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Atko's Engine

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Everything posted by Atko's Engine

  1. Atko's Engine

    Luton Town away

    You'll never hear me saying Mowbray doesn't have deficiencies, it's clear he does. I just try to be even handed in my assessment of them in comparison to his qualities and consider that, overall, the pros outweigh the cons.
  2. Atko's Engine

    Luton Town away

    Theres a lot of hyperbole on here again tonight from some, to be expected I suppose, we were always on a hiding to nothing in this one. A couple of points. Walton is definitely NOT the worst keeper we've had. Fettis, Collier, Steele, Dickens all spring to mind. Granted he's not the best either & I'm not especially upset to see him leave, but to my mind there was absolutely nothing he could have done about any of the last 6 goals we've conceded (2 ogs, a pen, a top class free kick & 2 headers born from defensive mistakes). He might have made no saves in those games, but if there's no other shots to save he's not going to make any is he? I was disappointed TM wasn't more lively on the sidelines tonight. He doesn't help himself sometimes. I'm sure he does care & does want to succeed, but his lack of animation doesn't do him any favours aesthetically and adds to fans' frustration. The last 2 games have summed us up. Profligate in front of goal and too brittle defensively. Perhaps also unfortunate, but then you make your own luck. As a team, as a unit, we've conceded too many goals, especially since lockdown. Conceding in 2s and 3s won't achieve anything. If we can reduce that number next season by 10 - 12, whilst still scoring as many as we have this season or improving on it, we can be there or thereabouts. Recruitment this summer has to centre on GK, CB & LB. If we can get a solid back 5 who play consistently, there's enough elsewhere in the squad to be improved upon without recruitment, who can kick on offensively as there's plenty of room for improvement in the likes of Gallagher, Brereton, Holtby, Rothwell, Buckley. Hopefully with Dack back & Armstrong picking up this season's form, there could be a real potency about us if we can keep the back door closed. We'll see. I know I'm in the minority here. It promises to be an interesting summer, hopefully not a frustrating one.
  3. Atko's Engine

    Goalkeepers

    I thought this thread was about goalkeepers, but hey I voted for Mowbray to stay so what do I know?! I liked Chaddy's suggestion above Bettinelli, has always seemed a safe pair of hands to me. Or we should go for Marshall at Wigan if they ultimately end up being relegated, but that might not be determined until too late into the window. Darlow is another option, though might be beyond our means. I imagine, despite the budget mystery, Mowbray has keepers in mind that will be affordable whatever, & hopefully will take whatever lessons need to be learnt from last season to prevent missing out on two like he apparently did. Please though, not Hart, it's would be a disaster in the making I think. Let someone else take the risk, we can't afford to.
  4. Atko's Engine

    Championship season 2019-20

    Leeds is only just up the road from Huddersfield, they know where they'll be playing next season, and they'll be able to afford him.
  5. Atko's Engine

    Luton Town away

    If I remember correctly Wagner made 10 changes to his side that day from the previous match, which they'd won to guarantee their place in the playoffs. That changed team then lost 2-0 to a relegation-threatened Brum team that had a man sent off after 20 odd mins when it was 0-0. In the playoffs, Wagner then returned to a line up similar to that he'd selected in the previous match, and of course won the playoffs. (Yes, it still hurts.) That's very different to us using only players who will be here next season. I suspect Walton will play, then it'll be Nyambe or Bennett, Lenihan, JRC, Carter, Travis, Johnson or Davenport, Rothwell, Armstrong, BB or Gallagher or Graham, and Holtby. That's hardly the same as what Wagner did with his wholesale changes. I have absolutely no doubt that Mowbray will respect the integrity of the competition, whilst also doing his job for this club by looking to next season. Whilst the latter was definitely true in respect of Wagner, the former definitely wasn't.
  6. Atko's Engine

