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English Franchise League Season 2015/16


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Tempting fate Smithstock!

7 clean sheets out of the last 8, 7 points from 9 against top 6 rivals... things are certainly looking good at the moment. I'm interested to see how we do against Brighton though. It's a huge 6 pointer at this stage of the season already. Certainly, away from home a draw would be no bad result.

Are we really in for Bamford again? I would like to see us score more goals - 1-0s like tonight can easily turn into 1-1s and be the undoing of a top 2 finish come the end of the season - but equally I wouldn't want to upset anything in the team.

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Yeah apparently so.

We've lost 30 goals from Bamford, Tomlin and Vossen - I'm still not convinced we've replaced them well.

- Fabbrini is ball greedy and unpredictable

- Downing is underperforming

- Nugent spends most of his time linking up with midfield

We need someone to come in and just finish teams off, the amount of times I've seen us pin opponents back in their own half for long spells without scoring is unbelievable. I'm not sure who else is available that is on par or better than Bamford.

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I've not seen yesterday's yet, but we've been doing bits and pieces of that throughout. We're getting points, but we're not doing it by more than a single goal most games, we've had to do a lot of coming from behind too. Part of the reason I don't want us to go up.

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Top of the league and another incredible defensive display along with 3 good goals.

Outside of Hull, who is going to put more than one past us? Our backline is incredible, Dimi is a stalwart even at 39 and Clayton is the best central midfielder in the division.

This league is ours to lose now, we need to strengthen in January and start pulling away from the pack.

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Well we won the second half 2-1 at least. First half sounded horrific, I don't think we even had an attempt on goal. Whitehead's been a huge miss for us and he's not expected to be back for a couple of months yet.

Thank fuck it's nearly January because after our summer business a few are certainly needed.

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Ack - frustrating day at Portman Road yesterday. Ultimately, I didn't think we played that badly- I thought it was a better game than the stats presumably show (from memory I'd say both teams only had two shots) but Derby had a fairly lucky series of deflections and they score one of theirs (there's talk of it being marginally offside too but it didn't look it at the time so it must have been close). On the plus side - Fraser came on second half and he looks bloody good, he's the real deal and Bournemouth should do all they can to keep him. Sears looked very good as well - generally I've thought him playing on the left has been out of necessity rather than an actual tactic (both because Fraser has been injured and also he's too good not to have in the team) but he was far more of a threat going forward than Maitland-Niles was.

Derby brought about 1,300 so fair play to them, but they were the quietest fans we've had this season - didn't hear a peep from them until they scored, then for some sarcastic singing at the attendance and then at the end. Cardiff were louder and they had about 200. They've got a lot of quality through the team but they're very unlikable - a lot of big lads leading with elbows, niggly fouls etc and then throwing themselves on the floor at the slightest touch. But ultimately they're probably going up so what do they care about my salty moaning. Them and Middlesborough are probably the most solid teams we've had down here - neither of them look as good as Norwich or Bournemouth did last year (although I didn't think Bournemouth played well against Ipswich in either game last season) but they're both very solid at the back and are going to be hard for any team to beat.

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From the stats neither keeper had much to do. Disappointing we only got a couple on target though.

Another result that shows we are not going to make the automatic promotion places without significant strengthening in January - and that doesn't look like it's on the cards.

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Bedlam at Fortress Portman Road today - in all honesty it wasn't a great game.

But fuck that, I'm full of Christmas food and Christmas booze and we won and it was brilliant. Someone let off a blue smoke flare in the second half and when we equalised someone a couple of seats down from me broke his seat and was parading about carrying his seat back above his head. It was all a bizarre Waitrose version of hooliganism.

Their goal was terrible defending but equally so were both of ours - we ended up playing 4-4-2 with Murphy and Sears up front, and Fraser, Douglas, Skuse and Oar in Midfield and I wouldn't be surprised if we end up with something like that moving forward, exchanging Maitland Niles and Oar as required, and bringing in Pitman as an impact sub or something (which is a pity as I think Pitman has been our best player this season and probably our most creative player but ultimately he's probably less of a threat than Murphy and Sears).

QPR didn't bring many given it was Boxing Day and pretty close, but equally the trains were on the blink and we were probably charging them £40 a ticket.

Merry Christmas Championship fans - here's to another half season of hoofing it, mis-controlling it into touch and crushing disappointment.

Best league in the world.

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