Just over a week until it all kicks off then. It’s on our doorstep now. How will we cope with a completely different league where the mentality may or may not be something alien to players who, up until two years ago, pictured themselves on the verdant fields of the Premier League? What can we really expect from League One?
The truth is that none of us really know. Save from watching highlights on late night Football League shows there aren’t that many amongst our ranks who can say that they understand what it takes to get out of League One. We do however have a couple in our ranks who do know what it takes. Tom Flanagan saw Burton out the division while Reece James has just been promoted with Wigan. James has been silent, but a very eloquent and astute Flanagan has said that it will take brawn.
Looking at our team over the past few years the best example of the type of attitude required probably came from Cattermole. Barking at players, snarling away. However, Catts is also prone to being drawn into personal battles. We looked incredibly naive and weak last season and in this next season we cannot afford to let that happen again. Regardless of who signs and who goes there has to be a knuckle down mentality. We have to be that team that everyone hates playing.
I’m not saying we should be dirty Leeds or the crazy gang, but we have been too nice for too long. Too sporting. I don’t want a centre half who picks up a centre forward. I want a centre half that clatters the centre forward and leaves them on the ground before asking what he is whining about. I want a player to swoop through the box on corners wiping out opposition because he wants the ball that much.
More than that though what I want is a team. The amount of times I saw minor scuffles on the pitch where the individual was left to get on with it was ridiculous. You play as a team. If one player is struggling you support them, if one player has someone niggling him another player clatters him. There’s an argument to say that with the quality on our books in Watmore, Honeyman, Gooch and Sinclair we shouldn’t need that; but at the back? We definitely need it.
The piss take party stops here and that includes on the pitch. If we want to boss the league we really do need to boss it. Stamp our authority and be physical. Set pieces need to be honed and the back line need to be drilled like soldiers. If we have that solid back line with a quick skilful attack, then we should have no problems and a few players can make names for themselves.
Get nasty Sunderland. Skuldugger to your heart’s content.