    Reading at Home

    Well that was entertaining, though in some respects I wish it wasn't as we almost made a pig's ear of it! A great start when we were looking lethal, some of the interplay amongst the forwards was very fine indeed. Their free kick; it couldn't have been more in the corner, it kept low and was judged to perfection. I can see why Walton is being criticised as it had to travel a long way, but sometimes you have to credit the scorer rather than diss the keeper. Had Walton saved it, it would've been a top drawer save. Thereafter we still looked the better side & should have got another 2 or 3 before Rothwell's effort after a sustainedspell of pressure on their goal (well deserved on today's showing from Rothwell). Then we just capitulated, inexplicably. We conceded to two good headers, the first was bad enough, but for the second, what was Travis thinking? He'd just got away with overplaying in his own box a couple of minutes earlier, then did so again calamitously. He needs to cut that out. For a time we were on the ropes, but then got our composure back & finally got the 4th goal & 3 points that we deserved overall; a fine cross & finish it was too. I thought Carter look excellent, albeit he was not pushed too hard. He wasn't in any way to blame for the goals, and he looks a unit. Best compliment I could pay him is that it didn't really feel like Tosin wasn't playing. JRC looked competent but is obviously really itching to play further forwards. Travis was good bar his kamikaze tendencies, Johnson Ok, but Rothwell, Holtby, Arma & BB were excellent. Just a little bit more clinical please. At first I thought the subs struggled. Davenport especially (who I'd hoped would start) looked off the pace. But we got the composure back, started playing neatly again (Buckley looked v tidy), then Chapman - who played like the Chapman we remember in his little cameo - put in a superb cross inviting Gallagher to put his head where it hurts with a great diving header (see Herbie's photo earlier). Would've been great to see Vale hit that shot 6 inches lower to round things off. There's real promise in that young squad that was on show today. Defensively there's work to do to be more solid & cut out stupid, naive mistakes (I guess that comes with youth) and offensively we need to be more clinical. But i saw some exciting signs today, albeit in a game in which there was nothing huge at stake.
  7. Atko's Engine

    Reading at Home

    Disappointing. Was a good free kick though tbf
  8. Atko's Engine

    Reading at Home

    Arma!!
  9. Atko's Engine

    Reading at Home

    BB!!!!
  10. Atko's Engine

    Reading at Home

    At least all those starters will be here next season, bar Walton. But can see the logic of keeping Walton in if giving Carter a start though would prefer Hilton or Fisher on the bench over Leutwiler. Would've preferred Davenport over Johnson too. But genuinely pleased that Mowbray is using this game with an eye to next season, as I hoped he would.
  11. Atko's Engine

    Tony Mowbray Discussion

    At least all those starters will be here next season, bar Walton. But can see the logic of keeping Walton in if giving Carter a start though would prefer Hilton or Fisher on the bench over Leutwiler. Would've preferred Davenport over Johnson too. But genuinely pleased that Mowbray is using this game with an eye to next season, as I hoped he would.
  12. Atko's Engine

    Tony Mowbray Discussion

    Thing is JH, Mowbray can't win either way. He either bigs up our chances and then gets criticised for not achieving them due in large part to factors beyond his control (i.e. not knowing his budget) or he talks like he is doing and gets slated for lacking ambition. It's a classic rock and a hard place situation. And for those saying sack him, in terms of possible replacements of any stature that we might consider more likely to succeed, who do you think would be keen on the job when Venkys won't say what funds might be available to strengthen? Of course there would be interest in the job, but not from people of the calibre being talked up on here IMO. I love this club, i know we all do otherwise why spend time posting on here? (Sympathetic Claret & Longsider aside!) I want success too. But we're a basketcase club to which Mowbray has brought some real stability. Most people outside of this club within the game think Mowbray has done a very good job in spite of that; I doubt there's many with a good reputation who will be willing to risk that and back themselves to do significantly better in these circumstances (I.e under our current owners). I should stress that a lack of confidence in a good replacement being selected is not my only reason for believing Mowbray should stay, but it is certainly a relevant factor.
  13. Atko's Engine

