Mixed fortunes - 11/11/2002

Winning two games on the trot has been a difficult task for us this season. In beating both the Sheffield clubs in the space a few days has been very rewarding, were received a real confidence boost and its pleasing to see that the league table looks a little bit healthier than of late. To be honest, I was worried that this was turning into a bit of a hoodoo for us just like Newcastles unsuccessful visits to London! So getting the win allowed us to bury those thoughts!

However, after doing so well against the Sheffield sides, we let it slip against Portsmouth. We got off to a flyer and I was confident we could make it three on the bounce. Unfortunately Pompey came right back at us, I have to say they were impressive and I can see why they are top of the table. Their play, especially in the final third was exceptional, Harry Redknapp has developed a team of flair and experience and I think theyve got what it takes to stay up at the top. Having said that we came back at them and during the last fifteen minutes I genuinely felt that they were just hanging on.

So its been two wins out of the last three games, and looking at the season so far, Im sure weve got everything to play for. Weve faced Portsmouth, Leicester, and a lot of the other sides above us, were not a million miles away from any of these teams. With about two thirds of the season yet to come Im confident we can achieve atleast a play-off place. Dont forget weve had quite a few injury problems, and it was great see Rava getting back on the pitch. If we can start to turn our draws into wins, itll make a massive difference thats certainly something to look at. When the squads fit well be in a very healthy situation to move up the table and Im confident well be there or thereabouts when the season draws to a close. Its Brighton up next, and although theyve struggled this term, there are a few signs that they may have turned a corner. We wont be taking it for granted and we know that any points will be won by hard work and commitment were not frightened of that!

Id also like to pay my respects to the family of Rob Hindmarsh. I never had the pleasure of meeting Rob, although the John Gregory and Ross McClaren speak highly of him, and its a tragedy that he should leave us at such a young age. Sometimes the intensity of football is brought into perspective, this is such an occasion.


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