FM Saddler's Managerial Journey

FMSaddler96

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Feb 10, 2016
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Right guys unfortunately this will probably be my last post for a week or two whilst I am busy. I may get a bit of time to upload a couple of bits but I can't see myself getting the chance to give proper updates. I will still look to reply to any comments though so feel free to continue to leave feedback.

So with the season underway we had 5 tough league games and a couple of tough league cup ties to go through. In reality I didn't expect anything from the 5 league games and when the draw for the league cup 2nd round was made I had given up on advancing in that too.

But let's take a look at how we did...
View attachment 131884Not all too bad! We went through the first two games previously but I just thought I'd give a quick overview of them again. Away to recently relegated Boro I expected nothing but when we went 3-0 up before the 20 minute mark I had hopes of adding more as we were dominant. The Southend tie wasn't easy as they took the lead and defended well on for Bradshaw and Morris to get goals in the final 30 minutes.

But from then on is where it got more interesting. We hosted the Blues and deserved a point but Maghoma scored a screamer for them in the final minute to leave us without anything. Travelling to Turf Moor next I wasn't hopeful but we stood stubborn at the back and Curtis Main got an all important winner late on.

We then went to back to back defeats. Brighton had struggled early on in the league but controlled the tie with us struggling to get any chances whilst they created everything going forward. We did quite well to stay in the game for so long before a late goal sealed the Brighton win.

Then was the league cup tie against Leicester. The Foxes had finished 8th in the previous two campaigns but had built a squad which would build on that this season. We actually played fantastically but they just took their only 3 chances whilst we lacked clinical finishing.

Finally was the most bizzare win I have ever experienced. After going 1-0 down to 2nd place Huddersfield Kieron Morris scored his 6th goal of the season to equalise. It looked to be heading for a draw until the Huddersfield keeper got injured with 5 minutes left and we then took control and just took a shot whenever possible. Their back 4 basically sat on the line but when Morris had a shot blocked the ball came back to Mantom who drilled it home to get all 3 points.

View attachment 131883So after 5 games that leaves us in a fantastic position! I never expected to get a point from the opening 5 but we managed to get 3 wins from 5. I am a bit disappointed that we lost 2 of our 3 home games but on the other hand we won both of our away games.

Looking at what is needed for survival from previous years I have set a goal of 45 points meaning we need 36 points from 41 games. Realistically I think we should aim for 5 points every 5 games as that gets us 40 points over the rest of the season and gives us 49 points. I don't think this is too hard to achieve and should we do that over the season I can start looking ahead to next season.

Once again though injuries have been troublesome over early days. Bradshaw got injured against Burnley and will be out for about another 2 months. Jamie Allen also got a big injury in our opener against Middlesbrough and is only just returning to fitness. Also Kieron Morris took a knock which saw him miss the Brighton and Leicester games and he has been key for us so far getting 6 goals in 5 games.

Injuries shouldn't trouble us as much this season as I focused on improving the depth of our team and it seems to have been working so far allowing me to rotate the squad. Allen got a rating of 8.4 in the Boro game but Grant continued from last season and has been superb since.

My only worry is any further knocks Morris gets as he has been superb since I took over. He scores and creates goals from that right wing and after the start he has had I see no reason for him to not be chasing 15 goals on the season.

View attachment 131881There was also one final piece of news. After the third league game, a win against Burnley the board approached me over a new contract and we agreed to a new two year deal which gives me more security in the role.

Also we have handed out new deals to a number of key players including Morris, Demetriou, Mantom, Downing, Sawyers and Bradshaw as I wanted to keep the core of the squad together for the foreseeable future. It has put us over our wage budget by £3.55k but it is important to keep these players tied down and I also managed to get back under the budget previously.

Hadzhiev had been a solid player for me last season but after a strong summer of signings and the emergence of Kinsella as our defensive midfield option I felt we could sell him without worry. So Hadzhiev has joined league 1 Swindon for £140k which is fantastic as it also cleared his £3300 wage off of the bill.

