As promised, here is the follow up to my article which raised a few eyebrows last week regarding Phil Parkinson’s future at the club following our heavy defeat to Wolves.
First off, let me begin my clarifying that I was in no way instigating that he should be sacked just because of that result as many of you thought. In fact, I was suggesting the exact opposite.
Now a week on, each point that I addressed and expressed as ways in which Parky could help turn things round and help himself by doing, he did and unsurprisingly it paid off, changes were made and the result followed as we saw off Barnsley with a 3-1 win, the goals courtesy of Gary Madine and Mark Little.
Much to the delight of Wanderers fans, Parkinson ringed the necessary changes on Saturday which even saw Adam Armstrong dropped to the bench which no-one saw coming whilst Reece Burke confidently replaced the suspended David Wheater.
As I previously mentioned, it was easy to identify the need for change, in particular, the need to utilise the likes of Will Buckley which Parky obviously wasn't blind to, allowing Buckley to get a solid 65 minutes under his belt.
In his return to the side, Buckley made an instant impact out on the left and even won us a penalty which Gary Madine willingly converted and was just the luck we needed.
I thought it was important that Buckley played as it presented Parkinson with food for thought as both Buckley and later-subsitute Noone, offer a different attacking option which perhaps would be a better to start with and use Armstrong as an impact substitute if necessary.
There were far too many fans to judge Parkinson far too quickly based on last weeks result and insist that his reign should come to an end and I get the feeling that this was what was perceived of my article last week.
However, my previous article was to merely highlight what needed to change in terms of team selection and scoreline, and, should Saturday’s result have bared any resemblence to last week’s final score and a clear ignorance towards the clear need for change, then I perhaps could be forgiven for beginning to doubt the gaffer should that have been the case.
As you can all tell though I presume, that hasn't been necessary.
There was some excellent individual performances who were determined to bounce back from last week, particularly Mark Little, Darren Pratley and Ben Alnwick who all deserve recognition for remaining so solid at the back, added to our attacking threat going forward and keeping us in the game respectively.
Karl Henry similarly has been consistently brilliant since his belated arrival whilst an impressive brace from Gary Madine similarly earn him the plaudits and a spot in team of the week.
Despite all these impressive individual efforts, the whole team put in an excellent shift which, you would have to presume is largely down to the manager’s team talks before and half way through the game which gave us the edge and enough of mental strength to see the game out and take three points against a strong Barnsley team who were definitely no mugs.
I think we could all relate to the initial wobble following last week’s battering, but having put it right this weekend has re-assured the majority and we can write the Wolves loss of and put that down to them being on another level this season and we wish them all the best with their promotion push.
Beyond my admiration for Wolves and my praise for the Whites this week though, there’s always room for improvement and still certain things which could be altered without being too nit-picky.
For example, I would've liked to see Adam Le Fondre feature from the off, but this can be overlooked given BGM’s dominance in terms of attacking threat. I do think however that it’s important that we look to fit Alfie in at some point as we all know he is more than capable of playing a vital role in keeping us up this season.
My other point, which I’ve been meaning to raise for weeks, is my pet-hate of us dropping deep so early on. It is rare that we push on for a second or a third in this case when in the lead like we did this week, but even that didn’t stop us from throwing ten men behind the ball after the hour mark passed.
This has to be down to Parkinson’s in-game tactics, but it was almost as if it was the players who took it upon themselves to go on and put the game beyond doubt which was admirable, yet silly that they effectively ignored the repetitive defensive second half tactic.
I don't believe this is purposefully inviting pressure onto us as Parky isn't stupid and isn't blind to what needs to be done to keep us up, but we just need to ensure that we don’t even allow the opposition an opportunity to put us under the cosh late on.
In future weeks, I’d particularly like to see us continue to have this mentality to go on and secure the three points rather than waiting for the opposition to equalise 7 minutes into stoppage time which we really can't afford to be doing in our position. Let’s hope we can keep up what is becoming an impressive home-run from which we are seeing glimpses of last season’s efforts of making the Macron a fortress.
Other than that, I don't think you can be overly-ciritical considering that we’re now out of the drop zone which has given Phil Parkinson the best birthday present of them all after he turned 50 last week.
Happy Birthday Gaffer, we wish him many happy returns and many more happy games in charge.
In Parky we trust.