When a team looks at its position in the league around January, it usually means a few things:
Too far off play offs and promotion = Consolidate.
Too near the bottom = Strengthen and survive.
Near play offs or in promotion places = Invest and drive forward.
I am delighted that in early January, I was given the best choice of all, to invest and drive the club forward. The team led by Russ and his fellow coaches have delivered an opportunity for the club to get promoted and I will do all I can to support them in doing just that.
All our business was done early so we could integrate any new players and maintain the rhythm we had, a rhythm that has seen the team remain unbeaten since November. Russ has made mistakes, he will be the first to state that, The players have made mistakes and when they do, they hold their hands up and admit it, I have made mistakes, in fact we all do. What we have though is a tremendous spirit in the side, a spirit that will not get beat and a determination to give as best they can in every game.
We have to ensure we enjoy being in this position and not fear it, or we will not achieve our targets and the most important target is promotion.
The Portsmouth game gave me and you, the fans, a glimpse of what we can do, but as our season in this division has proved to us, no team gives up and the disappointment of the two draws subsequently shows we have to be more ruthless and show a little more strength in the later parts of games. I was pleased that after the Newport game there were no injuries, that was a must, as it was an awful pitch to play on and just a couple of bad knocks to key players, could have had us struggling.
My target has always been promotion and ideally in the top 3. I am not bothered where we finish in that 3, as at the beginning of the season I set a target of 3rd place and promotion. We have begun to realise that we have that opportunity now and every point dropped, hurts, so we have to be honest with ourselves and say perhaps we just haven't been good at killing teams off after being in good positions. That is however a trait in this division and all the teams are doing exactly the same, with most winning and losing and ourselves winning and drawing.
I can understand the frustration, I can understand the nervousness but with your support this team will get the job done and lead us into League One.
9 wins, 9 draws is an amazing return from a new manager, beginning to find his way as a number 1 and a team that have bounced back from early season disappointment.
We are all in this together and we have to keep the faith, no matter how it stretches us at times!
I hope that if you have a question or two, you will join me at the Southend game for a bite to eat and a chat in the Legends lounge.
Up the Iron