The Racecourse Cull Won’t Be What You Expect

So who should stay and who should go? Most fans, when asked for their opinion, go down the apocalyptic route and demand a massive cull. There certainly will be a lot of comings and goings, but Kevin Wilkin is unlikely to take the nuclear option and completely obliterate his squad.

Why? Well, look at our recent history for your answer. Brian Little was in charge over two transfer windows, completely tearing up his squad and starting again in each of them. The outcome? One of the shortest, and certainly the most disastrous, managerial reign in our history.
And don’t forget that Dean Sainders followed a similar route. He reshaped Little’s squad with a plethora of loans and free transfers, and when that didn’t work he ripped everything up in the Summer and started again. His reward was a campaign which, as I pointed out earlier, was actually worse than the season which just ended on some respects.
Admittedly, Saunders then rebuilt again and turned a corner, but it was a lengthy adaptation process for him. Unlike Saunders, Wilkin is not learning the ropes of a new job and not getting to know non-league football. He also doesn’t have the benefit of a club owner who plays golf with him. He’s therefore unlikely to enjoy the level of indulgence Saunders had, and certainly isn’t going to be allowed the financial leeway to pay off contracts or banish players from the squad as the ex-Wales star did.
Also, while the squad has undoubtedly under performed, there’s no real reason to think it doesn’t contain some quality. Many of the players who took us to Wembley twice and within a skied Brett Ormerod shot of promotion remain and they haven’t turned into bad players overnight.
The issue for Wilkin is more likely to be how he can reshape the players he keeps into a different pattern of play. He has already said he’s not particularly experienced with setting up a 4-3-3, although ironically we might be judged to have achieved our best performance under him on Saturday when he tried out that formation.
The signs are that he won’t persist with that shape though. At Nuneaton, as with Wrexham since he took over, he alternated between a 4-4-2 and a diamond formation. Pace, a player who can create in the hole and some central defensive solidity is likely to be what he’ll look to add to the players he has inherited.

2 thoughts on “The Racecourse Cull Won’t Be What You Expect

  1. Good read. I have never subscribed to this massive cull theory, as to do so would lead us to a similar situation experienced under Little, and that is a high risk strategy to say the least. That said, there is an obvious need for fresh faces and some much needed pace. Sounds obvious, but it’s all about building a squad to the budget, and I don’t think that budget stretches to 15-20 proven top end conference players, which means the Oglebys and TBJs of this world may be offered something to stay.

  2. Very interested in the Thornton move today. If he bites it could be a genius move by Wilkin.(Durrell or Thornton to head the diamond) Surely he won’t go for it? Surely he’s better off taking a part time deal with Tamworth and proving his ability there. I wouldn’t be too surprised if we offered him a short deal if he refuses to come back for no deal.

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