Five things we learned in October

keith wildman photo

Picture by Keith Wildman.

By Alex Scott

City can hang up here

Four points from fifteen during the month may imply the opposite, but this month did indicate that the first six weeks from the season were more than a mirage. It was a tough a run as you could want to draw up, and the degree of difficulty was increased ever more by the removal of the team’s two best, and most important, players for the majority.

But they never wilted; they never got outclassed. They were in every game, and could (and maybe, should) have got something from each. They stand with Wolves and Peterborough as the only side to not once concede more than two goals, and have done so while breaking in a new centre half. The win at Walsall was the high point, and to play as well as that away at a side as good as that bodes incredibly well for the future. They belong up here.

Kyel Reid is The Truth

The absence of Wells left the door open for someone to put the team on their back, and to a little surprise, Kyel Reid was that man who stepped up. He put in by far his best run of games for the club, dominating at Walsall, Crawley and Preston, and just being outstanding in the others.

This is off the back of a previous month where he was one of the nominees for Player of the Month. He’s been even better in the past four weeks. I’ve based my longstanding defence on him being inconsistent by nature, but he has even proved me wrong. He’s been one of the best players in the division during one of the toughest runs in the division, and the thought of him firing on every single one of his cylinders alongside the returning Nahki Wells is a prospect which I haven’t properly got my head around yet.

City are finishing their transition

Ricky Ravenhill, Andy Gray and Alan Connell all headed to the loan market this month, none of which having found a new home at time of writing. Without a multitude of cup games to keep the reserves firing, and interested, it’s become a lot harder for Parkinson to keep everyone happy. This has been exacerbated by when two starters suffered injuries, he headed out to the shops rather than blooding his squad.

Caleb Folan has done for Connell and Gray, and with the arrival of the impressive Matthew Bates on a short-term deal until January, it looks like one of the present back-up defenders is set to follow the three out of the door. All out of contract in the summer, for Connell and Ravenhill especially, it presents an underwhelming conclusion to their City careers. But you can’t complain about evolution. City are now a real League One team. It’s the nature of the beast; the fittest survive, and emotion sadly walks out the door.

James Hanson hasn’t reached his ceiling

He might not be even close. Alongside Reid, James Hanson upped his level over the past month to a level we haven’t yet seen from the striker. That he did it without Wells is curious, as those two have bonded so well in their time. But it does say something to the psyche of the man that when his side needed him most is when he came through.

He’s scored six league goals already this season; it took him until the end of February to achieve that last year. He has never been better than he is today, and with Wells returning alongside him and a contract expiring in the summer, there aren’t many better placed than him right now.

City fans are bringing it

What’s the opposite of a vicious cycle? Growing up a City fan I never had to learn that metaphor. Regardless, we’re caught in one of those right now. Each game is another confirmation in that idea we all wanted to be true over the past few years – that if a side just showed the fans something, anything, they could believe in, they would come in their droves.

Every game I’ve been to this year my first conversation has been astonishment at the size and commitment of the support. And this isn’t even mentioning the social media presence that has directly resulted in four nominations in the fan-voted Football Blogging Awards, with two for this site alongside a member of this parish Joe Cockburn and the Bantams Banter boys. (You can still vote by the way here and here.) Every game is fun to be a part of. Everything is fun to be a part of. We are all in this together, and we are all in.

The question for November

With Wells and Hanson reunited, can they lead the side to consolidate their play off position? The run of games is easier on paper, with ample opportunity for City to shoot themselves back into form, and they have just the strike pairing to take advantage.

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Categories: Opinion

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2 replies

  1. Nicely put, Alex. October may not have brought in the points, but City can class themselves unlucky not to have earned more. Reid has had another excellent month, following on where he left off in September. As you say, Hanson is in the best shape he has ever been in and looks totally at home in league one. It is sad that Connell, Gray and Ravenhill must look elsewhere to find first team football, but it’s all part of how City are evolving. I’ve been impressed with Bates so far, but City have conceded 4 goals in the 2 games he has played so far, but with more games the back four will get better. I have no problems with Meredith going forward and supporting Reid, but he must do more when defending as we look vulnerable sometimes down the left hand side of our defence.

    I too think the City fans at VP have been amazing this season. Who ever is coming up with the songs for each player is doing a great job. The newest one I heard was at Preston with a ditty sung for Garry Thompson to the tune of Heartbeat.

    There is much to look forward to in November. It’s about time we took all three points away from a visit to Gresty Road. A cracking atmosphere is guaranteed at Rotherham in the FA Cup. Coventry at home on the TV will be as big a test as the Wolves games as the Sky Blues must be playing some good football despite everything that is going against them this season. And at MK Dons on the 23rd, that big wide pitch will be ideal for Kyel Reid to tear apart the home defence, just like Omar Daley did 5 years ago in the FA Cup.

  2. The opposite of a vicious cycle is a virtuous circle…and yes, this is what being on one feels like !!

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