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Two weeks out, where are we?


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Unlike some City fans I actually have full faith in Nige to improve our performances and results particularly with the defensive strengthening that he’s carried out this summer.

He’ll have a fully fit Williams and King in midfield along with Scott, Sykes and Pring - the only downer is that Semenyo won’t be available until September.

Im not remotely interested in what other Championship clubs have done either and I’m sure Nige won’t care either. 

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I think finishing 12th or above would be progress.

Think you underestimate Luton, true they have lost Naismith but seem to have recruited well to me, think repeating their finish (6th?) is tricky but I wouldn’t rule it out.

Also think Millwall are stronger overall than last season.

Hardly revelatory but think Boro, Sheff U, Watford & Norwich will do well. Burnley are harder to predict but he is getting his own side in early. West Brom have far too much quality to do as badly again & Coventry, Hull (if they gel, but poor if not) are my dark horses. Sunderland need to start well & if they do they’ll generate momentum but I have been surprised how few they’ve signed.

With regards to us I worry about Martin, he’ll be 34 in November & we don’t really have an alternative, Williams hasn’t managed to stay fit nearly enough so far with us & whilst I hope he does, to be available 38 times this season seems a stretch.

I do think we will be better defensively but are relying heavily on Weimann (who had the season of his career & has had no real break at all) & Scott (ditto) to repeat last season again.

As always it is more unpredictable than the Prem, no one saw Huddersfield or Luton as high as they finished & whilst I would like to be optimistic & say why not us, I still think the squad isn’t strong enough overall & we are hamstrung by FFP.

The biggest positive is that pretty much all of us expected at least one of our talented youngsters to have been sold by now, & they haven’t.

Plus incredibly we have managed to offload Palmer.

Edited by GrahamC
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I have a sense of hope that has been missing for a couple of season.

Dare say that will be leaving me in the not too distant, but....

I am impressed with what I hear from the management and his team, the young players will have more experience and hopefully the maturity to deal with increased expectation and, if we can score goals, I think our defensive options look a lot stronger than last season.

No relegation fight required.

To quote the album Phil Colins never wrote.

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3 minutes ago, Robbored said:

Im not remotely interested in what other Championship clubs have done either and I’m sure Nige won’t care either. 

It’s literally Nigel’s job to know what other championship clubs have done, who they’ve signed and how they play and then combat/beat that. If he doesn’t care what they’ve done, I’d suggest he’s not doing his job.

There have been contenders, but this may be a candidate for the most moronic statement I’ve seen on here.

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27 minutes ago, Silvio Dante said:

Preamble: I said last season that I thought this year we’d mount a promotion challenge. So there is confirmation bias here.

There are two weeks to go to the new season. Day one I expect us to line up Bentley-Wilson-DaSilva-Klose-Atkinson-Naismith-Williams-James-Weimann-Wells-Martin

That’s at least a mid table side.

We have a (projected) £20m striker and midfielder to come in and an international centre back, together with HNM. Depth is also there that wasn’t at RB (Tanner), CF (Conway with the extra year), MF (Sykes).

So, again, I ask why we can’t do it? And I look at the competition…

Rotherham - lost players, fall into too good for L1/not good enough for champ

Birmingham - In crisis

Reading - Building a great side for 2014-15

Wigan - Untried

Sunderland - Will be typical Neil side - nasty, hard to beat, but mid table 

Blackpool - Appleton shows budget cuts - in trouble 

Luton - can argue decent signings but from relegated side. Overachieved, unlikely to do so again

Burnley - Massive transition, both players and style

Millwall - lost best player. Mid table at best

Hull - untried team, unused to division. Shit keeper.

Watford - who the hell knows

Boro - expect to be up there. Solid and decent manager

Sheff Utd - transition again. Poor manager, coming to end of cycle

Norwich - Yeah, they might be good

WBA - two strong signings at this level, experienced manager, Dike fit - should be good

Swansea - if in 2022 Joe Allen is your hope, you give up

Stoke - see Joe Allen and read Aden Flint

Cardiff - lots of quantity, questionable quality. Rookie manager to knit it together.

Huddersfield - see Luton. Lost manager, overachieved and unlikely to hit again

Coventry - should be solid and playoff contenders 

Blackburn - lost Lenihan, likely to lose Brereton - transition

Preston - a whole heap of nothing. Signings reflect that

QPR - meh

 

So, I reckon with two weeks out I’m seeing nothing to change my opinion. I’d ask this. If a side, at this level, had:

- A 20 goal championship striker last season

- A central midfielder who is worth £20m

- A beast of a CF who can win games by himself

- The L2 POTY - from bloody right back!

