A Posh Tale

OnThisRock

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Hello all! This is my first post, and I'm going to be creating a story to correspond with my FM16 Peterborough United save file. I hope you all enjoy it and follow along! Regardless of how much attention this receives I intend to keep it up as it is a good way for me to monitor and record the development of my team and my players. I would however love to have some feedback and tactical discussions where possible, so if you're reading then please leave a comment. ;)
Thanks, and on to the story!


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The Story so far


2015/2016 (October)
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Current Squad (2015/2016)
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OnThisRock

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The Month of July, 2015

Wednesday 1st July 2015


The dastardly duo - Barry Fry and Darragh MacAnthony are the heart and brains behind this current Peterborough United setup

Having dispensed of the services of Graham Westley, Peterborough United, a modest sized club in the Sky Bet League One in England, were on the lookout for a new Manager/First Team coach. As a fan of the club and excited by their ambition, I had applied for the position and to my surprise been called in by the club despite my rather humble CV.

'So what have ya got in mind for da club den? And I want absolute honesty from yas here, son.', Darragh had said to me in that meeting.

'I want to set this club up for promotion as soon as possible. I want to play attacking football and I want to bring as many young players through the set up as possible.', I had responded. I knew which buttons needed to be pressed.

But it wasn't just fake gusto. This was how I'd always wanted to run a club and me and the club's mentalities really did align. It was a massive task in my position to take this job but I knew at the end of the interview that I wanted it and that I was the man for the job. Thankfully I had managed to convince the big Irishman and his partner-in-crime, Barry Fry.

Concluding that meeting, we drew up a contract until the end of 2016 and drew up a framework of parameters upon which my tenure at the club would be judged:


  • [*=center]Play attacking football
    [*=center]Purchase and develop young players
    [*=center]Purchase non-league players
    [*=center]Develop players through the youth academy
    [*=center]Try to avoid loan dependence
    [*=center]Raise money every season through player sales
My objective for the campaign would be to finish in the top-half. I was happy with this, and in all honesty I felt that we only needed a couple more additions to be challenging for the top half.

Thursday 2nd July 2015


Today was the day I finally got my feet under the desk. It began with a press conference at the club's corporate suite to introduce me to the press. I spoke of my delight at being at the club I loved, but tempered that with a desire to steer clear of sentimentality as much as possible. I spoke of the way I wanted to take the club forward and the bright future which I saw for the club. I was pressed on my plans for the transfer market and said that I had a few targets in mind, both free transfers and loans which I thought would bolster the club in the short term. I then explained to the press my plans to overhaul the staff at the club and start from scratch.

Overall the conference went well, and I think I gave off a good impression. Wasting no time, I went straight to the board room and began to make calls. My first call was to my fitness coach Mark Lindsay to discuss a mutual termination of his contract. J. Pynegar, the club physio was the next to receive the call from me before the club's Chief Scout Kieran Scarff was given a painting of a spitfire and sent on his way. Sadly needs must! I needed to bring in a set of coaches who matched my ambition and which would give us a solid foundation to base our promotion chase upon!

The only members of staff who would be remaining at the club going forward were the Director of Football, Barry Fry (out of my hands!) and fans favourite Grant McCann. Grant has a good future and is a young, ambitious individual - perfect for my designs.


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B. Fry
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G. McCann

Grant would later join me in the office and gave me the idea of setting up a match between our first team and our U21s. I decided which of the players I wanted in my XI and let him organise the rest of the players. The match finished 1-0 to the first team, and gave me a good idea of which players I wanted to keep at the club and what systems I might be able to employ.
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Saturday 3rd July

Following my first full day, my priority turned to finalising my coaching staff so we could begin our pre-season preparations. Me, Bazza and Darragh spoke about what we were looking for in our new recruits. I insisted that I wanted a young, ambitious and fresh team with a focus on fitness and an attacking style of play. They concurred. We also spoke of our designs for the youth team and Darragh suggested bringing in as many young, hungry ex-pros as possible to help give them a lift into the game and to inspire our young lads. Having looked at the list of available coaches, I fully agreed with him. So our new team looked like this:

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Robbie Wilson joined us from Coleraine in Northern Ireland. Darragh had heard good things about him and upon close inspection, we felt that he ticked all of the right boxes and I had no hesitation in bringing him in as our first Fitness Coach.

