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DAN THE FAN: Getting back on the right track
12:07pm Wednesday 19th September 2012 in Sport
A HARD-EARNED point at Carlisle and an impressive away win at Portsmouth was a near perfect response to Town’s recent “crises”
It doesn’t matter if you play in the Premier League or the Wiltshire League, being able to stop a run of defeats can be one of the toughest challenges in football.
After going 1-0 down, then 2-1 down away at Carlisle, Town didn’t go into their shell and hide, they hit back straight away and were unlucky not to come away with all the points.
Gary Roberts made his first appearance for the club at Brunton Park and made an instant impression with the Town faithful.
His substitute bow wrestled the game back into Town’s favour, with his crosses into the box and general influence on the pitch was clear to see – and this wasn’t Roberts fully match fit.
On Tuesday night we got to see him make his first start and once again he showed why Paolo Di Canio fought so hard to sign him in the summer.
When we have Roberts and Matt Ritchie both match fit and in full flow, they will be difficult to stop.
Alan Navarro had a welcome return to form following his injury, and after a terrible fortnight for Jay McEveley, he also started to look like the player that has once played at the highest level.
Before kick-off a lot of fans seemed to be discussing the absence of Aden Flint and Luke Rooney from the 18-man squad.
Flint hasn’t been involved since his dodgy display against Leyton Orient and Rooney hasn’t made the bench since his below-par showing at Preston.
It seems that Aden’s poor showing a couple of weeks ago has seen him demoted to fourth-choice centre back below McCormack, Ward and Archibald-Henville.
After only seeing Ward play once for myself this might be harsh, but I don’t think he fits into Di Canio’s style of playing the game.
His tackling and heading is superb but his distribution makes me think Matt Heywood has somehow made his way onto the pitch.
One bad game doesn’t make Flint a poor defender and having him at least in the 18 is important going forward.
But this Saturday, I hope we see the return of Troy Archibald-Henville to first team action, after his excellent start to the season was cut short by injury.
Most fans I speak to seem nearly spilt down the middle on Rooney, some say he’s too lightweight and doesn’t have the necessary talent to make it at this level.
But others point out his assists from last season and how he excited the crowd with his performances down the left wing.
Personally, I like Rooney and hope Di Canio uses him more in future games from the bench. If Roberts is tiring or carrying an injury he is perfect to come on and scare full-backs and make a difference.
But looking at how Rooney’s season has panned out so far, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Di Canio loan him out in the next month.
Also this weekend I hope to see John Bostock back in Town’s midfield.
Since returning this season he hasn’t been given a decent amount of time to show people how he can affect a game. Hopefully that will change soon.
On Saturday Town, welcome big spenders AFC Bournemouth to the County Ground.
Manager Paul Groves has so far had a disappointing start to the season and sees his side still without a home win and sitting 17th in the table.
Bournemouth will bring a gifted squad, which includes talented midfielder Eunan O’Kane and two top draw strikers in Lewis Grabban and Matt Tubbs.
Chairman Eddie Mitchell is known for wanting big success for the Cherries and has brought in former Spurs boss Harry Redknapp to help Groves in any way he can and push them back up towards the playoffs.
After our huge win on Tuesday night it’s vital we carry on this momentum and start another long unbeaten run at fortress County Ground, if we want any chance at promotion this season.
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