As well as this we have loaned out a ton of players. The most notable are Flanagan to Swindon, Tom Hopper to Leyton Orient, Matt Preston to Shrewsbury, Luke Amos to Carlisle and Pau to Northampton. There has been a total of 25 players go out on loan though, most for the season, and more impressively 8 of those are to league 1 or 2 teams showing the strength of our youth system and our depth.
 

FMSaddler96

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Feb 10, 2016
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So it's been a while since my last post and because of being busy I didn't get to play much at all but here is the update of what I did play over the last week...

View attachment 130381Yeah we had 3 wins from 5 league games when we last met and were flying high but it has been much the opposite since with 5 losses in 6. The Peterborough loss was a well fought battle which they got lucky with a deflected goal for the winner.

We really deserved a point against Hull but again their winning goal took a deflection on it's way in. Sheffield Wednesday was frustrating as it was 0-0 with 85 minutes and they were a man down, I switched to attacking my team forgot how to play football...

Sunderland were the better team but didn't get their goal until the final 10 minutes when we were absolutely knackered. Cardiff were expecting 3 points but goals from Grant and Morris (who now has 8!) early on were enough to see us past the Welsh side.

Finally we hosted Ipswich in a game I wanted to win but similar to the first 2 we dominated the game but somehow didn't get the goals whilst the visitors struck lucky with their two shots on goal.

View attachment 1303806 games ago we were 7th and challenging for a play-off spot but 3 points from 6 games has seen us drop dramatically to 19th. This is the end of the table I expected to be at anyway so I am not surprised by our position at this stage.

However we do need to improve on a few aspects. The final 10 minutes of halves seem to be a struggle defensively and I need to find a way to combat this if possible.

But the main two problems are as follows...

Firstly, goals. 6 players have scored goals this season for us. Morris has 8, the rest of the squad have 6. We aren't spreading the goals around well enough and our strikers are giving us the goals we need. I have no doubt that getting Bradshaw (who is out for up to 3 weeks) back will help but in the mean time we need to find a tactic that utilises our attacking strength.

Secondly is our home form. 6 league home games and 1 win. It isn't good enough, it does mean we have 3 wins in 5 away but if we can balance the form out we can easily survive but teams seem to be hurting us at home no matter how we play.

 

FMSaddler96

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Feb 10, 2016
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View attachment 130379
So here is my attempted fix for home games. One of the problems before was utilising Sawyers who is one of our best players but he is injured for 3 months. We are going to play an extra defender and then utilise the wide players going forward.

It's similar to the 4-2-3-1 tactic in terms of it's instructions but we have the extra man back to help defend the counter which will be useful. Also as great as Main has been since Bradshaw's injury he isn't getting goals, he will be useful off of the bench to help defend leads and do a lot of running up front late but when we are at home we don't need a striker of his style.

So in comes Seager. He will look to find last seasons form and hopefully will be able to. He will get his supply from wide and look to get the goals as a poacher. I feel like this gives us the cover we need defensively with attacking full backs but also doesn't lose any of our threat going forward.

Hopefully it will work. We travel to Derby next who are 17th before facing 5th placed Wigan at home which is when it will be tested...


 

FMSaddler96

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Feb 10, 2016
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2 more games, a fix for the home form and a struggle away.... the struggles of management

View attachment 130337
We stuck to our usual methods for the first 70 minutes against Derby and went 4-2 down. For the last 20 minutes we switched to the new system but Derby sat back and defended their lead well. We had chances throughout but weren't as clinical as the hosts.

The Wigan game was much better. Clinical finishing, quick attacking and hurting teams down the wing. Seager was set up brilliantly twice by Grant as well as setting Allen up. Wigan created chances but the extra cover at the back was enough to get all 3 points against a top 5 team.

View attachment 130335
The games didn't change the table much. We still sit 3 points from relegation and we still are inconsistent. If only we could've recorded a couple of draws instead of losses and we'd be safely mid table. I'm hoping that I can continue to make the home formula work and also find a way to correct the now apparent away struggles (1 win in 5 away games in all competitions).
 

FMSaddler96

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Feb 10, 2016
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Sorry for the lack of posts over the last couple of weeks, been very busy so not had a chance to play the save let alone upload. Hoping to start playing through again from now and have the chance to upload soon. Really enjoying this save, even with the struggles to start this season so looking forward to continuing it.

