An update on football matters by director Rob Esteva.
We are a couple of months into the season, and I thought it would be a good time to provide an update on football matters.
I think it’s fair to say we started the season slowly, in terms of our results, but I’d like to think everybody can now see the evolution of this team and what we are capable of.
Being able to select a settled side has helped, naturally, but for a team which is the youngest in the division with an average age of just 23.9-years-old, there are some really positive signs that we are settling into this season well.
The reason for my confidence throughout our initial difficult spell was the underlying data behind our performances. Obviously, the number one currency has to be points, but there was enough in our performances to suggest things would turn. And they have!
For example, the ratio of goals against us verses attempts was unsustainable, and the Dagenham game was the perfect example of how ruthless teams were being against us. Likewise, our expected goals for and against was that of a mid-table team, but our attacking play has certainly clicked into gear now.
Additionally, being in and around it at Egerton, it’s clear to see the transition to full-time has gone smoothly. Spirits have been good, even when results were not quite there, because everybody believes in the process. The quality is there; it just takes time.
Pre-season was a little disrupted by some annoying injuries and administrative issues - frustrating for all of us, I can assure you! Those on the receiving end, like Ollie Byrne, Ross Barrows and Ryan Colclough, are getting better and better with every game now and showing just how important they can be for us.
There’s some positive news on the injury front, with Egli Kaja, Lewis Baines, Zak Goodson and Isaac Marriott all edging ever closer to a return to fitness. Their returns will unquestionably bolster our options in all areas of the team, and that is a major boost coming into a busy spell of the season.
Matty Kosylo is still some way off, but it’s great to see him out on the grass now. His injury was a major blow at the time, but it’s a pleasure watching Matty work so hard, and I’ve zero doubts he’ll be back better and stronger than ever when he does return.
In other news, Alex Sami has left the club, and we wish him all the best for the future.
Lastly, I’d like to thank the supporters for getting behind the management and players when it has been needed most. It’s not easy supporting a team when we are not winning but that is the time when we need you more than ever. You’ve more than played your part this season and please continue to do so.
I’ve scribbled some programme notes for the Gateshead Cup match, and how we’ve a wrong to right there. Please turn out in numbers - especially given how you couldn’t last year - and get behind the lads. Your support, as always, is greatly appreciated.