Fan Turned Manager - My Beloved Gills - Reiginiting My Fire For FM21

FM_TNSSO

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I'm going to put it straight out there and say it...I am bored with Football Manager 2021. For a couple of saves now, I have struggled to find motivation to turn on the laptop and play, so this save is an attempt to hopefully reiginite my passion for the game...I mean, if managing my beloved Gillingham FC can't get me back on track, nothing will.

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I've downloaded the latest data update and installed at the start of the game, so I'm starting with the most up to date Gills squad possible. And I've given myself manager stats that were recommended for this level.

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Now us Gills fans haven't had much to celebrate over the years, with only two League Two titles in the bag, along with a couple of lower league titles.

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Our best run in English football undoubtedly came at the start of the noughties when we managed to survive in the Championship for a few seasons. Since then, we've spent 12 of the last 15 seasons in League One and are now firmly established in this division. Mid table is about the best the club have managed though and most seasons, the bookies have us earmarked as strugglers and potential relegation candidates.

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We have nurtured some decent talent at the club in recent years though, most notably Bradley Dack who has been linked with a move to the Premier League pretty much ever since joining Blackburn from us a few seasons ago. 'Dacky' was superb for us and lifted the League One Player of the Year whilst at the Gills and at some point in this save, I'd love to get him back at the club if the opportunity arises.

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With regards to the club's vision, it seems Paul Scally (my chairman) has had enough of League One football and the aim is to challenge for the playoffs within the next few years. I won't hold my breath for that new stadium - Scally has been banging that drum for a while now with nothing materialising.

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It's just like our famous away stand that was meant to be 'temporary' all them years ago!! And even now, the scaffolding still stands.

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Priestfield itself though (away end aside) isn't the worst stadium in the world and it'll be interesting for me now sitting in the dugout rather than the Rainham End!

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Now to get to work and it's obvious I've got a lot of work to do. I've taken over the club in that 'lower league transition period' which always sees a number of players leave and a load of new players come in. Squads can change dramatically from season to season at this level and as I've taken over, we've let a lot of the dead wood go already, but haven't yet replaced them. The squad is thin on the ground and new additions are needed....fast!

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The player I will be building my squad around is our captain and undoubtedly our best player, Kyle Dempsey.

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One of the strongest areas of the team is our centre back pairing of 20 year old Jack Tucker and the more experienced head of Max Ehmer, who has just returned to the club after a year away.

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Now this will definitely help! An association with a club like Arsenal will be massive for the club and should give us access to some of their talented youngsters!

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And we immediately took advantage of our relationship with The Gooners, by bringing in two players on loan for the season! Both of them look like they'll be first team regulars and could make a huge impact for us this season!

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Rekik looks like a great capture for us as he is one of the bookie's favourites to be the best player in the division this year.

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We will get an opportunity to look at some more of their youngsters too after drawing the Arsenal U23s in the group stage for the Papa John's Trophy!

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A new right hand man joins as Newport's U18 Manager, Damien Broad, becomes my Assistant.

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And under our guidance, the club experienced a decent enough pre season campaign, capped off by a comfortable win against Leyton Orient.

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Which should serve up plenty of confidence, considering we'll play them again in our first competitive match of the season.

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We didn't find the competitive game against Leyton Orient as easy as we had the friendly the week before and a penalty shootout was required to see us through to the 2nd round of the Carabao Cup.

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However, we made up for that with a much improved performance against Ipswich in the Papa John's Trophy as we kick off our group stage with a win!

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And as we played in our 3rd different competition already, we opened our league campaign with a good win against a decent Charlton side who will be tipped for at least the playoffs this year!

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As for us, the bookies clearly think we're going to struggle!

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Back in the Carabao Cup though, we had been rewarded for our penalties victory, with a home draw against Premier League side, West Ham. A full house brought in some decent money for the club and we didn't disgrace ourselves on the scoresheet either!

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In League One, we made it 3 games, 3 wins, 1-0, 2-0 and 3-0!

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Which leaves us top as the only side in the division to maintain a 100% record!

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Which was enough for me to win Manager of the Month in my first ever month in charge!

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Whilst one of our loanees from Arsenal has made an immediate impact too!

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Our first dropped points in the league this season, but a 0-0 draw away at Sunderland is still a very respectable result!

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On transfer deadline day, I needed cover for one position in particular. Our left back spot was a problem, but no more with the arrival of Rangers' Calvin Bassey, who comes in on loan for the season.

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The biggest news on transfer deadline day though....Lionel Messi opted for a move to Liverpool rather than sign a new contract with Barcelona!!

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Bassey went straight into the starting lineup on the very day he signed and gave a decent account of himself too, as we thrashed the Arsenal youngsters in the Papa John's Trophy.

