By Dhriti Ahir (aged 17)
After drawing with Cambridge last Saturday, tomorrow we draw our attention to the first away game of the campaign against Grimsby Town. The Mariners got off to a good start as they triumphed against Morecambe 2-0 away from home. This game is important for us as we get to see if we can improve on the Cambridge performance. This is a test for the players.
There were a lot of positives and negatives that we can take away from the Cambridge game. I think that the players who made their debuts for the club did well, especially Ben Richards-Everton and James Vaughan. The latter has the experience of the Premier League but he is also the skipper, which shows that he is respected by the players and the fans. Vaughan is dependable and also knows what to say to the players on the pitch. Richards-Everton, on the other hand, is someone who impressed for his pace and presence in the air.
I think Gary Bowyer will keep some of the starting 11 again, but there are changes I would make. A player I would put into the starting 11 is a fit-again Paudie O’Connor. He was very good for us last season – and he even though he is still young, he is a player who can be a big part of this team.
I would also start Sean Scannell. Many people, including myself, questioned him not starting, as his pace is what we need in our squad. When he came on, he was explosive and that in my opinion is what we needed at the beginning of the game to set us up for the 90 minutes. I feel like Scannell should replace Eoin Doyle, as even though Doyle was okay, he shouldn’t have been in the ‘hole’ position behind the strikers.
Jermaine Anderson was unfortunate to pick up an injury but when he gets back to full fitness I hope that he believes in himself more. He is capable of scoring goals, as he showed at the end of last season. Gary Bowyer has faith in him, but he needs to grasp his chances and show his ability.
The player who I think could fit perfectly in Anderson’s position is the player who replaced him on Saturday, Danny Devine. He is someone who made an instant impact as soon as he came on. The tempo of the game got faster as we had a fresh pair of legs on the field fighting for the ball.
As I have said previously, Ben Richards-Everton had a good game against Cambridge. He put everything on the line to make sure City didn’t concede. I also noticed that whenever Anthony O’Connor went to clear the ball, Richards-Everton would be covering. The defence held together, which was something that didn’t happen a lot last season. Richards-Everton made a couple of minor errors and was criticised for his distribution, which is common in League Two defenders. He and O’Connor looked good together in my opinion, as they restricted Cambridge’s chances. But I would still prefer to see how Paudie O’Connor will fit in this team alongside the new additions.
Richard O’Donnell is our first choice keeper and has competition with Sam Hornby. Last season, O’Donnell got a lot of criticism about his mistakes and his distribution. But on Saturday he did everything right when called on.
Two midfielders who I think should start again on Saturday are Jordan Gibson and Matt Palmer. Both of these players did well against Cambridge. I felt like Gibson was restricted in the midfield trio though as he is a player who has the pace and skills to take on any opposition that comes his way. I think it’s because of his position he wasn’t able to exploit Cambridge’s full back. Palmer, on the other hand, held the ball well – but I think that he needs to elevate his free kicks and corners.
The two strikers in Vaughan and Clayton Donaldson will eventually form a very good partnership with each other. It is early days and they need to have time to understand each other better, which is key for any strong forward partnership in football.
Since we are playing our first away game of the season we need to remember this is a long campaign and no one knows what this season holds. Obviously, we were slightly disappointed with the result against Cambridge, but it’s early days and we have so many more chances to get points on the board.
Let’s be positive and optimistic about what the season holds. We now look to have a team that will fight for every point. And the renewed optimism of supporters ready for greater signs of encouragement, so we can back the players and Gary Bowyer – home and away.