Gearing Up For January
These international breaks are interminable,as well as being a pain in the arse. But as I said yesterday,it gives AP some time to get some coaching done with a fair number of our players,which can only benefit everyone.
Another thing that this break-and the one in a month’s time-gives us is a chance to decide which parts of our team are in need of new faces. AP probably has a better knowledge of the global game than many of our recent managers,and I think that he will be looking to the Asian/Australian markets for any replacements.
For instance,the Japanese league closes at the end of the year for its close season,and Australia isn’t a place to be playing football during their summer. If Kyogo is anything to go by,there is quality there,and at sensible prices too. Another one or two as good in their position as the wee fella and we can just about start planning for a bliddy statue!
I don’t think we need to worry too much about the goalkeeping position,as we have a very good custodian who is coming back to the form that made him a mainstay for club and country for a while. Juranovic has been impressive enough to take the right back slot,with Ralston an able deputy. There is little point in suggesting a new left back as I can’t see the board sanctioning it.
At centre back,we are more quantity than quality in my opinion,and with the likely return of Jullien-who needs to get his finger out if he wants a transfer-I fear that AP will have to make do and mend,hope that somehow any two of them can form a partnership and learn to defend their area.
Up front is similar. The return from injury of G-Mac and Jamesie will provide some quality competition for the incumbents,and I would like to see Kyogo forming a front two partnership with G-Mac. We haven’t played with a front two for far too long,and I think that has to change.
Once again,it all comes back to the midfield. And really there are enough players there who are well up to the job-but who are not knitting as a unit far too often. And AP really has to figure out why that is,and how he can deal with that. One of the things I’d be considering is making better use of substitutions in this area,and even of rotating the players to give them a rest. Two games a week is clearly draining,and a breather after an hour or so,or a rest one game in four,will do some of them a power of good.
However,we are still looking for a midfield enforcer,as Soro has fallen short too often when I’ve seen him in action this season. And on top of that,January is not too early to be planning for next season when we are guaranteed a place in the group stages of the Champions League.
With that in mind,AP and the board have a decision to make about both Jota and CCV. Are they likely to stay,and do we want them to? If not,is it not a good idea to get someone in for January,introduce them to the team gradually so that they are up and running for next season?
So that’s looking like three positions which could be needing strengthening in January,and I suspect as I said at the start that AP will be looking mainly at the markets that he knows best. The new work permit regulations may of course throw a spanner in the works,as the type of player and fee that we are looking at is likely to be problematic on that score. But then,there are many Australians who still hold Dual Nationality,which may well work to our advantage.
It is worth remembering too that holders of Irish nationality do not need a work permit,and there has been considerable emigration from Ireland to Australia over the years. And if we can scout a budding Japanese star whose Dad was partial to a pint of Guinness,we will have hit the jackpot!
To more serious things though,and that is that AP will be using his time wisely over the next few weeks,and planning the next stage in his revolution. And revolution it is,with the number of players who left in the summer,and a dozen new guys coming in already.
The rebuild required then was enormous,a total failure of governance by the previous incumbent and the board. It hasn’t finished,not by a long way. And the board have to back their man if they are in any way to be seen as serious in wanting him to succeed as much as he himself does,and as much as the fans do.
Time to check down the back of the boardroom settees and crack open the biscuit tin!!!
Above article by BMCUWP