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Second in through the door was young James Bunce, a former Southampton Fitness Coach who brought fantastic knowledge and a real enthusiasm into the team. He would work with Robbie on the boys fitness drills.

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Nick Haycock would be the next to join us, arriving from Essex side Bishop's Stortford to be my Senior Coach. Nick is a fantastic personality, with a great knowledge of the game and a very balanced set of coaching skills.

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Next in was the recognisable Kevin Kilbane. Kevin was making his first foray into coaching with us, but his potential is obvious.

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The final piece of the jigsaw was Dean Holden, who had played for the club previously and had made his first moves into coaching with Oldham. He is hungry and provides the balance in our coaching that I was looking for.

With my coaching staff set up, it was then onto the recruitment side of things. Our philosophies dictate that we need a very strong recruitment team, so I was eager to get this right. I brought in a number of experienced personnel from across the UK who would bring us the balance of knowledge I felt we needed.

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First up is our new Chief Scout, Pat Holland. Pat has worked at a number of large clubs such as Chelsea and Charlton and has extensive knowledge of English football.
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Roger Hyett joins as a Scout from Cheltenham Town and he will be our non-league expert. His task will be to find players at that level with the talent to play higher up. It is Darragh's opinion that there are many players at that level just waiting to be unearthed and the club's record up until now with the likes of George Boyd, Britt Assombalonga and Dwight Gayle seems to back up this belief. Roger will be crucial to the continuing success of this policy.
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Joe McLaughlin will be our Scotland expert. Joe is highly regarded in football and has a number of very useful contacts. Hopefully his addition to the club will help us unearth some Scottish prospects as for my money they are often criminally under-valued.
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Finally we have Andy McMorran, who joins us from Linfield in Northern Ireland. He will be our Irish expert.

With our recruitment team confirmed, we turned to the Academy. We have had a couple of decent players such as Joe Newell and Jermaine Anderson come through the academy of late. However, I really want to take things up a notch. I believe our additions to the coaching staff will aid this improvement.
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Taking over as U18s Manager is Damien Duff. The Chelsea fans favourite has huge potential as a coach and will lead the set up.
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Joining him is Jack Collison, who previously played for the Posh before retiring due to a recurring injury. His continued presence at the club is very welcome.
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Finally, the third ex-international to join our Academy set up is Jermaine Jenas, making his first steps into coaching. Jermaine is ambitious and can go a long way as a coach.

Over the course of the day we also managed to confirm one outgoing and one incoming. Leaving the club is academy prospect Leonardo da Silva-Lopes, who joins SC Braga for a fee of £180k plus add-ons.
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Rejoining the club is club icon Mark Tyler to provide backup for Ben Alnwick.

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Tuesday 7th July 2015

Training is now fully underway with the coaching and playing staff getting into things. Next Saturday we play Manchester United in a pre-season friendly at home in what is expected to be a sell-out. It should be a good test of where the boys are at!

I have turned my attentions to the playing staff and have mutually terminated the contracts of both Andrew Fox and Jonathan Edwards, who I didn't feel would be able to make the grade with us.
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Harry Anderson leaves on loan to Tranmere Rovers. This kid has a bright future at the club but I currently have an abundance of attacking midfielders so I am looking for him to continue his education elsewhere.

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Aaron sadly doesn't fit in to my plans at the club. Southport have taken him on loan for the season and agreed to pay all of his wages.
In other team news, I have placed Joe Gormley on the transfer list, whilst putting Jordan Nicholson and Adil Nabi on the loan list. Graham Westley has left me with a ridiculous number of strikers!