Hoping people are still going to read it, if people are enjoying the save let me know so I know whether it's worth continuing with updates or not.
 

FMSaddler96

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Feb 10, 2016
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So off the back of a win against Wigan we had 3 tough games coming up. We start with table toppers Blackburn away before hosting play-off side Leeds. Then comes the big derby game against Wolves, a game which means a lot to win but also could dictate whether my job stays secure or not.

So how did we do...
View attachment 128363
The Blackburn game was dreadful. 3-1 down at half time we were a class apart and walked all over. We showed signs of life thanks to goals from Grant and Morris which brought it back to 3-2 but Blackburn turned it on in the final half an hour to get the 5-2 win.

Leeds were another tough opposition but we didn't help ourselves out as we looked to get the win. A minute in Harriot got our goal and we looked to capitalise on the quick start but Leeds stood firm at the back. 24 minutes in they got the equaliser but in the final 15 minutes we looked likely to get a winner but Tom Flanagan got sent off leaving us with no other option but to defend the point.

The final game was massive. I didn't know how to play it but just went for what I know best and Wolves didn't know how to handle it early on as goals from Morris and Seager gave us a 2-0 lead 9 minutes in. From that point Wolves showed signs of life and got one back 19 minutes in but we were superb defensively and looked more likely to score for the rest of the game.

View attachment 128362And there is the bottom half of the table. Still 3 points clear it doesn't look too bad but it worries me at the size of some of the teams around us. Derby, Middlesbrough, Burnley, Wolves, Sheffield Wednesday, Ipswich and Birmingham are all good sides who have started poorly so if they get things going we could struggle.

Also we have a tough run of games coming up. 5 of our next 6 games are against top half teams. My hope is we can continue to get shock results such as the 3-0 win against Wigan which have seen us do this well so far. My only other worry is the lack of draws, when we are winning it is fine but we turn 3 of those 9 losses into a point and we would be sitting 6 points clear in at least 12th place.

 

FMSaddler96

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Feb 10, 2016
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I've just thought that throughout these updates I've never really outlines my ideas, the way I play and what I want to achieve in this save. There has been a lot of following the seasons but not much in terms of how I play. So here goes...

View attachment 128360

Youth
One of my main aims is to bring in youth and use the youth system to develop players for the first team. Walsall in real life are a club who like to bring through youth players. This season Kouhyar and Cockerill-Mollet have come through and last year it was Flanagan, Preston and Rico.

I want to continue to follow this. It's something I believe should happen in football and it is something I want to impose in this save. I have been signing young players whenever such as Pau but the key is giving them playing time and I have just realised that during the 2 and a half years so far I have had 95 loan moves out of the club which is exactly what I want. I currently have 29 players out on loan to develop and a lot of them could come back and slot into the team such as Tom Hopper and Rasulo.

Bargain Hunting

I don't like spending money. In real life, on the game I don't like it.

So one of my aims on the save is to make sure I focus on finding cheap players with a lot of quality. It's something I have always done on football manager. I have been playing the game for 2 years and my record signing is £12m...

So far on this save I have spent £2.2m whilst making £2m on transfer fees so I feel I've been doing good business. I want to see the finances of the club stay well and this will be shown in signings. In real life we tend to sign players cheap and end up losing them cheap. I want to sign cheap and if teams want to buy then they will have to offer top money cause I am not selling cheap.

My Tactics

I know I have done a few posts about my tactics but I have my ideal tactics and what I play to get results. Ideally I get to play the 4-2-3-1 that got us promoted. Attacking flowing football with goals coming from across the pitch.

This season I know I won't be able to play that much. There will be a lot of counter attacking football using the space and quality we have down the wings to get the goals. Ideally I can get to a point where I am happy with our position and willing to use my favoured tactic.

Short Term Plan

I think this is obvious really, survive. We need to survive. Enjoy the money of this level and move forward as a club. We are developing the youth, the facilities and even buying our own ground so we can push forward from this season and move upwards.

