Big Month Ahead
Forget about the FA Cup, it's mickey mouse nonsense (easy to say now we're out). It's full steam ahead in our pursuit for league glory and December could be make or break.
Take a look at December's fixtures. Gillingham (tonight) and Walsall on Saturday are two home games that we look at in July and see as two 'must be 3 points'. You'd certainly be no fool in expecting four points.
Following Walsall it's a trip to Hartlepool. Yes, the catch is it's a trip. Winnable on paper but our away form this season has been our biggest downfall. Tactically wise I don't think Steve Holland has quite worked out away games, but he needs to hurry up if we're to even finish in the top half. I don't think we've had more than 30% of the play in any away game this season - and that includes Chester in the JPT.
A Christmassy game at home to Doncaster follows and will almost certainly be the toughest of the month. It seems a month doesn't go by without a game, or a potential game, with Doncaster at the moment. They are beatable though. They have only hovered in the top half of the table so far ths season - we may give them more credit & respect than they deserve - maybe due to the recent frightening trips to the Keepmoat we've had.
A boxing day trip to Huddersfield and then a train all the way down to London & Millwall finishes 2007 off. They are, again, two winnable games on paper but our away form, once again, will make them extremely hard games.
So what can we expect from this month? Well I'd be disappointed with less than 6 points in the next few days. Maybe it's my greed but we are on a three game winning streak at Fortress Gresty and I can't really remember the last time a team out-did us on our own patch.
Hartlepool will be tough, and as with away game I think 1 point would be a good return at this point. I see no reason we can't match Doncaster at home either.
Boxing day games are always odd ones. Still recovering from the day before the players rarely go at full pace. We also have a good record at the Galpharm after last season's 2-1 win. Nothing can separate us with Huddersfield in the league at the moment though - so maybe another nailed on draw?
And do we ever get anything at Millwall?
Points Available = 18 points.
My Prediction = We'll get 9 points.
Ok, so the two recent defeats have downed my enthusiasm and last week I was saying 12-15 points were for the taking. I was young and naive.
Nine points (minimum) would not be a disasterous return though. We would still be touching the top half, and maybe with a couple of bonus, unexpected points here or there then we'll be even higher in the league.
Let's face it, it can't get much worse than December 2006 whatever happens...