 
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OnThisRock

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The Month of July continued..

Thursday 9th July

Paul and my Assistant Manager Grant at the unveiling.

Some more transfer news as Paul Taylor rejoins the club on a free transfer! Paul is a fantastic capture. He has superb technical ability and is a really determined character. His ability to player in all of the front 4 positions is a fantastic asset for the club and I look forward to getting him out onto the pitch.
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Saturday 11th July 2015

Today we welcomed Van Gaal's Manchester United side to the Abax. We played a defensive side and looked strong for most of the game, with United's quality eventually shining through. We made a couple of chances in the second half and substitute Tom Nichols was lively enough to take one of them and in the end the fans and myself went home relatively happy with our days work.
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Saturday 18th July

Things had been quiet at the club, with the boys training hard ahead of our next pre-season fixture against Morecambe. Before the match though we announced two loan signings.
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Cole Kpekawa joins us on loan for the season from QPR. With Jack Baldwin out injured, he helps with the shortage of numbers at the back.
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Leon Chambers arrives from West Ham to help shore up our full-back positions. His pace and trickery provides a great alternative to Michael Smith at right back.

Both players joined up with the squad for the Morecambe game and were able to get minutes. The match finished 2-0 and we dominated from start to finish. I was able to try out players in a number of different positions and play with our tactical approaches.
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Wednesday 22nd July 2015

One issue for me had been that a couple of key players were running down their contracts at the club. We managed to tie down Kgosi Ntlhe for another year today on a favourable deal.
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Thursday 23rd July 2015

A second contract renewal in as many days, as Erhun Oztumer signed up until 2017 as well. Erhun has a number of unique qualities that I am looking to exploit over the course of the season.
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Saturday 25th July 2015

Another great week on the traning ground was to culminate with a trip to Hampton & Richmond for a pre-season friendly. I experimented with an attacking 4-2-4 formation. This featured a defensive-minded central midfielder alongside a box-to-box player. My front four then featured a wide forward on the right, a supporting striker in the number 10 role, an advanced playmaker wide on the left and a deep lying forward in the striker role. The interplay of these four was the key element of the game and gives me plenty to think about going into the season!
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Monday 27th July 2015

Another departure from the club, with Brad Maslen-Jones leaving for the season to play for National League North side, Brackley.

Tuesday 28th July 2015

Today sees a rather unfortunate turn of events for young Leon Chambers. With our first choice loan option Ryan McLaughlin becoming available on loan from Liverpool, Barry Fry swooped in to bring him to the club, meaning that Leon's time was numbered. We sent him back that afternoon to West Ham United.
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Ryan is an excellent addition to the side. He will challenge with his compatriot Michael Smith for a birth on the right hand side of the defence.

Wednesday 29th July 2015

Having bought Leonardo da Silva-Lopes from us, we fashioned an agreement into the transfer that SC Braga would play a friendly with us at the Abax Stadium. They arrived this Wednesday night for the match and it gave me a chance to experiment with a back five. McLaughlin fitted in naturally in the right-wing back role, with Toffollo on the other side. Despite the result, we were very impressive and were arguably the better side. I have concerns about my centre-backs, but this new formation provides some really good options. The only negative for the night was the relatively low turnout.
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To be continued...


 
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OnThisRock

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The Month of August, 2015

Monday 3rd August 2015

The new season is just around the corner and we finish pre-season with a Monday night trip to the Solent. I tested out our 5-2-3 formation again with mixed success. Overall it was a decent exercise and sets us up well for the season ahead.
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Saturday 8th August 2015