Long Term Plan

After hopefully surviving the year I aim to hit a 5 year plan. The 2018/19 season will be year 1 of this and the aim is to get mid-table in the Championship. It doesn't sound like much but with the aim to survive this year it's the aim to make sure we can become a real quality team in the division.

Years 2 and 3 are to firstly aim to challenge for the top 6 then to get top 6. This point is where we should be coming very close to being one of the top teams. If we can do so then it sets us up for year 4, where I expect promotion.

After 3 years of building I fully expect us to have the quality and the facilities to be able to be a top team in the division and win promotion. I don't care whether it is through automatic or the play-off's but we just need to get the promotion to the top flight.

Obviously year 5 is then to survive in the top flight.

It is all very ambitious, and arguably unrealistic when you look at the club in real life and what I have to work with in game. At the moment we have a quality squad and that's why I am confident of surviving but in 4 years time I would hope to have the quality which gives us promotion and have the set up to push us into one of the top teams in the 2nd tier.

P.S. Sorry about the long text post but thought I would outline the aims and style before moving into the heavy part of the season.

 

FMSaddler96

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Feb 10, 2016
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If you'd said to me at the end of my first season I'd be playing Swansea and Bournemouth in two years time I wouldn't have believed you.

View attachment 128154So to get 4 points in the two games against them was fantastic.

Overall it was a good 4 games. Swansea couldn't deal with us on the break and we were unlucky not to get a winner after Kieron Morris got our first goal. In a busy 13 minutes we then lost to play-off side Fulham. After going 1-0 down 5 minutes in Morris equalised 7 minutes in but a deadly corner saw the visitors equalise.

Then came Bournemouth. Just relegated from the Premier League, battling for the top 2 spots I expected nothing. So when Seager got a brace to give us the 2-0 win I was shocked. We controlled the entire game and Bournemouth never looked threatening so it was a fantastic performance.

We then backed that up with a collapse against Bristol City. 1-0 up 3 minutes in we somehow conceded 2 goals from free kicks in a 5 minute period. We didn't look to threaten until late on but an injury to Seager definitely didn't help.

View attachment 128152So that's how the table looks. We still sit outside the relegation places by 3 points but I am still worried by the quality below us. Huddersfield, Derby and Wolves have just sacked their managers so the new boss could come in and work wonders leaving us in a terrible position.

My main worry is up front. Morris is still superb on the right hand side and is the 2nd top scorer in the league with 11 goals (12 in all competitions). However Seager, Main, Cullen and Bradshaw have just 9 goals between them on the season, with Seager getting 7 of those.

Bradshaw hasn't been the same player since last seasons injury crisis and looks to be lacking in front of goal. Seager is deadly and clinical but Bradshaw seems to always be a step behind when provided with the chances. I still have faith in him to bounce back and this is his chance with Seager sidelined for 3 weeks.

We have 5 huge games before hitting new year. We start with 18th placed Gillingham away in our next game, something which for me is a must not lose. We then travel to 6th placed Reading, with our record against higher up teams this season I'm confident of pulling a result out the bag.

We then host 14th Millwall and 15th Middlesbrough, two games I think we should get points from and hopefully not only pull away from the bottom 3 but also drag them back into it. But then is the huge game. 23rd placed Birmingham away, a result for them could put us in serious trouble and pull them closer to safety.

 

FMSaddler96

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Feb 10, 2016
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So it's been a while, over a month to be exact, but I have still been playing through the save just with university back on it's been a very busy and hectic month so not really had a chance to update anything on here. I'm going to be posting an update to where I am soon to catch up to where I am. I have played the season through and began the next season so there is a lot to go through.

As always if people are still reading this and have been waiting for the update then let me know, will continue to do updates if I know people are reading I will put more effort into making updates.
 

FMSaddler96

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Season 3 Update
So as I've explained with life being busy and little time to update I've played through a lot but failed to keep everyone updated but this update will bring you level. So the first screenshot here is going to explain the 20 games from the last update, you saw the first 20 so I feel it's the best way to do it.

View attachment 124733So as you can see it was a very rocky set of fixtures with a lack of consistency. We were doing well but the consistency stopped us from ever pulling away from the relegation pack so when we went on a 8 games winless streak at the end of this we dropped back into deep trouble.

