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The Three Point Turn

The Three Point Turn

Despite sitting in the lower half of the table for much of the season Dario still believes this team can make the play-offs. Can it?

It's rare you hear a manager of a team in the bottom 10 of a division talk about a promotion push but ever since taking his old job back Dario has insisted his players have it in them.

'I felt if we'd beaten Port Vale we would be on our way to challenging for a play-off spot. Obviously the results since then have got us looking at the bottom half of the league, but we have still got enough time to put ourselves in the promotion picture.' - Dario

The team under Gudjon looked anything but a side with play-off aspirations. Fans were looking towards the Blue Square Premier before League One, perhaps for some that is still the case.

It's unsurprising. Needless to say we were an absolute mess under the Iceman. Confidence had been drained from the players as fast as hope was drained from the fans. Dario's task of repairing that has been a huge one.

The quality of the squad is there give or take, and so it should be, it cost close to £1million to build. Getting the ball back on the deck has taken time, getting the players playing with confidence will take even more time.

The last four weeks have seen slow steady progression, it's a tough turn around but I think we're now starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Saturday's win was huge, not only was it a must-not-lose game; it was a big chance to put an end to a horrible run of 1 win in 8 games.

Today saw the signing of Steve Phillips, a signing that I think we will look back on as the turning point. The goalkeeping position has arguably been our biggest problem since Clayton Ince's departure if not since Jason's Kearton's retirement.

Phillips is the first reliable, experienced keeper we've had on our books since and he comes with not only a great CV but also great references. He will be a huge success.

You do have to feel for Legzdins however. He's not done much wrong this season yet seems destined to spend the season as a bench warmer. That's football for you, as solid as Legzdins has shown he can be he is still young and inexperienced - we'd have been mad to pass up the opportunity to bring in Phillips.

So with a top class keeper between the sticks and the league's top goal scorer up front we are not far from having a very decent team indeed.

The defence remains the only real concern; Saturday was the first game since the start of September where we have conceded less than 2. Perhaps with Phillips we can now see a bit of calmness and a little more organisation.

Even so I doubt we will fly back up the league, it will never be that easy but we're now starting to reap the awards of the Dario effect and with the smell of Gudjon's reign well and truly gone and come May a play-off spot may well be our's as mad as it may seem.



Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:Dink
Date:Monday November 2 2009
Time: 6:30PM

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# Team P W D L Pts. GD
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P Oxford 46 24 14 8 86 43
P Bristol Rovers 46 26 7 13 85 31
4 Accrington 46 24 13 9 85 26
5 Plymouth 46 24 9 13 81 26
6 Portsmouth 46 21 15 10 78 31
7 Wimbledon 46 21 12 13 75 14
8 Leyton Orient 46 19 12 15 69 -1
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10 Carlisle 46 17 16 13 67 5
11 Luton 46 19 9 18 66 2
12 Mansfield 46 17 13 16 64 8
13 Wycombe 46 17 13 16 64 1
14 Exeter 46 17 13 16 64 -2
15 Barnet 46 17 11 18 62 -1
16 Hartlepool 46 15 6 25 51 -23
17 Notts County 46 14 9 23 51 -29
18 Stevenage 46 11 15 20 48 -15
19 Yeovil 46 11 15 20 48 -16
20 Crawley 46 13 8 25 47 -33
21 Morecambe 46 12 10 24 46 -22
22 Newport 46 10 13 23 43 -21
R Dag & Red 46 8 10 28 34 -35
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