    Tony Mowbray Discussion

    In parts I've been happy with it yes, but of course it's not been thrill a minute and it's ultimately not brought about the playoffs. But was that actually realistically what we expected in August? No it isn't. In fact many on here expected us to be in a relegation dogfight, but after a slow start we were never anywhere near that. So arguably Mowbray has over-achieved in that context, hasn't he? I will pay for next season, but I expect improvement on this season. I expect a proper playoff push (which we might've got this season had we had Cunningham, Dack et al fit all season); I want us to be more dynamic and pleasing on the eye going forwards, and more robust defensively. I want us to lose a lot less points from winning positions. But I'll also be realistic to recognise that things will happen during the course of the season that will be beyond Mowbray's control and which might derail us. Oh and by the way, you'll not hear me lauding Venkys on here or anywhere else . One can support Mowbray without supporting Venkys. We need them, sadly, due to the mess they've made since they arrived, and whilst they may have been less destructive in the last 2 or 3 seasons, whatever success we may or may not achieve next season, it'll be in spite of them not because of them.
  14. Atko's Engine

    Tony Mowbray Discussion

    As I've been clear on here before, I'm in the Mowbray to stay camp, but I've also accepted there's plenty of room for further improvement. I genuinely do think that this season would have been a more successful one had we had a bit more luck with injuries. Yes that's not the only reason and there's other criticisms that can be fairly levelled, but hear me out. Obviously there's Dack; our best player for 3 years, top scorer in his time here. Any team would miss a player like that, the focal point of our offensive game. When he got injured we were pushing 6th, albeit in that game itself we weren't pulling up trees. Of course it's too simplistic to say we'd have got 6th had he stayed fit, but for sure we'd have had a better chance. Moving on, some above queried why didn't we go out & buy a replacement? Well, we already had one in Holtby; not an identikit replacement but a good, competent number 10. Why would he buy another one, which would leave him open to suggestions of not being confident in Holtby, especially with Buckley on the fringes too? Holtby in fact slotted in quite well and it looked like we could then continue to improve without Dack. But then he got injured too which is hugely unfortunate given that the team was built on playing with a number 10. With Buckley proving to be not quite ready for that kind of crucial role week in week out, we were left short in that respect but most teams would on losing 2 players in the same position. Then there's Evans. Ok, I know he has his detractors; I've been amongst them. But he was looking like a main player for us again this season & put in some really strong performances alongside Travis, linking play effectively from front to back, especiallyaround the turn of the year when top 6 was achievable. But then he too, shortly afterwards, suffered a horrific, hugely unfortunate injury. Cue more disruption in a central area resulting in an over-reliance on certain individuals (especially Travis). Even after lockdown, Evans comes back fit, starts, puts in a top performance v Bristol but then breaks his big toe; even for someone with his injury record, this is quite some achievement! Then look at Cunningham. We were all crying out for a new, top half Championship standard left back who could perform consistently well both defensively& offensively. He came and was looking exactly that, just what we needed. Yet come October he too gets injured & is out for the season. Bell deputises, with mixed results (being generous), but then he too also gets injured. Williams, 3rd choice LB, then also gets injured, with neither of them being available for the crucial 9 match run-in. So then we see Bennett & JRC playing there, which would never have happened but for 3 players suffering medium to long term injuries. You can be pretty sure that Bennett's game time would've been far less had LB not been such a problem position through mid & long term injuries. Other short term injuries from time to time, such as those seen with Lenihan & Nyambe, are what you expect in a season, perhaps with 1 longer term one thrown in. To suffer what we have, to players in such key positions can only be considered very bad luck. To have so many players injured in 2-3 positions which are key to the overall effectiveness of the team could not have been predicted or planned for. I can hear people now saying this is just excuses, injuries are part of football etc., which I accept is true. But these are nevertheless facts / events beyond TM's control; not the only ones admittedly, there's more to it than that and there have been disappointments elsewhere, but they're true nonetheless. As a consequence I think that's good reason to cut TM some slack for this season and allow him the chance to further develop the squad, get Dack back, another LB, hopefully for BB and / or Gallagher to step up and push for a top 6 berth more aggressively.
  15. Atko's Engine

    Millwall Away

    I like him a lot, his use of the ball - last night aside - gets us on the front foot and defensively he's been pretty reliable too. But the next 2 games are about planning for next season, which is probably only what, 8 weeks away? Unfortunately, Adarabioyo is unlikely to be part of that, so let's see what other CB partnership might show positive signs.
  16. Atko's Engine

