The season so far

Også Michael Pantling har blitt positivt overrasket over vår sesongstart.

MENINGER: I have been pleasantly surprised by our season so far, whilst it is always good to be top it does mean that we have set ourselves up as the ones to beat. A visit to Fratton is a “big day out” for many teams and they are trying that bit harder to beat us. Our biggest success has been our away form – I was particularly impressed with the result at Peterborough when we out played a very good team. Our performance at Bradford was workmanlike but missing the killer instinct – they were very unlucky not to steal a draw in the last minutes.

LES OGSÅ: Winning from the wings

Our performances have typically been robust particularly in defence but often less than inspiring in attack. The football has clearly been effective but not necessarily pretty to watch.

Foretrekker Whatmough framfor Burgess

The introduction of McGillivray, Naylor and Brown has clearly had a positive outcome. I also agree with playing Wathmough (bildet til høyre) in preference to Burgess, as long as his knees hold out. Clarke just gets better and better – I hope we do not lose him in the January window. Of the loanees Ben Thompson has had the most playing time and influence particularly when he is allowed to play in a more forward role. It would be good to keep him but I cannot see Millwall letting him go. I have always been a fan of Evans and he has matured into a fine player and a big influence in our success. Our two wide players Lowe and Curtis continue to impress and are causing opposition teams many problems with their speed and skill. Hawkins has been getting goals recently and must be doing something right but he looks cumbersome and isn’t particularly quick.

Kenny Jacket has made his preferences clear in terms of team selection and stability can only be a good thing. The downside is that this is keeping talented players on the bench if they get that far and it must be difficult to keep them motivated. I don’t know what has happened to Pitman so far this season, whenever I have seen him this season he seems to have lost the flair he showed last season. If somebody were to offer sensible money for him in January it could see him going elsewhere. Close has done reasonably well when he has played he is good at tidying up the midfield and is getting stronger in tackles but there isn’t space for him and Ben Thompson in similar roles – Thompson edges it for me.

I can see Sunderland are breathing down our necks now and will no doubt overtake us with their game in hand. Others have fallen away with the exception of Barnsley. I’m optimistic of a play-off place if not automatic promotion but there is still a very long way to go.

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