The opening day of the season has arrived. The boys have trained fantastically throughout pre-season and I am very optimistic about our chances. I breeze through the pre-match press conference and set about turning my mind to the game. We open up against Rochdale away. The Lancashire side have a few decent players in their side but I am confident our quick forwards will cause them problems on the break. In the morning, we are drawn against Crawley for the first round of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.
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The game itself goes according to plan. Martin Samuelsen opened the scoring on his debut before we are pegged back undeservedly. In the second half we take the lead again through substitute Shaquile Coulthirst's back post finish. It then looked like we were going to throw all our hard work away when Kpekawa gave away a penalty at the death but we pounced up the other end of the pitch and won the game through Lee Angol. A thrilling start to the season but plenty to work on.
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There is some bad news, as Shaquile Coulthirst picked up a knock. He will be out of action for the rest of the month.
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Tuesday 11th August 2015

The games come thick and fast in August, and we were straight back into competitive action tonight against our local rivals Cambridge United in the Capital One Cup first round. I made a couple of changes but was delighted with the response. Paul Taylor was fantastic in the number 10 role, setting up and scoring a brilliant strike from 25 yards. The two goals we conceded were disappointing though, with Ben Alnwick taking a large share of the blame.
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There is another downside to the victory again though as Paul Taylor suffered an injury ruling him out of the rest of the months fixtures. He joins Anderson, Coulthirst and Baldwin on the injury list.
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Wednesday 12th August 2015

This morning's draw for the second round of the Capital One Cup sees us at home to Everton toward the end of the month. I'm looking forward to a cracking tie in front of a packed crowd. It should be a good chance to raise some money and earn some valuable experience for the lads who feature.
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Saturday 15th August 2015

This afternoon saw us play against Colchester United in our first home league match of the season. We were rather unfortunate to come out with a defeat having created a number of very good chances. Elliot Lee was fantastic for Colchester, scoring and setting up one and his pace on the counter-attack proved to be our undoing. Our defending is a growing concern.
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Tuesday 18th August 2015

There's no let up on the fixtures, as we welcomed Sheffield United to the Abax Stadium tonight. Injuries have depleted the side somewhat and left me with a number of forced changes. We changed to a back 5 but were undone either side of half-time by Che Adams. Defensive mistakes were to blame for the goals but in honesty were outplayed throughout the game. It's no great shame to lose against the league favourites but we need to improve our home performances.
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Wednesday 19th August 2015

There is some good news ahead of the weekend fixture against Burton. Jermaine Anderson has returned to full training and should be able to feature.
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Saturday 22nd August 2015

We went into the weekend match boosted by the return of Jermaine Anderson and put on a great show. We dominated the match from start to finish and were unlucky to concede. A special mention goes to Tom Nichols who came off the bench to score two excellent strikers goals. His apperance from the bench also gave me a chance to test out the side in a 4-4-2 shape. The win gives us two wins from two on the road.
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Tuesday 25th August 2015

We go into our fixture against Everton in great spirits after the crushing victory over Burton at the weekend. Following that match, both Kgosi Ntlhe and Michael Smith were named in the League One Team of the Week.
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The match doesn't quite go according to plan but we put on a good show. I instructed my full-backs to push forward and overlap the strikers but that proved to be ill-judged as Aaron Lennon and Seamus Coleman constantly doubled up to get behind us on the left flank. We scored and hit the bar a couple of times so we can be happy with our night's work and we also managed to raise a decent crowd for the tie.
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Wednesday 26th August 2015

Four of our players are called up to their national teams at various levels for the first week in September. As such we have decided to postpone the league match against Southend United.
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Saturday 29th August 2015

Our final match of the month comes at home against Gillingham. They had won once in their opening 4 games but have a couple of dangerous players in their side which we had to be aware of. Nevertheless we put on a fantastic performance. We peppered their keeper with shots and put on a great defensive performance to get our first home victory of the month. Special mention to Jon Taylor who scored another important goal to take his tally for the season to three.
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Monday 31st August 2015