The main issue is that our strikers and back 4 were inconsistent. There were many games where we would score but our backline would be poor and vice versa. We did suffer a lot of injuries which didn't help but it can't really be used as an excuse with the quality we had available in the squad.

View attachment 124732So with poor form heading into the final 6 and us sitting just a couple of points off of the bottom 3 I didn't expect survival. Especially when you looked at our fixtures. Swansea and Bournemouth were battling it out for the title, Gillingham were fighting for survival and then our final 3 fixtures saw teams fighting for play-off places.

However we were unstoppable. The win against Swansea pumped confidence into the side before back to back draws made it a very nervy final 3 games but 3 big wins saw us end on a high.

But the question of the table was still lingering. Other teams around us found some form in their final games but this is how it ended....

View attachment 124731WE SURVIVED!!!

Against all odds I kept us up but also guided us to a 13th placed finish. We were struggling heading into the final 6 but those results saw us rocket up the table and also much to my delight finish above local rivals Wolves.

Once again Ryan Seager was superb in front of goal with 17 goals in 33 appearances however the obvious player of the season was Kieron Morris. 19 goals and 6 assists for the right winger was superb and he was a key reason in survival as he provided an early spark and a late charge in the team.

Overall I think our midfield was why we survived. Like I said the forwards and back line were poor and if it wasn't for a midfield 5 being consistent we wouldn't have survived.
 

FMSaddler96

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View attachment 124730

So there it is, we survived despite being favourites to go down. It wasn't easy and honestly going into that final run in I was expecting to drop but we were superb in our final 6. Heading into the summer there were a lot of issues and topics to discuss so that's what I'm going to do in this post before going into the details of our 4th season, the 2nd in the Championship....

Players wanting out...
So firstly, you survive, finish mid-table and players think they can do better than the club who are expected to get relegated again next season. I had around 10 players come to me asking to leave including Evina, Downing, Sawyers, Morris and Demetriou.

They were all key players in the survival season and Morris is a player who I would do anything to keep. Evina at left back is replaceable but at the same time he has been so superb for us I would be reluctant to sell. The other 3 I feel like they could be replaced as well and are less important with options already at the club.

Midfield Maestros
As I mentioned our midfield is why we survived. Grant and Allen made the 2 central spots there own and had an average rating of 7.36 and 7.67 respectively. They both pushed captain Mantom out of the side with their quality but even Mantom wasn't poor with a 6.97 average rating.

In front of them there was Morris, Sawyers and Harriot who were the main starters with Burke and Forde failing to impress and Rasulo out on loan. We already know about Morris's season (19 goals and 6 assists) but the other two were also key.

Sawyers when available was key. He was everpresent in those final 6 and he provided the flair behind the striker which saw us get the goals. An average rating of 6.97 and 2 assists doesn't sound too impressive but he gave the striker more space.

Harriott was key to our promotion season and this season he was again. An average rating of 7.00 as well as 8 goals and 8 assists he was key down the left hand side. With Morris coming in on the right he was more of an out and out winger and provided a lot of key assists as well as cleaning up chances and poaching some goals.

Strikers conundrums

Ryan Seager: 17 goals, 3 assists in 33 games
Tom Bradshaw: 6 goals, 2 assists in 13 games
Curtis Main: 3 goals, 1 assist in 27 games

Our reliance on Seager and a prolific Bradshaw continued and when they weren't fit we had issues scoring as proven by Main's poor record. Going into our second Championship season it is clear we need to bring in some more striking options.

Main looked a good option when signed but he didn't meet expectations and whilst Bradshaw is still a clinical finisher it is hard to rely on him when he misses so many games. So the reliance falls on Seager who can only return on loan season on season and when Southampton see him as good enough for the premier league, which he can't be far off, then we are stuck in a hole. I hope that we can bring him back for one more season as he is a fantastic option to have when we can but I want to make sure we don't rely on him.

What's happening at the club?
So just a general update. We have finished the purchase of the ground and this has affected our budgets going into my 4th season. We have a massively increased wage budget but any transfers in will rely on the sale of players as we are given just £70k. As I say we have received about an extra £50k in wage budget so I will be looking to continue my trend of signing freebies.


