It has fallen to me to wield the sword of truth, and then turn it on myself. I am willing to sacrifice my massive popularity with Wrexham fans for the greater cause. That greater cause being giving Kevin Wilkin the best of starts by unburdening him from a very difficult decision. He is going to have to make some unpopular decisions, and it helps if at least a few people support him in them.
Why can a big physical, part time side beat the mighty Wrexham? Why doesn’t our full time training regime count at the end of games? Why doesn’t our superior skill level count?
Kevin Wilkin stated after the Salisbury game that we need to make the pitch small when out of possession and big when we don’t. He said our ‘game management’ needs to be better. To do these things we need a vital ingredient we’re missing and that is energy. Without it spaces appear, and without out it we don’t get enough of the ball to play football.
If we looked at our record of results on Tuesday nights, after playing the previous Saturday I bet we’d find our record was poor. Perhaps the most recent tragic example was playing well against a very strong Kidderminster side and gaining a creditable draw on a Saturday, and then folding at Braintree on the Tuesday. You can’t trade skill for energy (at least not for a full 90 minutes).
That brings me to the sword. Dean Keates no longer provides sufficient energy to warrant a starting place. Not only does his lack of recovery speed leave us open to counterattacks, when he plays at the back of the midfield, but it limits our ball retention in a 4-4-2. When he plays further forward his threat diminishes as the game progresses, leaving poorer and poorer service to the front men.
Jay Harris, who I believe is back to his best is Mr Energy in the middle. To fully utilise this boundless strength, it can’t be channelled into covering for other players. When Glen Little was in his pomp he played delightful cameos for us against tiring defences, with tiring midfields chasing him. I think you can see where I’m going with that thought.
I thought Keates’s greatest match was at Wembley in the Trophy final. I looked at him when he came onto the pitch and thought ‘He isn’t going to let us lose today, he simply will not accept defeat’. I think that will is still there, but his powers to drive that will are fading.