Ok I know this is the third time I have apologized, but I promise this time it's for real. My rugby season ends after this weekend, so expect me back to my regular chatty self by next week. I know, you've missed it. Anyway there are some really pleasing things to draw from our performance this weekend. And no, those things do not in fact include our performance.
The best thing we displayed was tenacity. As I've said before the way you survive in the Premiership is by winning games you don't deserve. This season we've drawn games we should've won, and lost games we should've drawn, but we have not yet won a game we should've drawn. Until Saturday. It was quite clear that not much separated the two teams, and if anything Stoke deserved the lion's share of the points. But Bolton held on and took advantage of the opportunity given to them.
I also heartily approved of Coyle's tactical substitutions. Taking off a midfielder to put on a striker when you're 1-0 down is about as anti-Megson as it gets. Coyle's not in the business of damage control, he's after those points, and that's the sort of ambition and self-belief Megson lacked. I must say, I'm liking Coyle more and more after every single game.
And lastly we have the return of Matty Taylor. I've been saying all season that he was under performing, the Matty of last season wasn't on the pitch. He used to be pivotal in our attack, setting people up and taking scorching shots himself, but he's been tame almost the whole season. Well on Saturday he stepped it up. When his team needed the points (and Lord knows we do) but was losing 1-0 to Stoke (of all people) he scored 2 goals in 3 minutes, securing our points and perhaps our safety.
Which leads us right into our first bit of news. Matty Taylor has been suffering from glandular fever (aka mono) for around 6 months. Undiagnosed. Now would be an appropriate time to question why we pay our medical staff if they can't diagnose something like glandular fever in 6 months. They didn't even catch it in the end, it was Matty who decided he wasn't feeling himself and went in for blood tests. I sincerely hope the Bolton Wanderers medical staff are feeling suitably foolish. On the plus side, this may be a partial explanation for his crap form this season, and now that it's been taken care of, hopefully he can bring back the Matty we know.
Meanwhile the transfer rumours have certainly been making the rounds. Sir Owen has been doing his best to downplay the very pervasive rumours that Liverpool after after both Cahill and Chung-Yong. Let's all hope this is true, as those are two quality players we would certainly miss next season.
And as for people I want to leave, there have been rumours about them too. Supposedly Coyle is going to do a little clearing up over the Summer, selling 7 players. It's been speculated that those 7 will be Ricardo Gardner, Jlloyd Samuel, Andy O'Brien and Gavin McCann, Danny Shittu, Nicky Hunt and Ricardo Vaz Te, which I can see. The only ones I'm moderately upset about are Jlloyd and Gardener. I do want Gardner to go, but not this way. He's been at the club 12 years and deserves his due. As for Jlloyd, he must act up in training or something because, despite what I reckon is some talent, he never gets in the squad.
That's all from me for now, I can't promise a Pompey preview as I will be in transit to Washington D.C. for a rugby tournament most of Friday, but I will do my best!