Fans’ Forum: I’ll be glad to see the back of 2014 - Mike Follows

Paul Dickov
Paul Dickov

As we head into the fixture-packed festive period we need to put the last 12 months behind us.

2014 has not been a good year so far and I’ll be happy to see the back of it.

That said it’s pertinent to look at the mistakes and weaknesses that have cost us and learn from them.

We have become harder to beat over the last month or so but there are still consistent errors that are costing us.

The issue I have with Paul Dickov’s tactics, in contrast to our recent managers, is that he’s neither one thing nor the other.

Sean O’Driscoll set teams up to play fluid possession football built around a strong, skilful midfield.

Dean Saunders went towards the other end of the spectrum and assembled a team of grafters to win ugly.

Now we seem to have a mismatch which plays to nobody’s strengths.

O’Driscoll and, to a degree, Saunders took a pragmatic approach to things and recognised that in every match, certain situations occur.

There will be set pieces, both attacking and defensive. There will be times when the only option is a long ball. This season those situations are costing us. We are weak on set pieces and we are missing a Jason Price or Chris Brown type figure to challenge for the long balls and clearances.

Last time we won promotion from League One, our home form was poor but we made up for it on the road.

This season we’ve dropped too many points at home again.

The lack of atmosphere can’t help the players but it’s a chicken and egg scenario.

Until performances and results improve, there isn’t much to cheer about.

We have created plenty of chances but finishing has let us down.

On Saturday against Gillingham we had at least six clear chances with Curtis Main, Theo Robinson and James Coppinger all guilty of missing good opportunities.

Copps has never had the best goals to games ratio but he’s made up for it elsewhere.

If he scored more he could’ve spent the last 15 years at Newcastle.

Again, drawing parallels with previous campaigns, we are missing a Paul Heffernan or Billy Sharp.

Every team wants a player like that and they’re in short supply so to take a positive from this year, I’m hopeful that our youth system might provide our next goal scorer.