1) Momentum and promotion
Though Fleetwood picked up three points at Walsall, I still fancy us for that second automatic promotion place. To get there, we need to transfer that away game momentum to home game victories. I’d argue that Fleetwood have an easier set of games than we do, and we must win our game in hand. It’s the perfect time to have Darren Pratley back and Adam Le Fondre firing on all cylinders.
2) Prolific service from the wing
...And I’m not really used to it. Filipe Morais has been putting it on a plate for the big fellas to nod in, and he makes it look so simple. He doesn’t float the ball in; it doesn’t hang in the air waiting for an aggressive head to meet it; it is a pinpoint missile. Or an exocet missile (aren’t commentators, by law, meant to drop that phrase once a game?) If I may steal from an OptaJoe tweet, our Fil has assisted seven goals in the space of four days. Now that’d even be a decent record on the training ground! Keep it up, Sir.
3) Our centre-backs are centre-forwards
Following on from the previous point, David Wheater and Mark Beevers are starting to become commonplace on the scoresheet. Like the Fleetwood game, they both added to their goal tallies yesterday evening. They’re the ultimate partnership and you wouldn’t be surprised to see Wheater perched atop the scorers table at the end of the season. As the song goes, Beevers will head the brick, but you’d better be prepared to stoop and fish it from the net.
4) Gary Madine is key
Madine had a fantastic game against Gillingham. I’ve seen people who say, ‘as a striker, he doesn’t score enough goals’. I understand their point, but I disagree. Firstly, he’s our top scorer with 9 goals and secondly, his game is much more than that. In the second half, he won the majority of aerial duels, he was keen and combative when he dropped back to midfield, and he was unfortunate to leave Priestfield Stadium without an assist. All this with very little change from the referee (as ever), who seemed to have misplaced his whistle for the entirety of the game. With Wheater, Beevers and Le Fondre scoring, Madine can keep doing what he does very well.
5) Priestfield and the odd away atmosphere
The roofless, temporary-but-permanent, scaffolded stand reminded me of our trip to Yeovil. Fortunately we didn’t quite get the bipolar rain-sun-rain of that warm March day in Somerset. Yesterday I found that, as an away fan, it’s very hard to generate an atmosphere on these roofless stands. You sing, you stamp but there is nothing to contain the sound. This led to periods of the game where, even at 2 and 3 up, there was an eery silence from the Wanderers faithful — and even folk commenting on it. I enjoy the old fashioned grounds but can’t say Priestfield is one I’d rush back to. Unless, of course, Wanderers and the Gills can guarantee a similar match outcome.