They say timing is everything in football, and that was the case on Saturday as Town put in their worst performance of the season against a re-energised, Mark Hughes-less Bradford City.
After losing our unbeaten record in Nottingham, Town needed to bounce back and show Tuesday was a blip, sadly without Jake Young alongside Charlie Austin and Dan Kemp, Michael Flynn’s side wasn’t clinical in front of goal, with Austin and Rushian Hepburn-Murphy both missing big chances.
Bad timing played a part in a low-key Hepburn-Murphy performance as the manager revealed the striker was unwell the day before, it was touch and go whether he’d play, but credit to the former Aston Villa striker for not wanting to give up his chance.
It was clear he wasn’t firing on all cylinders throughout the ninety minutes, which must’ve been frustrating as he’d have been waiting for his chance to start a game, and when it came along, he wasn’t able to make an impression on the game.
We all know the 25-year-old is a talented player, and I still back him to play an important role this season.
In more positive news, it was encouraging to see another youth team player make their League debut for the club, as Miles Obodo strode out in front of 16,788 fans to try and make an impact in his thirteen-odd minutes.
Despite not playing the role of super-sub, it would’ve been an incredible experience for the 16-year-old, let’s hope with other talented youth players like Josh Keyes, he can make his mark at some point.
If we look at the other side of the coin, needing to use a 16-year-old off the bench to make an impact isn’t ideal, the current squad still hasn’t seen any new faces despite having to play with just six substitutes instead of the regulation seven a few times.
Injuries have played a part with Tom Clayton, Jake Cain, Reece Devine, and Benn Ward missing, but even with those names included our squad is still only 21 professionals, which is 3-4 short of most seasons.
I respect the manager’s position of not signing players for the sake of it, which he mentioned in a few interviews, despite him saying he’s happy with the current squad size, I can’t fully believe he’s thrilled when looking for an attacking option to change the game on Saturday, he could only turn to someone who hadn’t played a second of professional football in their life.
Hopefully, this will be resolved soon with a couple of new faces, thankfully Tom Clayton could be involved in the match day eighteen this coming Saturday when Town welcomes Newport County.
Before we face Michael Flynn’s former club at the weekend, Town makes the short trip to some foes from many years ago as we visit the Madejski Stadium in our first competitive game against Reading in twenty-one years, with the last on Valentine’s Day in 2002.
With the Berkshire side having a huge financial advantage over Town for many years, one of the club’s most historic rivalries has sadly laid dormant.
With this contest being in the Football League Trophy and both sides playing weak starting elevens, the rivalry on Tuesday won’t get close to the heights it once reached.
Hopefully, next season this famous fixture will once again mean something to both sets of fans when we face in a League game, but which one is still anyone’s guess.