 

FMSaddler96

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Outgoing Transfers
23 released players, 5 sold and 18 players gone out on loan. As always it's been a busy outgoing window for us as we look to improve the squad and keep the youth talent coming through.

View attachment 124728As I said 23 players were released but this is the list of players who I wasn't sure about or tried to keep. Starting from the bottom Kyle Rowley and Jordan Murphy were two players who could still have made the team but with the incoming wave of youngsters I didn't see the need in keeping them.

Then was a triple CB release of Jones, Maghoma and Preston. Preston is probably good enough to be a backup but again, we have depth there and he wasn't needed. Jones and Maghoma were developing well, but there were other youngsters who were doing better.

Tom Hopper was someone who I signed for his potential but out on loan he failed to impress and didn't make the mark I hoped that would bring him back into the first team and with Harriott in his place I didn't see him as necessary. MacGillivray is much the same; he went out on loan since slipping down the ranks and failed to impress.

Liam Kinsella is the one I was annoyed about. A fantastic player who could play RB or CDM and with his contract coming to an end I offered him a deal several times but he never accepted due to being unhappy. It's a player I would have liked to have kept but he also won't be missed too much.

View attachment 124727So 5 players left for fees. Firstly was Gazo. He was superb for us in our promotion season but with Kinsella stepping into the defensive midfielder role when needed and Mantom, Grant and Allen all miles ahead I took the money and moved him on.

Flanagan is a player I was sad to sell. He was superb in the promotion year and last season he didn't feature much but in those final 6 games he came in due to injuries and was superb. However we improved our backline and there was no space for him so again, I took the money.

Curtis Main. A disappointing season with us and we lose £125k on him. He was a player I expected to do well but he never found his stride for us so when Gillingham came in with the £200k I took it knowing fully well that he wouldn't be featuring this season.

Graham Burke is similar. We took a huge loss of £300k after a year and whilst he wasn't poor for us he never made the impact I expected and with new talents coming in he wasn't worth keeping. He heads off to new championship side Luton who will look to use his skills more often than we did.

Finally was a late one. Cedric Evina to Sheffield Wednesday. As I said I didn't want to lose him but he was causing too much hassle in the dressing room and morale was dropping because of it so I took a £750k bid which could rise to £1m. He was fantastic for us and he won't be easy to replace but Archie Edwards could be as good and we did use the money to replace him.
 

FMSaddler96

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Incoming Transfers
13 incoming players. We needed some extra depth and quality and that is exactly what I aimed to bring in. So let's just get into it...

View attachment 124725George Armstrong is a player I signed to be in the youth system but when he arrived I couldn't do that so he will be on the bench a lot and possibly even start. Released by Chelsea he was a must sign and you look at his mentals he is fantastic for 19 years old. He still has time to develop technically so he will be a superb player.

View attachment 124724We signed a player from Real Madrid. Admittedly it was a free transfer, from their B team but it still counts! At 22 years old he still has a chance to develop and he will be backup to Etheridge but he could easily start. Again he needs to develop some areas but he is a good signing for free.

View attachment 124723I would say Dewsnip is the only signing made purely for potential. The right wingers is great physically and okay technically so with time to develop the 19 year old released by Manchester United could become a key player. He will spend the season out on loan to start though.

View attachment 124722The reason I said goodbye to Flanagan. He is basically a slightly better version of Flanagan and with another signing plus Husing still available he is going to be a rotation player mostly. He is a good player but I feel like we have better to start.

View attachment 124721A risky but huge signing for us. Gallagher of course spent a couple of years with us in league 1 and never really impressed but with a year training with the Saints first team he has developed a lot and could be key this season. He will battle out for the starting lone striker role but he is physically superb and his technicals have improves. Still at 22 years old he can develop and for a free transfer there is minimal risk, baring the £12.25k a week we pay him.

View attachment 124720The replacement to Evina was a later signing but I feel he is very much a like for like replacement. Physically he is strong and equally so mentally. He may offer less tehcnically but for a defender I think that's what we need as he may focus more a bit defensively. Holmes-Dennis is the only money signing of the window as we used £88k to bring him in from Burnley.