The month drew to a close with the usual bustle of Transfer Deadline Day. We tried to move on Joe Gormley, Adil Nabi and Jordan Nicholson but to no avail. Instead we managed to bring in young defender Ryan Hoggan from Alloa in Scotland. McLaughlin had insisted that we take a look at him upon arriving at the club and we finally decided to bring him in on deadline day.
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Ryan has a lot of potential. Our plan is to keep him in the Academy squad until he irons out the slight deficiencies in his game, such as his stamina and determination. He will then either join the first team or spend some time out on loan. I am really excited about his potential. We were mentioned as the three top transfers of the month for League One:
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On a final note, Ntlhe was once again named in the Team of the Week. He is currently in great form and I am hoping it is something he can sustain as he has stagnated over the last season.
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With the transfer window shutting, we wave goodbye to August and look forward to the rest of the season. We are currently sitting in the play-off positions in 5th place.


 

OnThisRock

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The Month of September, 2015

Wednesday 2nd September 2015

The last game before the international break arrives, pitting us against Crawley in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy First Round. The players are a little tired after the games in August so I made sure to rotate. Three academy players made it onto the bench for this one, with Gow and Keating both coming off the bench to claim an assist. Angol was naturally man of the match after scoring a perfect hat-trick to send us into the next round comfortably.
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Tuesday 8th September 2015
A big day for Kgosi today as he made his debut for the South African national team, putting in an excellent display. Hopefully he will keep up his form for us and keep his place in the national side.
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Saturday 12th September 2015

Michael Smith also made his international debut over the break, choosing to pledge his allegiance to the Canadian national team. Going into our match against Oldham, we were back to full strength and it showed as we put on another fine away display. Having taken an early lead through Maddison's first goal of the season we piled on the pressure. We made numerous opportunities and were unfortunate to be pegged back. Nevertheless we kept on the pressure and Maddison's excellent run down the left and centre into the middle found the substitute Shaquile Coulthirst (making only his second appearance of the season) who tapped it into the gaping net! A deserved win.
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Sunday 13th September
Some bad news as scans after the Oldham game show that Shaquile Coulthirst has picked up an injury keeping him out for the next 3-4 weeks. He's having a tough time of it at the moment with injuries.
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Tuesday 15th September 2015

This game had been postponed due to our international call-ups, and it appeared to be a wise decision. We came into the game fairly fresh and put on another fine away performance. The sole goal of the occasion came from Jon Taylor for his fourth of the campaign.
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The enthusiasm of the victory is however tempered by the news that Marcus Maddison picked up an achilles injury and will be out for up to 6 months.
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Friday 18th September

Despite wanting to avoid dipping into the loan market, needs must, and today we brought in 19 year old Connor Hunte from Wolverhampton Wanderers on a 3 month loan deal to cover the injury to Marcus Maddison. He brings a lot of pace and technical ability and hopefully he'll learn a thing or two whilst at the club.
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Saturday 19th September 2015

Our home form continues to stutter somewhat, as we came unstuck against Walsall. An early wonder goal from their young striker caught us off guard and we were always chasing the game from that point. Can't help but feel the Maddison injury has somewhat knocked us out of our stride, especially after his performances of late.
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Saturday 26th September

After a week on the training ground to put the previous dissapointment behind us, we travelled to top of the table side Bradford City. We set up defensively and played on the counter and in all fairness we produced the better chances on this occasion. Nevertheless, I was very happy to keep another clean sheet and we remain unbeaten on the road.
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Monday 28th September 2015

Ahead of our final match of the month, I am approached by our playmaker Erhun Oztumer about a lack of playing time. I want to keep him at the club for the time being, especially following the injury to Marcus Maddison but it may well be that his long-term future is away from the club. Perhaps we can pick up a decent sum at the end of the season.