- The best performer from a top 6 side last year

- A proven international CB

- A CM who when he’s in the team increases points by 50%
 

- A gk proven at this level

 Then I’d want that.

So, why not?

Who's worth £20 million?

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4 minutes ago, GrahamC said:

I think finishing 12th or above would be progress.

Think you underestimate Luton, true they have lost Naismith but seem to have recruited well to me, think repeating their finish (6th?) is tricky but I wouldn’t rule it out.

Also think Millwall are stronger overall than last season.

Hardly revelatory but think Boro, Sheff U, Watford & Norwich will do well. Burnley are harder to predict but he is getting his own side in early. West Brom have far too much quality to do as badly again & Coventry, Hull (if they gel, but poor if not) are my dark horses. Sunderland need to start well & if they do they’ll generate momentum but I have been surprised how few they’ve signed.

With regards to us I worry about Martin, he’ll be 34 in November & we don’t really have an alternative, Williams hasn’t managed to stay fit nearly enough so far with us & whilst I hope he does, to be available 38 times this season seems a stretch.

I do think we will be better defensively but are relying on Weimann (who has had no real break at all) & Scott (ditto) to repeat last season again.

As always it is more unpredictable than the Prem, no one saw Huddersfield or Luton as high as they finished & whilst I would like to be optimistic & say why not us, I still think the squad isn’t strong enough overall & we are hamstrung by FFP.

The biggest positive is that pretty much all of us expected at least one of our talented youngsters to have been sold by now, & they haven’t.

Plus incredibly we have managed to offload Palmer.

I don’t think that’s a bad analysis. My feeling is that this is a very open division - and I’d pick 3 of the 5 you mention as being certainly up there. My big point is twofold - there are a lot of “transitional” teams and we have a lot of players, who if we weren’t City fans, would look at and want them. I’d argue most teams in this division (to varying degrees) would want Bents, Wilson, Scott, Kalas, Williams (when fit), Weimann, Naismith and Semenyo. And Tbf Atkinson, DaSilva etc aren’t far behind.

If I look at a championship side and would be happy with 8/11 in my team, I’d see them as contenders. And I believe we have a boss who knows how to use them.

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5 minutes ago, Silvio Dante said:

It’s literally Nigel’s job to know what other championship clubs have done, who they’ve signed and how they play and then combat/beat that. If he doesn’t care what they’ve done, I’d suggest he’s not doing his job.

There have been contenders, but this may be a candidate for the most moronic statement I’ve seen on here.

Nige will know what other clubs have done - that’s part of his job but will he care? I seriously doubt it. Like all decent managers he’ll be concentrating of his own squad and he and his coaching team will be building a squad capable of being a force this season - that’ll be his number 1 priority.

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My honest assessment is as follows:

Pros:

  • We seem to have recruited well and have potentially addressed a number of our weaknesses of last season.
  • We have increased our depth in central defence
  • The addition of Wilson and the return to fitness of Tanner should address our key weakness from last season.
  • Semenyo, Weimann and Martin are a potent attacking combination 
  • We've a lot of genuinely exciting young talent emerging
  • I agree with the above posters saying we have several players other teams would want.

Cons:

  • We're arguably still a centre-back in (and a move out for Vyner) away from where we want to be defensively 
  • We've (so far) not managed to sign a defensive midfielder
  • We lack depth in attack. Conway and Bell are untested and Wells struggles for fluency within the team.
  • The absence of Semenyo for the beginning of the season.
  • Related to that, we're yet to show we've.a solution for the lack of attacking movement without Semenyo in the team.
  • We don't yet know if James and Williams will function as we hope as a midfield combination and we risk being over-run in midfield.

 

I think we've definitely improved the squad and I'd hope for a mid-table finish or above. Beyond that, I think a lot depends on fitness and the rest of the transfer window. If we manage to move Vyner out and get in one more central defender, a defensive midfielder and one more forward without losing any player we didn't want to move on then I'd start to feel we could mount a challenge. As it is, I think our first team is a good one but we're relying on Semenyo returning quickly and key players avoiding injury after that. 

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My concerns are on playing a James and Williams midfield and playing Chris Martin for the majority of the season again. For me, those two things combined you aren’t a playoff side. A lesser concern is will Weimann be as prolific? If he isn’t, the way we played last season won’t make any sense and that is how we have set up this season.

For me, it is an easy solve. Drop a forward and use a more traditional midfielder. This will probably work better when Semenyo is fit. A Scott, Williams and James trio makes me feel a lot better. Massengo in the rotation for any of them as well. With Sykes and Weimann in more advanced roles when needed. Martin more often a sub to change games when needed. 
 