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Back in League One, our form took a bit of a dip though as we dropped points against Plymouth, before our first league defeat of the season came at the hands of Cambridge. We needed to improve to get back on track....

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And it's fair to say we did as we absolutely battered Doncaster!

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Which set up a top of table clash with Ipswich quite nicely...

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And in an entertaining game for both sets of fans, we simply coudn't be split, with a draw probably being a fair result on the day!

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Now this man...our very own Captain Fantastic...has made an unreal start to the season! He now has an incredible 9 goals in 13 appearances in all comps from central midfield!!!

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Which has him leading the way for the golden boot in the early stages of League One!

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And his form was enough to see him lift a Player of the Month award for October as well!

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Two more wins chalked up in the league left us top of the table after 11 games.

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Just to ask, is this FM or FM Touch? Which skin do you use as I like the look of that.

Great start to the story.
 
Just to ask, is this FM or FM Touch? Which skin do you use as I like the look of that.

Great start to the story.

Hello mate. This is the full FM game on my laptop mate. It's the FLUT dark skin I'm using.
 
In the space of 4 days, we knocked out two lower league clubs from two different cup competitions, scoring 10 goals in the process!!

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Whilst in the league, we had two wins sandwiched around a defeat to Crewe. It's only our second defeat in the league this season and all the time we are conceding just 1 goal in 3 games, we will continue to be strong challengers in the division.

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In the FA Cup, we progress to the 3rd round after a comfortable victory at home to fellow League One side, Charlton. Fully deserved after a dominant performance from my lads!

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And our form has been good enough for me to lift the Manager of the Month acolade for the 2nd time!

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A preview of the youth intake suggests a golden generation, but we all know that's no guarantee. From all the prospects, apparently there's a pretty tasty keeper to look forward to!

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A real mixed bag followed in the league, as we recorded a win, a draw and a loss. The win against Portsmouth was massive, whilst that draw against Wimbledon was bitterly disappointing!

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Aaron Chapman is our only goalkeeper of any salt whatsoever, so to lose him for 3 months is nothing short of a crisis!

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And that really hurt us as we took on one of the title favourites in our next game.

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I addressed the issue by bringing in Remi Matthews on a free transfer. He'd been without a club since being released by Bolton in the Summer and can do a job for us. However, I can't register him to play until January when the transfer window opens!

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Which is **** as I still have 4 games to play before then!

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But as it happens, we did alright in the end! Including progression in the Papa John's Trophy!

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And we lead the league by a point as we approach the half way stage of the season! Things are looking good at the moment and there's plenty of excitement around Priestfield!

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After a 3rd league draw in a row away at Burton, we quickly picked things up against Accrington to get back on track and we're now on a 5 game unbeaten run in the league.

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In the FA Cup, we had an away day at Premier League Watford to enjoy! And we did ourselves proud as we very nearly took them into extra time! I'm a proud manager despite the loss!

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We may be out of the FA Cup, but we're through in the Papa John's Trophy after a comfortable victory over Cheltenham!

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Two more wins from our next three league games kept us at the top of the league, albeit only on goal difference and Rotherham join us on points!

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We're well into the January transfer window and after a quiet couple of weeks so far, I landed a huge loan signing for the club! Anthony Elanga comes in for the rest of the season from Manchester United and offers me another fantastic option on the wings!

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The youngster was thrown straight into the starting lineup in a tough game against Sunderland. Although he looked lively and we dominated the game, we just couldn't find the back of the net for a winning goal!

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Back in the Papa John's Trophy, we required a penalty shootout to overcome a Carlisle side that were lumbered in mid table in League Two! Disappointing we couldn't get it done in 90 minutes, but pleased to see us through to the semi final.

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Where we will take on Manchester United's U23s team.

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But before that, we had two tough league games to take care of....and take care of them we did!

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We've opened up a 3 point gap at the top now, but there are still plenty of teams breathing down our neck! I feel much more comfortable about our 10 point gap to Charlton in 7th and the playoffs look like a realistic target now for sure!

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We have a trip to Wembley to look forward to after overcoming Manchester United U23s in the semi of the Papa John's Trophy. That will be a nice touch for all of us no matter the outcome on the day!

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And in the final we will play Arsenal's U23 team. A team we have already beaten this season 4-1 in the group stage!

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Cambridge United had beaten us 2-1 earlier in the season at our place, so I suppose I should be pleased to get a point at theirs.

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Three straight wins followed before defeat to Ipswich which ended our 9 game unbeaten streak!

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Enough for me to lift my 3rd Manager of the Month award for the season!

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Didn't take us long to get back to winning ways though, even if we weren't the most convincing.

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Now we havd a final to play and the fans were given a day out at Wembley! We were going to enjoy this, whichever way it went! Here's the lineup I went with for the game against Arsenal U23s.

