It’s another of those confusing days. Fans aren’t quite sure what to make of it. Do we want to win or not? Luton say they’ll pick their FA Trophy teams again, and if it isn’t a phony war, then that means it’ll be the young side which laboured to a win after two attempts against Staines. Not a youth team, but certainly not the eleven that crushed Alfreton in impressive style last weekend.
But players and coaches wouldn’t have the same mentality. While tiring legs cost us last season and Andy Morrell’s selection will reflect the fact that the league remains the priority, he’ll also know that the best way to climb the table is to develop the winning habit. We’ve gone a long way towards rediscovering it in the last couple of months, and Morrell won’t want to lose it with a couple of back-to-back cup defeats.
Games like this, a cross-country trek to see two under strength sides, look like an obvious waste of time. They aren’t. In fact, they’ve often revealed more about the direction the club’s heading than run of the mill league games. The loss to Salisbury three seasons ago showed the direction Dean Saunders was heading in, with first glimpses of two of the key elements of our strong start the following campaign: Nat Knight-Percival at the back and Lee Fowler making play.
Even games like the Hinckley loss showed us something about the depth of our squad, and the early round wins last season suggested our young players were getting close to maturity.
So although it feels like a Quixotic quest to set out across England to watch this match, I guess I’m driven by the thought it might just be as revealing as anything I see in the first half of the season.