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Lessons from Saints win

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1. Our inability to turn up for the opening period of a game is a huge

part of our problems, this and last season. We seem to actually need to

be a goal down before the team starts to play.

At home, we can sometimes get away with it when traditionally the away

team does not come at us hard from the off. But away from home when

teams come at us straight away, it''s very easy to see how we can

virtually have the game lost by half time (e.g. Luton, Coventry).

Of course we''ve known about this starting badly thing for ages but it''s

still at the heart of what''s going wrong in my view. I don''t think you

can blame the manger for it particularly unless he''s telling them to

let the opposition come onto us in the opening period. Which i doubt!

2. Ashton is NOT a target man, not in the way Iwan was. He''s great in

the air when attacking the ball, but not so great at receiving a long

ball. One of the best exponents of that is one P Crouch. He''ll get on

the end of a hoof out of defence, bring it down in a second and lay it

off to a winger or his strike partner.

Which means we have to play it to Ashton''s feet more which we hardly

did once on Saturday. I can quite easily see how he might not hardly

get a sniff in a game if our wing play is cut off. All his goals came

from crosses on Saturday. Ok he did well from them but without playing

it to his feet we are missing out on a huge part of his game. He scored

loads for Crewe because they play the ball to feet.

3. Despite having Huckerby in the side, i thought we severley lacked

pace on saturaday - as a team on the break i mean. We had opportunities to break

quickly but didn''t take them, opting to go sideways instead of

forwards or to play it in the air when a clever ball along the deck

into space would have been better or a surging run from midfield.

4. When Hucks is on the pitch, we spend the whole time camped on the

left. The whole team seems to gravitate towards him. This is not his

fault and it''s a miracle that he manages to carry the immense burden of

the whole team trying to play nearly every move though him as often as

he does. It''s no wonder he was knackered on Saturday after only having

missed less than two games. Personally, for his own sake and not to

burn him out, i still think he makes an awesome super sub. If we play

with wingers to start with, (granted that''s a problem on the right but

MLJ when fit maybe and brennan left), then switch to 4-3-3 when Hucks

comes on, it makes for a mean attacking tactical switch, should it be

needed. We all know what happened when Hucks went back to Man C and we

went int to the next game with a straight 4-4-2 formation... (he scored against the

scum, he scored another one!)

We were good on Satruday, don''t get me wrong, but were a shrewd manager

like a Curbishley or a Coppell sitting in the stands as next manager to

face us, he wouldn''t exactly go back to his club quaking in his boots. Go at

them like a train from the off, and cut off their supply to Huckerby.


Yes, Safri got the assists but they were from free kicks or corners won by... you know who.If we are to build on Saturday we need more variety in our play and to take some of the burden off Hucks.

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hucks looks a super sub when he comes on because he creates chances - but he does that anyway.  what the point having brennan on for 75 mins (who isn''t a winger) and has 30% of hucks creative ability - only then to bring hucks on anyway?hucks complained of being tired a few games ago, but imo he''s been carrying a niggle, and perhaps isn''t quite right yet, because he still looks slightly down on pace of last season, and especially before.

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and why has he been carring a niggle? because he''s buring out.

he''s 30 in 4 months, we''re going to have to stop relying on him sooner or later.

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i can see hucks being moved into a more central role if it is true about him burning out.. once the pace goes he is going to need a role that is suited to a slower player... i think he''d do well centrally at that time... he''s strong so can hold off players both defensively and coming forward.. and he can score so appearing in the box would worry defenders.

jas :)

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