DAN THE FAN: A big summer overhaul is in the offing
3:00pm Thursday 27th February 2014 in Sport
FEBRUARY is a key month in the football calendar, as the major players in the league start to pull away from the pack and into the promotion picture, or crumble under the pressure of possible relegation.
If Town were going to be involved in the play-off hunt this season, we had to enjoy a successful February.
But just one win out of the last five league games has left the club’s play-off ambitions looking in tatters.
The top six sides have firmly established their place inside the play-offs and have games in hand.
If we had been able to field our best XI more often, maybe it would have been a different story.
The reality is, Town will more than likely start next season outside the top two divisions for the 15th season in a row.
There is now nearly an entire generation of Town fans who have never seen us play in the second tier, a sad indictment of how the club has been run over the past decade.
Let’s hope Lee Power is fully invested in Town and is serious in his ambitions of taking the club into the Championship.
After so many false dawns, its hard for any Town fan to trust any owner of the club.
One of the chairman’s first jobs alongside manager Mark Cooper is deciding who will be sticking around for the 2014-15 season.
Eighteen player contacts end this season, with Jay McEveley, Alex Smith, Jack Barthram, Raphael Rossi Branco, Troy Archibald-Henville, Andy Williams, Dany N’Guessan and Nile Ranger some of the names whose futures will be discussed.
Players like Lee Cox, Paul Benson, Alan Navarro, Harry Agombar and Kayden Jackson are near-certainties for release, while the club will have to decide if they will hang onto first and second year pros, Aaron Oakley, Connor Waldon, Mark Francis and Alex Ferguson.
I would keep Barthram, Rossi Branco, Archibald-Henville and depending on events, Ranger.
McEveley is injury-prone, a problem also to have afflicted Smith, who hasn’t been seen since our League Cup win over QPR last August.Andy Williams is part of the old regime, and looked painfully off the pace early on in the season, while Dany N’Guessan looks a handy striker, but is nowhere near consistent enough.
Archibald-Henville is a top defender. I understand he will be one of the top earners, but hopefully they can come to an agreement, because he will be important next season. It will be a massive overhaul of personnel during the summer.