Let's hope we don't go down to 9 men like we did on the opening game of last season when we got a point at Torquay!
Wembley seems like a long time ago so can't wait for Saturday to come. Stevenage finished 16th last season so on paper its a game where we could pick something up. They have been busy bringing in several players over the summer including Kurtis Guthrie who is quick with an eye for goal.
In goal I am assuming Scottie won't be ready so George will take his place. After that its whether MM goes with 4-4-2 or 5-3-2 and that may depend if we have more striking options in by Saturday. Or even 4-4-1-1
Whilst I'm a fan of Jonny Smith and Cole plus Ben Tollit needs games, I think MM will start with 5-3-2 and something like
Caprice Sutton McNulty Ellis Zoom
gonna be a great turn out bye the S.W.A. got my ticket and been told getting close to 700 already gone cant wait looking forward to seeing are new forward messi lol hope banks and Norburn dont sit back to mutch as they need to be more forward to get more goals 3-0 with a mullin hatrick
I am really looking forward to Saturday and the weeks that follow. Matches at Swindon and Northampton seem far more enticing than they did before our non-league sojourn and it is great to playing at a decent level again.
I agree with Sparky that Stevenage are the kind of side we should be able to compete with, so we will probably learn more about the current squad on Saturday than we did in the whole of pre-season.
With our transfer business still incomplete, and with the variety of options the manager has in most areas, it is virtually impossible to predict the formation or starting line up. However, I am certain that Smith will start as he has been our best player in pre-season, along with Zoum. I would guess that Caprice, McNulty, Ellis, Zoum, Norburn, Banks, Smith. Jennings and Norwood will all play, but in what arrangement I don't know.
Great to hear about the ticket sales, which suggest our following will be over 1,000.
I don't know a great deal about our opponents, or the majority of players in this division. The season will be a learning experience for all of us.
Prediction: a draw, which I will be quite happy with.
Striker required - yep. I suppose the context decides the importance. If MM sees Nors and Mullin as his main men - in his preferred formation, then any incoming striker may only be for the bench and there are also a couple already with us who can double up and support Nors. So maybe the lack of star quality isn't such a big deal whether it is Stockton or the untested kid. If we are not pushing the boat out to go for a bit of tested quality I would prefer the untested kid over Stockton who I never rated. The only upside for choosing Stockton is that you know what he can do. I would even have Waring back at least he may have some room for improvement and did have a decent spell at Barnsley.
I'm not a Guardian reader, but I'd like to see their reasoning for the negativity towards us. I can't see any way we'll struggle this season. We have the momentum from Wembley, improvements in quality and quantity in defence, midfield and goal, and a much better pre-season than 2017. We have a good manager and excellent owners, who will take action if necessary. Only the loss of Andy Cook makes me reticent to predict we'll be challenging for another promotion. The squad does look unbalanced at the moment, but if we can bring in a couple of decent strikers, we'll definitely be top half most of the season and may even get into the play-offs. Last year it was two up, four down. This year it's four up, two down. Much better odds.
Looked at the article online. It’s not in great depth and says that we’ll need goals from Norwood to keep out of trouble. Interesting in tipping our first opponent, Stevenage, as an outside bet for promotion. When we’re likely to be starting with an inexperienced keeper and with no marquee signing of a striker, I can see why people would put us down to struggle. Lincoln strengthened significantly after their promotion, Forest Green less so and flirted with relegation until late on. I don’t know whether this game will provide a reality check or reassurance, but will have a better idea of where we’re at come Saturday evening.
Fair comments BBTC and Boz. Negativity from lack of knowledge perhaps. I follow Guardian football reports but I suspect that articles like this are a bit lightweight and not necessarily written by people with deep knowledge of the League. Still, as Boz says, we should have a better idea on Saturday night.
While I am reasonably optimistic about our chances, I don't think anything is guaranteed. We don't really know what the standard of our opponents will be next season as so few of us have followed League Two recently, and there was a big gulf between Rovers and the League One sides we played in the friendly matches, even Rochdale who only scraped survival last season. I am not panicking because we failed to sign Rowe, but at the same time I would not bet my house on a top half finish.
With regard to the Guardian article, I don't think any of the national newspapers have much idea about lower division football, so I would take their predictions with a pinch of salt. That said, I much prefer The Guardian on virtually any subject to the right-wing Murdoch / Dacre rags we have in this country (Mail, Express, Telegraph, Sunday Times etc....).
I await fans reactions after the first game. Win and we’ll be saying it’s easy, lose and it’ll be panic stations. I think it will probably take half a dozen games or more to find our feet so we probably shouldn’t be too critical in our first few games.
Having read the article, it strikes me as lazy journalism. The writer brackets us with Macclesfield, who have lost the manager who performed a miracle to win promotion in the first place, and have far more limited resources than us.