Tuesday 29th September 2015
Our final match of the month is a home game against Bury. After our loss at home last time out, we wanted to put things right, and it was our strike duo of Lee Angol and Tom Nichols who did the damage either side of the break. The two have been connecting well this season and I see a potentially fruitful partnership in the making. Nabi started the game, having been recalled to the first team after the injury to Shaq, but was unable to make an impact and was substituted at the half-way point.
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Wednesday 30th September 2015
With the month drawing to an end, I got a report on training from Grant McCann.
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Tom has been very impressive since I joined and is improving rapidly. Harry's improvements are pushing Kgosi to keep up his form and Ricardo Santos is improving mentally, though he has some way to go to get to the standards I want. Mark is coming towards the end of his career so it is no surprise that his powers are diminishing. I may look to move him into coaching in the near future. In other good news, our young on loan midfielder Harry Anderson picked up the Conference Young Player of the Month award for Tranmere Rovers.
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To be continued...




 

OnThisRock

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The Month of October

Saturday 3rd October 2015

First week into the new month and we are pitted at home against Millwall, a team in good form and sitting a place above us in 3rd. We put on an impressive display, with Tom Nichols running the game. His pressing and vision caused the Londoner's defence all kinds of problems and he set up the opener for Lee Angol. Chris Forrester then knocked in a header from a set piece to seal a great victory!
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Tuesday 6th October 2015

Our next match took us down the M1 to Stevenage for our fixture in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy. We played a relatively strong side, alongside a number of youth players on the bench. Deon Moore came off to make his debut as well as young full-back Piesse. Sadly they were not able to make a break through and the game went to penalties which we lost.
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Saturday 17th October 2015
After an international break we headed over to Staffordshire for a fixture against Port Vale, who are struggling toward the bottom of the table. We dominated from start to finish - they didn't have a shot at all in the first half. Nevertheless it took us a while to get the break through, Nichols' shot ricocheting off of the unfortunate Remie Streete. It was then up to substitute Paul Taylor to add the gloss to the finish as we continued our good league form, pushing us up into the automatic promotion spots.
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Meanwhile Tom Nichols' was named in the team of the week after another Man of the Match performance. His displays this season have been extremely encouraging.
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Tuesday 20th October 2015

Our next fixture was a home match against Wigan, a team expected to push for promotion and currently just a few spots behind us in the play-offs. We made incredibly light work of them. I set us out in a 5-3-2 formation and our wing back's won us the game. Meanwhile we took full advantage of our excellent set pieces and took our chances well. We could even have scored more in all honesty.
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Needless to say the press was gushing after the result. We have now gone 6 league games without conceding.
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Saturday 24th October 2015

Almost inevitably we came unstuck in our next fixture, the defensive record thoroughly out of the window. We were quite unlucky to concede three in all fairness - it certainly wasn't Ben's best day. We also had plenty of good chances and did well to come back from 2 goals down. Nevertheless we are still just a couple of points off the top of the table.
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Tuesday 27th October 2015

Ahead of our trip to Swindon, Santos and Zakuani were named in the team of the week for their brilliant performances against Wigan.

The match itself went thoroughly to plan. Tom Nichols continued his fine form this season with another goal before Martin Samuelsen volleyed home excellently from a Michael Smith cross. The win takes us back to the top of the table after Sheffield United's draw.
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In bad news, the match saw us lose both Chris Forrester and Jermaine Anderson to injuries. Anderson will be out for up to 5 weeks. The good news on the injury front is that Jack Baldwin is due to return to training next week.
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Saturday 31st October 2015

The final match of the month saw us up against a dissapointing Coventry side, whose manager appeared to be one game away from the sack. Despite that, and perhaps because of the number of fixtures over the last couple of weeks, we were unable to get going in this match and went two goals behind. We almost started a comeback but the performance as a whole was far below the standards that we have come to exepect.
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Nevertheless we remain top of the table going into November. With just over a quarter of the season gone, we have looked very impressive but know that the hard work only begins now. This is a young side, so I expect a few more hiccups over the course of the season. In final good news, we received £250k from a clause in Ryan Bennett's transfer to Norwich.
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Our training report for this month was also very positive. The team is developing very well indeed.
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