Last Saturday left me feeling more confident about our survival than I have for some time, but the Faustian pact Brian Little struck to haul us out of trouble might still come back to haunt us.
The win over Bury was patchy at times, I admit; at 1-1 Bury looked the more likely winners for me. However, we stuck it out and earned three points in difficult circumstances which, frankly, is something we haven’t done often of late. Furthermore, although the teams above us continued their annoying habit of winning, we pulled a lot of the sides just above us into the battle, and looking at the dreadful form of Chester and Shrewsbury we might be able to give them a real fright. After all, Chester are in freefall and just eight points better off than us having played three games more! That can hardly be a comfortable situation for the denizens of The Deva!
I’d feel a great deal more confident if we could get some key injured players back though. With Carl Tremarco and Neil Taylor both picking up nasty injuries the squad suddenly looks thin-thank heavens late lunges by Chris Llewellyn and Drewe Broughton didn’t make proper contact and were viewed leniently by referee Howard Webb! Yet I’d be extremely confident of our survival if only the list of key men who seem to be on the verge of a return without quite getting back on the pitch could actually get fit.
Add Neil Roberts, Danny Sonner, Danny Williams, Jeff Whitley and Steve Evans (the rejuvenated model, not the 2007 version of course!) to the side and you’ve got a side with a resolution which you’d fancy to keep grinding out the points.
The problem, to an extent, is the inevitable gamble in Brian Little’s reshuffle of the side. Bringing in experience was absolutely the right thing to do; we have a squad which doesn’t collapse under pressure, doesn’t panic when faced with a lengthy sentence at the bottom of the table. However, there was always likely to be a danger that injuries could be picked up by aging limbs. Paul Hall has already had a long spell out, so has Sam Aiston for that matter, and we desperately need to keep Dad’s Army ticking over for another seven weeks or so if they are to win the war.