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We knew the media attention would be on 20 year old, Tyreece John-Jules who is having an outstanding season for us on loan from Arsenal! He came into the game with 19 goals and 8 assists in all competitions so far...the only question would be if he could handle the pressure on the big stage?

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That question was well and truly answered by this talented youngster who's hat trick led us well on our way to a convincing victory and a trophy in my first season in charge! I'm so proud of my team and I'm delighted as a Gillingham fan to bring the club some silverware so quickly in my career!

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The cup win did seem to throw our league form out of sync as we only managed 1 point from our next 2 games. We did get back on track with a bit of a smash and grab win over Portsmouth though!

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So with just 8 games remaining, we lead the division by 2 points with a game in hand! It's the business end of the campaign now and we need to show what we're made of!

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The youth intake wasn't really anything to get excited about this season in all honesty!

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Grant Ellis is the best of a bad bunch and probably won't make it at the club.

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A win over AFC Wimbledon was the perfect way to set up a top of the table clash against Sheffield Wednesday.

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And the lads did me proud against the side with easily the best team (on paper) in the division. Twice we fought back from a goal down to earn the most valuable point of our season!

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In our next game, we dominated for 90 minutes, but still didn't take all 3 points against The Shrews!

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So with 5 games left, it looks like 1 of us in the top 3 will be left disappointed come the end of the season.

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And we were simply bottling it...

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We needed a huge performance away a playoff chasing Oxford United. When we went 1-0 down in the 2nd half, I feared the worst, but the lads rallied well and we picked up a massive 3 points!

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Two games remain and there's 4 teams in the hunt for automatic promotion now! Our next game....Burton Albion at home.....MASSIVE!!

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AND WE DELIVERED!! This is absolutely huge for our automatic promotion hopes and puts Burton out of the running!

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And with Ipswich losing to Sunderland, it means that we are back on top of the pile and one win away from being champions!

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And isn't this just the perfect screenshot to finish the update on! CHAMPIONS!

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The final league table which confirms our status as Champions. Sheffield Wednesday will join us in The Championship next season. It was a miserable season for Morecambe who finished with only 4 wins from 46 games!

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Our points tally was actually a new record for the club.

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With the league title in the bag, the board will give me nearly a million pounds to spend this Summer, along with a £20k per week boost to the wage salary!

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The squad (sorted by appearances). No less than 10 players scored average ratings above 7.0 across the course of the season, with centre back Jack Tucker topping the pile! Tyreece John-Jules was simply immense throughout the season and the Arsenal loanee bagged 27 goals and 9 assists for the club....I'll definitely be looking to keep him here for another year. Kyle Dempsey (captain fantastic) scored an incredible 23 goals from central midfield and I don't remember every having a centre mid score so many for me in a single season ever! Olly Lee played a big role beside Dempsey, reaching double figures for both goals and assists!

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Fan's Player of the Season = Jack Tucker

Young Player of the Season = Jack Tucker
Signing of the Season = Jack Evans
Top Goalscorer = Tyreece John-Jules (27 goals in all comps)
Most Assists = Ben Reeves (14 assists in all comps)

My Player of the Season = Tyreece John-Jules
My Young Player of the Season (U23) = Jack Tucker

Most Disappointing Player = John Akinde

Five of our players actually made the Team of the Year in League One!

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And Jack Tucker actually won Player of the Year.

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Tyreece John-Jules was so good this year and that is backed up by the fact he topped the tables for most dribbles per 90 minutes, most shots per 90 minutes and most goals per 90 minutes! What an attacking force this kid is!

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On a personal front, I lifted the Manager of the Year award!

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No complaints with our best eleven.

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Our first piece of transfer business saw right back Robbie McKenzie leave the club. He wanted a new contract with a guaranteed starting place and a pay rise I wasn't willing to give. So I moved him on and Ipswich were happy to pay £250,000 to sign him.

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Which meant he needed replacing. I forked out £140,000 to bring Liam Shephard in from Salford City. He jumps two divisions but I reckon he'll be able to handle it and we've made over £100k on a right back exchange at the start of the window.

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Next in through the door is 19 year old central midfielder, Harvey White, who joins on loan from Tottenham for the upcoming season!

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Another player that was demanding a new contract and higher status at the club was striker, Vadaine Oliver. He only managed 7 league goals for us last season, so there was no way I was caving to his demands and he leaves for Dundee United in a deal worth £48k.

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At that stage, the board decided to present me with their expectations for the upcoming season. Seems reasonable.

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I felt that I needed a better goalkeeper for The Championship and Michael Verrips is the man that we will be between the sticks for us as first choice keeper this season after he joined on a free transfer from Sheffield United.

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Tyreece John-Jules completed tore it up for us last year and I'm pleased to announce that we have renewed his loan deal for another season from Arsenal.