I like to start with the bad(imo). For the good, there are plenty of positives. Naismith looks classy in there. Wilson is an instant upgrade. I think Tanner looks sharp and fit again. Conway looks ready to contribute even if not regularly just yet(would not loan him out). Sykes can help out in multiple roles allowing others to not have to do so. 
 

It has the feel of a much better side this season. I just can’t help but think our best XI probably does not involve Martin and James/Williams(not dynamic enough for me as a pair no problem with them as players). However, they seem to be mainstays for NP. Of course he knows more than me but it is how I see it. All in all I look forward to a more consistent side with a bit more excitement in it. Especially when Semenyo returns

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I have faith in Nige, jury is out on Gould however imo. We haven’t addressed the biggest issues in the squad, the high wages, unwanted players and contractual issues.

massengo contract or sale

kalas contract or sale

Bentley contract or sale

wells contract or sale

bakinson sale

vyner sale

all the above listed purely from our fragile financial standing. Surely should all be priority?

 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, BLRed said:

I have faith in Nige, jury is out on Gould however imo. We haven’t addressed the biggest issues in the squad, the high wages, unwanted players and contractual issues.

massengo contract or sale

kalas contract or sale

Bentley contract or sale

wells contract or sale

bakinson sale

vyner sale

all the above listed purely from our fragile financial standing. Surely should all be priority?

 

 

 

This is such a Football Manager response.

Tell me, what do you if no one wants to buy any of these players & they are unwilling to sign new contracts or we don’t want to give them a new one?

So far we have moved on big wage earners in Palmer & O’Dowda plus lower earners in Cundy, Janneh & Britton.

Presumably Shrewsbury & Ross County are making contributions to Taylor Moore & Owura Edwards’ wages too.

By my estimate therefore our wage bill has decreased, not by much, but it is going in the right direction.

Do you honestly think we have turned down bids for the players you list?

Saying “sell” is so much easier than achieving it.

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2 minutes ago, GrahamC said:

This is such a Football Manager response.

Tell me, what do you if no one wants to buy any of these players & they are unwilling to sign new contracts or we don’t want to give them a new one?

So far we have moved on big wage earners in Palmer & O’Dowda plus lower earners in Cundy, Janneh & Britton.

Presumably Shrewsbury & Ross County are making contributions to Taylor Moore & Owura Edwards’ wages too.

By my estimate therefore our wage bill has decreased, not by much, but it is going in the right direction.

Do you honestly think we have turned down bids for the players you list?

Saying “sell” is so much easier than achieving it.

Probably no more than the clubs they were on loan at last season were contributing and therefore doesn't change the level for this season.

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19 minutes ago, GrahamC said:

This is such a Football Manager response.

Tell me, what do you if no one wants to buy any of these players & they are unwilling to sign new contracts or we don’t want to give them a new one?

So far we have moved on big wage earners in Palmer & O’Dowda plus lower earners in Cundy, Janneh & Britton.

Presumably Shrewsbury & Ross County are making contributions to Taylor Moore & Owura Edwards’ wages too.

By my estimate therefore our wage bill has decreased, not by much, but it is going in the right direction.

Do you honestly think we have turned down bids for the players you list?

Saying “sell” is so much easier than achieving it.

Change sell to ‘move on’ then. A more open ended word. Sentiment still the same.

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13 minutes ago, Lrrr said:

Probably no more than the clubs they were on loan at last season were contributing and therefore doesn't change the level for this season.

He means overall (all the ins and outs) not just the loans.

FWIW I think Pearson, Gould and Tinnion are working well as a team.  The summer window has a month and a half to run yet, that’s a long time.

I know (from someone on here) that at least one player of the “summer of 23” OOC players is in negotiations re extending their time here.  The club don’t play out those discussions in the media in the main.  We know Massengo and Semenyo have been offered deals.

From memory (according to another poster) Pring’s last contract took a few months to go from being “done” to being officially announced.

Some players, the ones who as fans we think might need to accept a paycut, are gonna leave it as long as possible if that’s the case….they’re hardly gonna rush into it.

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2 hours ago, Silvio Dante said:

Preamble: I said last season that I thought this year we’d mount a promotion challenge. So there is confirmation bias here.

There are two weeks to go to the new season. Day one I expect us to line up Bentley-Wilson-DaSilva-Klose-Atkinson-Naismith-Williams-James-Weimann-Wells-Martin

That’s at least a mid table side.