    Tony Mowbray Discussion

    On a more serious note, I think there were a lot of good points made in that article by Sharpe, anxious many of the posts above. There's no doubt Mowbray has his flaws. Yesterday highlighted several of them,though I think some of the players' performances served to highlight them even more so, as too many were below par. I think we have progressed under Mowbray. Not as much as I would've liked, but I also think there are some reasons for that which are beyond his control (restrictive club structure & injuries to key personnel being chief amongst them). That's not making excuses it's fact, and could have happened to any other hot seat incumbent. It's a risk keeping Mowbray as he's certainly not guaranteed to succeed. But I believe he does have passion for this club, he's not just here for his pension, he does want it to succeed and he does have a plan for developing the squad further this summer. Whether he is allowed to do so in the current climate is uncertain, but if he is forced to look for cheap / free incomings then his record in that dept is not too bad, and certainly better than his big-ticket shopping has been recently. In that context, maybe he's ideally placed to make the most of a sow's ear. I don't know, keeping him could be a massive mistake, replacing him could be too. There's a lot to be said for stability over risk; fans of the likes of Ipswich & Sunderland will tell you that,but there's also surprise success stories from the past too. We may never know unless we have a particularly good or bad season. Assuming he stays though, as seems likely, he definitely needs a good summer and a strong first half dozen games next season to maintain the goodwill of those supporting him & recover some credibility amongst the rest. Ramble over, sorry!
  17. Atko's Engine

    Tony Mowbray Discussion

    You're giving Iain Dowie a run for his money there fella!
  18. Atko's Engine

    Millwall Away

    I think whilst there was a mathematical chance of top 6 it was the right call generally to stick with senior players, although theres room for debate about which players in which positions. Yes we lost to Wigan (like nearly everyone has done since February, bizarrely!) and Barnsley, but won at Cardiff & drew to W Brom. Had those 4 results been swapped, would TM be getting the same grief? (Don't all shout "yes" at once!) That said, I would have played Davenport earlier over Johnson, whose only standout performance was 2and half v Cardiff. And none of this changes the fact that it was a poor performance tonight.
  19. Atko's Engine

    Millwall Away

    True, but I think we all agree that we're a better side with him in it than we are without him in it.
  20. Atko's Engine

    Millwall Away

    IIRC, had we won that Wigan game he got injured in we would've gone top 6; had we done, and kept Dack fit, who knows how we might have gone from there? Like I said, fine margins. Tonight though was just disappointing, pure and simple, too many players off their game.
  21. Atko's Engine

    Millwall Away

    I've not read previous comments, I don't need to as I'm confident what most will say. But as someone who has supported TM staunchly on here, there's no denying that was a disappointing way for our season to end, pretty toothless when we needed to be in their faces. There was no bite to us; obviously the yellows for JRC & Travis didn't help, the latter not showing anything like his normal self. Subs were ineffective this time, and we were too slow to get the ball into the front 3. I still think we can improve from here with TM at the helm as he's had rotten luck with key injuries this season. It's fine lines between success & mediocrity but no doubt there are a tough few weeks ahead. We need to start Davenport on Saturday next to Travis, Gally or BB up front with Arma, Buckley, JRC in an attacking role, and look to blood the likes of Carter, Lewis Thompson & Fisher or Hilton. They're the future, next season & beyond, give them a go now when there's nothing to lose. There's no need for Downing, Adarabioyo (both of whom I like a lot), Bennett, Johnson or Samuel to be selected. TM's got a big job on his hands this summer, not least to get many of you back on board. It's performances like tonight's that give his doubters cause to question his suitability to progress, which is a disappointing way for tonight to have gone for all concerned.
  22. Atko's Engine

    Player of the Season 2019/20

    That said, can't grumble if Trav or Arma scoop it.
  23. Atko's Engine

    Player of the Season 2019/20

    I went for Downing, he's been a revelation really considering everything, his consistency & fitness are quite something. I'm pretty confident the players would vote him as their POTY for his overall impact on the team's more progressive possession-based game and leading by example.
  24. Atko's Engine

    West Brom at home

    There was shot of Mowbray leaning over the tunnel wall in frustration after that chance. It hurt him, just as it hurt us. To be fair to Davenport, whilst it wasn't the best of finishes it was also good goalkeeping.
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