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I desperately needed a striker that I thought could get us the goals at this level and the man I'm hoping can lead the line for us this season is Preston's Emil Riis. He joins on loan for the season but at a cost as we'll be covering 90% of his £10k per week wages! I hope he proves worth it!

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Improvements to the youth recruitment and junior coaching can only be promising for the future of the club.

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I felt like I still needed to bolster the attacking options in the squad and this young Belgian will do just that! Gabriel Lemoine joins on loan from Bordeaux for the season and will challenge Emil Riis for his place up front.

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One area I definitely needed cover for was left back and that was resolved with the loan signing of Leif Davis from Leeds. He'll be with us for the season.

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Pre season went well with a win over Rangers being the highlight.

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And with the league campaign about to kick off, it's no surprise at all for us to be predicted to finish bottom of the pile and the it's not even going to be close as far as the bookies are concerned!

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Our first game of the Championship season was away at the title favourites, West Brom! And what a statement this sends out to the rest of the league that we're not here to just make up the numbers this year!

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And we followed that up with a convincing display against Swansea! Two wins from our opening two games is a dream start I couldn't have imagined in my wildest dreams.

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Millwall brought us back down to earth with a bump though as they inflict defeat on us for the first time this season.

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And we were disappointing in the Carabao Cup as we crash at the first hurdle against lower league opposition.

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I demanded a reaction back in the league and the boys delivered with a much more dominant performance at Barnsley and we chalk up another 3 points early doors!

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Only one area of the pitch had no viable cover and that was David Tutonda's role at left back. Leif Davis arrives on loan from Leeds for the season to rectify that!

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Although he didn't have the best of debuts as we were beaten by Luton at home!

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Two draws round off our first month of Championship football.

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Which means we finish August in 7th place after a decent start.

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Looking at the wage expenditure in the Championship, it was no surprise to see us bottom of the table spending over £20k per week less than our nearest rival!

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September was a quiet month with only 3 games played, with some mixed results. We're still holding our own for now though at this higher level.

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And Harvey White picked up the young player of the month award.

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We really upped our game over the next 3 matches and recorded 3 straight wins with two clean sheets as well. Some really impressive stuff here, good football, plenty of goals and the fans are getting excited!

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Although they were quickly hit with a dose of harsh reality as we were outclassed by a Palace side that were relegated from the top tier last season.

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My own personal success is starting to draw attention as Swansea come knocking at my door and invite me to interview for their vacant manager's position.

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I wanted to see a reaction from my lads against Watford, and boy did I get it. They showed incredible character as we came back from a goal down twice, before a late winner ensured we took all 3 points from the game!

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It wasn't all good news though as we lost Ryan Jackson to injury for the next 4 months! He may have only played 6 games at right back this season so far, but he provides valuable cover and his injury means I only have one natural right back in the squad!

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In our next two games, we were well under par against Sheffield Wednesday before being unlucky not to win against Birmingham after dominating them for most of the game!

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Which leaves us in 5th place after 17 games and we continue to hugely overachieve so far this season! Don't get me wrong, I don't think we'll be in the playoff spots come the end of the season, but a top half finish could certainly be a realistic target from here!

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A fantastic away win at Brentford is the tip of the iceberg so far this season and enough to convince the board to give me a new contract.

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We made it back to back 1-0 wins as we beat Forest. The stats suggest we should have won by a bigger margin, but a win's a win!

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Our next 4 games threw up a mixed bag of results in some entertaining games that offered plenty of goals!

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Which takes us to the half way stage of the season and we sit 2nd in the table. An incredible achievement so far and something I never expected at the start of the campaign!

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A massive win against an underperforming West Brom side was followed up by an absolute goal fest at Swansea. Our form continues to take twists and turns but we continue to hold our own against some big sides in this division.

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Tyreece John-Jules has been in fine form over the course of December and it was enough for the Arsenal loanee to pick up the Young Player of the Month award.

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As we turned into the year 2022, a New Year's Day clash with Preston in the FA Cup loomed. I'll be honest...this competition is of absolutely no interest to me whatsoever this season, with my focus entirely on the league campaign. Therefore, I rested most of the first choice 11 and still we very nearly managed to at least take the game to a replay. I'm pleased we didn't though and it was actually a relief when they scored their 93rd minute winner.

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With the New Year also came the new January transfer window and my latest addition to the squad is another youngster on loan from Arsenal. Batista Mendy will play my defensive midfield role and will likely slot straight in as first choice in that position.

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Whilst I also bolstered our attacking options with the loan signing of attacking midfielder, Meritan Shabani, from Wolves for the rest of the campaign.

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Both players went straight into the starting lineup against Millwall, and both got themselves on the scoresheet as they made an immediate impact!

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We remain 2nd in the Championship with 20 games to go. Palace look like they'll be hard to catch this year and with plenty of teams breathing down our necks, we'll have to keep our wits about us if we are going to keep up this surprise promotion challenge.

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