We have a (projected) £20m striker and midfielder to come in and an international centre back, together with HNM. Depth is also there that wasn’t at RB (Tanner), CF (Conway with the extra year), MF (Sykes).

So, again, I ask why we can’t do it? And I look at the competition…

Rotherham - lost players, fall into too good for L1/not good enough for champ

Birmingham - In crisis

Reading - Building a great side for 2014-15

Wigan - Untried

Sunderland - Will be typical Neil side - nasty, hard to beat, but mid table 

Blackpool - Appleton shows budget cuts - in trouble 

Luton - can argue decent signings but from relegated side. Overachieved, unlikely to do so again

Burnley - Massive transition, both players and style

Millwall - lost best player. Mid table at best

Hull - untried team, unused to division. Shit keeper.

Watford - who the hell knows

Boro - expect to be up there. Solid and decent manager

Sheff Utd - transition again. Poor manager, coming to end of cycle

Norwich - Yeah, they might be good

WBA - two strong signings at this level, experienced manager, Dike fit - should be good

Swansea - if in 2022 Joe Allen is your hope, you give up

Stoke - see Joe Allen and read Aden Flint

Cardiff - lots of quantity, questionable quality. Rookie manager to knit it together.

Huddersfield - see Luton. Lost manager, overachieved and unlikely to hit again

Coventry - should be solid and playoff contenders 

Blackburn - lost Lenihan, likely to lose Brereton - transition

Preston - a whole heap of nothing. Signings reflect that

QPR - meh

 

So, I reckon with two weeks out I’m seeing nothing to change my opinion. I’d ask this. If a side, at this level, had:

- A 20 goal championship striker last season

- A central midfielder who is worth £20m

- A beast of a CF who can win games by himself

- The L2 POTY - from bloody right back!

- The best performer from a top 6 side last year

- A proven international CB

- A CM who when he’s in the team increases points by 50%
 

- A gk proven at this level

 Then I’d want that.

So, why not?

Wow - a very detailed and analytical post SD - fair play to you. One quick point though - you dismissed Hull City as being ‘unused to this division’ - yet Hull City has been in the championship for four out of the last five seasons and eleven out of the last seventeen seasons ... wouldn’t that track record make them very ‘used to this division’ ?!

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5 minutes ago, Davefevs said:

He means overall (all the ins and outs) not just the loans.

FWIW I think Pearson, Gould and Tinnion are working well as a team.  The summer window has a month and a half to run yet, that’s a long time.

I know (from someone on here) that at least one player of the “summer of 23” OOC players is in negotiations re extending their time here.  The club don’t play out those discussions in the media in the main.  We know Massengo and Semenyo have been offered deals.

From memory (according to another poster) Pring’s last contract took a few months to go from being “done” to being officially announced.

Some players, the ones who as fans we think might need to accept a paycut, are gonna leave it as long as possible if that’s the case….they’re hardly gonna rush into it.

I get that, but just pointing out its not all creating more than last season, could have just listed the elements that actually are contributing to us spending less than last season

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3 minutes ago, Lrrr said:

I get that, but just pointing out its not all creating more than last season, could have just listed the elements that actually are contributing to us spending less than last season

A budget is a budget, it looks as if we’ve reduced it overall (again).  Budgets have flex in them, might spend a bit more in one area, to recoup it in another.  I don’t see anything wrong with what Graham has stated.

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Just now, Davefevs said:

A budget is a budget, it looks as if we’ve reduced it overall (again).  Budgets have flex in them, might spend a bit more in one area, to recoup it in another.  I don’t see anything wrong with what Graham has stated.

I'm not saying its 'wrong' as such, but just shining a light on it for awareness so its not taken as Ross County/Shrewsbury probably paying a bigger chunk for each player for example. 

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I like our direction of travel, and we will improve on last season’s league position. 

However, I’d like an under-study to Martin. Nige likes a big man upfront and it was proven last season that Martin is, at best, a max 2 games in 7 days forward. 

Also have a concern about the 2-3 forwards approach which is great to watch, but which seems to leave us short in midfield with large amounts of free space in front of our defence. Not sure we have the midfield players who can effectively fill that space, but maybe a re-designed defence can push players up to plug the gaps.

If those two issues are effectively addressed, a pretty bullish upper mid-table for me, with a good start we could even seriously threaten the play-off places.

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I do get the 'budgetary' issue but feel we are at least 2 short, as things stand.

Our defensive frailties really worry me and I'm not convinced the 3 bright lights won't be sold.

Glass half empty maybe but, and I apologise, I reckon we're in for another season of struggle.

I pray I'm wrong, obviously.

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