Saturday’s defeat to Rotherham United was a very demoralising affair. The result itself was disappointing, that really goes without saying, but what frustrated me more was the sinking feeling that compared to last season there’s been no improvement.
That might sound a bit over the top but it’s the way I see it and I get the impression that plenty of our supporters share that view.
There are players in the squad with potential, no doubt about that. But as a team we look as brittle and inconsistent as we did a year ago. There’s no disguising that fact.
It’s ridiculous when you think about it because Uwe Rosler spent quite a bit of money in the summer.
Yet here we are, plodding along and showing very few signs of progress. I’m not having a dig at Steve Evans. I actually think he’s done well to get a few decent results out of this squad in quite a short period. But I won’t be alone in thinking that we need better players than we’ve got.
I’m still amazed that apart from Sol Bamba, no other defenders were signed before the season started.
Anyone who watched us last season knew that our defence needed serious work. It wasn’t good enough for the Championship six months ago and it’s not good enough for the Championship now.
I always expect it to leak goals – and on that basis, the opposition must too. On Saturday, against Rotherham, we had a right-back at left-back, a centre-back at right-back and nothing in the way of cover on the bench.
Injuries and suspensions have played a part but the reality is that we’re very stretched. I can see why Steve has been so anxious to find players in the loan market because in his position, I’d be trying to sign players too.
Loan signings might help but January is where the big improvement can be made and hopefully Steve and the owner can get together and take us up a level. Unless that happens, I don’t see any chance at all of us putting pressure on the top six.
I’m sorry to be saying that but it’s the truth.
As I sat through the Rotherham match I found it hard to tell myself that we’ve improved one iota. Up until now I’ve been trying my best to be positive and patient.
For one thing there’s no captain on the pitch. There’s no experienced player who can rally everyone and give guidance when it’s needed.
That’s becoming apparent with some of the younger players. On Saturday, Lewis Cook and Alex Mowatt were running around like blue-a***d flies and desperate for a voice in their ears, telling them what to do and how to get into the game.
Don’t forget that Cook is 18. Mowatt’s been around a while longer but he’s only 20. No matter how much talent they have, there are going to be days where their lack of experience counts against them. Those are the occasions where they need older, wiser lads stepping up and helping them out. It’s not acceptable for kids to be carrying the can.
The truth is that I wasn’t so surprised by the Rotherham game. I thought we’d win it, I thought we’d have too much for them up front, but I always have the sneaking suspicion that we’ve been flattering to deceive. The result at Huddersfield flattered us. It wasn’t a 3-0 game by any stretch and I don’t think we performed particularly well. If Scott Wootton had been sent off, which he should have been, we might well have lost it.
We’re going into a very tough month now and it’s vital that we stay well away from the bottom four. Anyone talking about the play-offs at this stage is kidding themselves.
It’s possible, of course, that the season could take off spectacularly but I can only see that happening if some top quality arrives in January.
It’s incredible to be saying that because, let’s be honest, Rosler had plenty of resources at his disposal in the summer. He wasn’t short of transfer funds but with Christmas coming we’re under pressure again.
As I said, fair play to Steve; he’s managed to get some valuable points in the bag.
But it’s papering over the same sort of cracks we all saw last season.