Forest home, Stoke away, Derby away, Villa at home. 8 games there that rightly or wrongly most people would say are very tough games in this league. All 3 relegated clubs away from home, Derby away who are very strong at their place, Forest at home who aren't easy to beat and Leeds and Sheffield United who are 2 of the top 3 at present. Throw in Bolton away which was a bogey ground and a derby day and again, not easy.

We got through those 9 fixtures losing 2 and collecting 13 points, which is quite impressive.

The disappointment I suppose is that we didn't accumulate more before then when playing the likes of Ipswich, Millwall and Reading, but then again we didn't lose any either.

Having got through that tough run we now have a block of games that are kinder, yet in particular the home games are likely to be completely different kettles of fish against sides happy to come for a point.

The thing that really impresses me is the work ethic and never say die attitude. Rarely are we out of a game. There seems to be a real consistency in our effort and application and determination to not lose games. To have only lost 3 games so far, and 2 of those we actually did ok in, is very impressive.

I have one or two concerns about how long we can maintain our efforts. We've seen injuries begin to appear through the team and whilst we've so far coped ok with losses, it might not continue.

The table makes for pleasant reading at the moment and a big plus is to be on 25 points after only a third of the season. Maintain this return and we'll be looking at 70 points, but even a significant decline would still afford us breathing space in terms of relegation.

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2 hours ago, Dreams of 1995 said:

Anyone seen our Christmas fixtures? My god. It's so important that we win 4 of our next 6 at a minimum because we play Leeds, Norwich and Sheff Utd over Christmas and New Year. Remain in the place we are at now and we will have a real chance of promotion.

If anything it will benefit us getting the likes of Leeds and Sheff Utd out of the way. 

They are horrible in fairness, but the flip side of it is that we'll have 4 and a bit months of the season left having already played West Brom, Sheffield United & Leeds twice. In fact, if we to get enough points to keep us within anywhere near touching distance of the top 6, let's say 4 points from Norwich, Sheff U, Leeds & West Brom, then I'm happy with that. 

In terms of expectations, I'm not yet in the state of mind when I really believe that we'll finish in the top 6, but I'm increasingly convinced that we're going to get close. At the start of the season I would've taken mid table safety of any description but having seen us against most teams by now, we should be finishing in the top half imo. 

Edited by Admiral Nelsen

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4 hours ago, philipl said:

Going to upward revise again on the assumption we get 7 out of the next 9 points on offer- ie, we become a bit more efficient turning draws into wins.

 

We need to take our chances to do tis. Defence has been pretty sound but we don't score enough.

Given our points total at this stage of the season, its ridiculous that we have a -goal diff, even if its is only one. Teams below us have a +.

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We're certainly doing better than I expected. I'd be pleased if we finished top half or better tbh. Ecstatic with anything more.....

Edited by K-Hod

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