Tuesday, 19 February 2013

It's a real scramble for points now

Simon Francis admitted this week that "it is a tight at league" this season. When you have eight clubs that are split by just eight points, between these sides after 31 to 33 matches played, you know it's a tight fight for promotion. But is that a good thing? Is our league a strong league or does it mean that sides are too inconsistent and prone to defensive mistakes? Should we blaming the managers or the players or are there other reasons for the league looking the way it does at the moment?

If you look at the managerial changes in the division it is quite worrying how many teams have changed their managers in the last 12-18 months, but many of them seem to have been for the better. Yes, you can say Eddie Howe and Bournemouth are the clear winners in this respect, but you have to say men that know there club inside out are the ones that are heading up the league this year. Roonnie More at Tranmere who only returned to the club last March for his third go at the job. Yeovil too went back to a tried and trusted solution in Gary Johnson who returned last January to help out Terry Skiverton. Of course changes haven't worked for every club immediately when you look at Colchester, Portsmouth (perhaps a special case any way) and Scunthorpe, I expect you could name some others as well. Be warned Swindon Town - oh, too late.

Many of the clubs that were leading the way before the Christmas period have also dropped their form or rather others have stepped up their level. Those that have drifted include MK Dons, Stevenage, Notts County and Crawley but they are not so far to be out of the play-off places by the end of the season in my opinion. We are not quite at the run-in stage but a series of wins in February and March could still make the table look very different heading into April. The bottom teams will also be fighting for their lives so there are going to be one or two strange results to come.

I don't see this as a weakness that so many teams are still in with a chance of having something to play for well into the final part of the season. It means our league is very competitive and perhaps harder to get out of at the top than many would have imagined at the start in August. We haven't heard the much often quoted "It's a marathon, not a sprint" quote pulled out yet, but it will be used by at least one manager who tries to steady their ship after a series of defeats before we reach the last crucial games. The runners are preparing to enter the final few laps but someone will make a break that will split the leading pack. Let's just hope that AFCB are either making the move or have it covered.

If you are clever enough to know which three clubs are going to be promoted this year you have the chance to vote in the Cherry Chimes poll - over there on the side bar. I might just change my mind a few more times before AFCB go to visit Tranmere - well, you can't blame me for that can you?

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