View attachment 124719Kehinde is a player who was partially signed for potential but also he fills a gap in the squad. With Gazo and Kinsella gone we didn't really have a CDM and I feel with the little we use a CDM Kehinde was a perfect signing. 20 years old he is a good player and also offers a bit of versatility.

View attachment 124718Luca Pecori was signed from Juventus on a free with the idea being to have him as a backup with tons of potential but when he arrived he was better than first thought. He has the key attributes to be a CB but also offers some passing ability on the back line.

View attachment 124717In my opinion our most important signing. He is a very similar style of striker to Seager and if he can replicated Seager's form in the side it allows us to move on from being reliant on Seager. He was 10 goals from 3 starts and 36 sub appearances over the last 2 seasons for Reading so he has shown the ability to get the goals.

View attachment 124716Silva was a bit of an unknown panic buy when we lost Evina. There weren't many other options before I found THD and Silva seemed like a quick fix at backup. We brought him in and he is actually quite good with some potential. At 19 there is a lot of room for improvement and he could see himself come into the team.

View attachment 124715Don't get me wrong Demetriou has been superb but with him being over 30 now we needed the next option to come in and Tafari Moore from Arsenal is that option. He is potentially one of our best players and if he can play to his ability then he could be huge for us as we look to push forward.

View attachment 124714I have no idea how I came across this guy but he comes in from Sociedad B. He is the best backup winger we have had and at just 21 I see no way that this signing could go badly. He is arguably better than both Harriott and Morris but he will start as a backup and have to earn his place. Physically he is superb, he is fantastic in the right technical areas and mentally, he is okay.

View attachment 124713The final one, Tom Walker. I think he has the ability to be a starter. But because of who we have on that left hand side and who we have signed (i.e. Harriott and Thior) it's looking like Walker could be this years Tom Hopper. I would love to say he will get his chance and do a job but he was a very early signing and I feel like he is too far back in the ranks. He will go out on loan and prove himself and then get his chance, I think...
 

FMSaddler96

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Pre-Season
So I've updated you on the previous season and I've gone through the signings that have been made so on we go to the pre-season results.

View attachment 124711So yeah I took the chance to face off against our U18's and U21's and we won both games pretty easily but really they were warm up games where I also got to see our youth. Against the U18's we were 4-0 up at the half thanks to Sawyers, a Morris double and Seager before a 91st minute debut goal from Samuel made it 5.

The U21's was a similar story. 4-0 up at the half thanks to a Grant double, Downing and Rasulo goals. The second half was back and forth and the once forgotten Pau scored 1 for them before Bradshaw reminded us of his clinical finishing to make it 5, again.

Then began our pre-season "tour" (2 games isn't really a tour) of Ireland. I have to admit I had the options of Argentina, Spain, Belgium, France but nope I chose Ireland.

Sligo were actually a good challenge. 2-0 down at half time we turned it on in the second half as Bradshaw got a hat-trick and Gallagher opened his account on his return to the side. We controlled the game to be honest but Sligo were just lethal on the break.

Dundalk caused our only slip up of the pre-season and it did bother me a little but we were only denied the win by some fantastic keeping which caused me to scout their keeper and almost sign him. Kieron Morris made it 1-0 on the brink of the half but they scored a late equaliser.

On our return to England we faced Halifax and got a pretty routine win. Grant, Gallagher and Sawyers continued their fine pre-season form with goals as we walked all over the non-league side.

Then came our affiliate friendlies. Telford provided a good battle but goals from Downing and Rasulo gave us the win. We weren't as dominant as I would've hoped but it was still a good all round performance.

Finally, the pre-season game of the year again. The first time we played the friendly in our 2nd season we lost 2-0, then last season we got a 0-0 draw with them. So the only logical thing to happen was a win! 2-1 against the premier league side and it was a superb performance. Jamie Allen made it 1-0 before Mane, who was Southampton's only hope of a result, equalised. At the half they took Mane off and we took control and it was Pecori who got us the winner as he headed home from a corner.
 
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