DAN THE FAN: Can Town keep hold of Austin for 23/24? – TrustSTFC

DAN THE FAN: Can Town keep hold of Austin for 23/24?

Dan the Fan

On 22nd October 1960, Charlton Athletic hosted Middlesbrough at The Valley in Division Two, it turned into an entertaining afternoon as the game finished 6-6 after the home side scored a last-minute equaliser.

In the Boro team, that afternoon was a 25-year-old, talented centre forward Brian Clough, and after scoring a hat-trick in the high-scoring draw, he wasn’t too pleased with the full-time result, and after the game, he asked the defence, “how many goals do I need to score for us to win?”

This thought must’ve been going through Charlie Austin’s head as he walked off the pitch at Spotland on Saturday afternoon.

As the striker not only scored his first hat-trick for the club but added one more to his total, Sadly Town could only earn a point against bottom side Rochdale, as veteran striker Ian Henderson scored an equaliser in the 94th minute.

Despite the disappointing result, it was great to see Jody Morris start the game with a 4-3-3 formation, leading to Town being 2-0 up within fourteen minutes.

Sadly, the backline couldn’t match their attacking counterparts, with Sol Brynn not enjoying a good afternoon, with both centre-backs struggling throughout.

At this point in the season, you need a settled partnership at the back, whether playing two or three centre-backs, and Town couldn’t be further away from a settled back line due to injuries and deciding to sell a talented defender halfway through the season.

The result leaves Town eight points outside the playoff places with ten games remaining in League Two.

When Carlisle scored their winning goal last weekend at the County Ground, in my mind, that was the nail in the coffin on any possible chase for the playoffs. For fans who still hold out hope, conceding four times to the worst side in the division may dampen any lingering thoughts of a top-seven finish.

If Jody Morris’ side were to have any chance of earning a playoff spot, they’d need to go on a miraculous end-of-season run-in, winning nine of our remaining ten games.

If they managed that feat, Town would end the season on 78 points, just one point better off than last season, that tells you the size of the task ahead, and with Town without a win since 25th February, we can safely say Morris will have his thoughts firmly on next season.

Talk of new contracts and next season may feel a bit premature, but looking ahead to next season will be on the Head Coach’s mind.

The remaining ten games will show Morris who he wants around for next season.

It will also be interesting to see if our Technical Director Sandro di Michele will still be around or if he moves on to new pastures.

I don’t think the club will move him on, as they seem very committed to the current project, they have in place I can imagine di Michele would admit he’s made mistakes in his first season in this role, we have to hope he’s learned from those mistakes for next season.

The biggest negotiation for our Technical Director will be convincing Charlie Austin he wants to be involved in a League Two promotion push next season.

Hopefully, his homecoming won’t be reduced to just six months and in the summer, our Club Captain can be the man to spearhead our title challenge.

Next up for Town is promotion-chasing Stockport County, who arrive at the County Ground in a rich vein of form, only tasting defeat once in their last eleven games.

With Stockport unbeaten in March and Town failing to earn a maximum so far this month, it’s hard to see Town taking anything, but I hope I’m wrong, and this becomes the springboard for the unlikeliest promotion chase in Town’s history.