• Nigel Adkins has been given the Tranmere job on a permanent basis signing until the end of the 25/26 season. Continue the discussion here.

League Two Rovers (3) v Salford (4)

Match result

  • Rovers

    Votes: 4 57.1%
  • Draw

    Votes: 2 28.6%
  • Salford

    Votes: 1 14.3%

  • Total voters
    7
  • Poll closed .
Rovers (3) v Salford (4)
Posted by Ian
Prenton Park
Saturday, August 19, 2023 - 03:00 PM
Until: Saturday, August 19, 2023 - 05:00 PM
(Adjusted for timezone: Europe/London)
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Joined
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Interesting fact: Salford have won more away points in League Two than any other side since the start of last season. On yesterday’s showing, ignoring the negatives from our own performance, you can see why; lots of pace, creativity and clinical finishing
Which makes it more remarkable that, just six months ago, in the latter days of the Mellon era, we took three points and kept a clean sheet at PP against away specialists Salford with this:

IMG_1436.jpeg

I’d love to know what, if anything, Dawes thinks he learned from that performance. It’s one thing to pioneer a change of style, but he’s throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
 
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I’m not able to get to games due to the distance and other commitments so following from afar!

I’m bemused as to why we signed Norris and Dennis who on paper look like a good pairing, with Taylor and Hemmings/Saunders for back up - and then spend a whole pre-season doing 4-3-3. Dennis is a classic poacher and Norris a target man, neither fit a 4-3-3. Pretty obvious to me they should be in a 2.

The central midfield to me looks really poor with the exception of Hendry. It’s very impressive to manage to have 7 midfielders, none of whom can put a tackle in!

Out wide we seem to have several similar players who all cut in and lack genuine pace.

I think we’ve had another muddled recruitment strategy that has left us with a hodgepodge squad with some good players but no obvious plan. Zero competition for the back 4 is a recipe for disaster in my view as well.

This season feels very similar to Rob Edwards/Jackson. I hope he proves me wrong but I think the writing is on the wall for Dawes.

His constant tinkering and dramatic subs are a sign of a manager who doesn’t know his best 11 or plan to me. He’s also fixing problems of his own making through poor selection choices e.g. at Mk Dons.

I’m not surprised by all this, as hiring a manager who has been sacked twice within 12 months of starting in Wales and Malta gives you a fairly good indication of what to expect is going to happen…! Hope I’m wrong.
I agree with a lot of the above, but I think the squad is better than last season's.

The two major deficiencies last year were in the goalkeeping and striking positions and they have been addressed. The midfield is similar to last season, but arguably slightly stronger as Hendry is now here permanently and has settled. We are weaker at the back, but Turnbull and Davies remain one of the best centre half pairings in the division.

A good manager would improve on last season's performance with these players in my view.
 

ADD

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Looking back at the extended highlights all the four goals reflected a bad day at the office across the defence but especially Leake.

The first Leake was on the wrong side and therefore had no clue where he was. Then both Turnbull and Davies failed to pick up Smith and instead marked space.
Second goal a recycled punt forward from their GK culminating in a poor back pass by Leake straight to Smith however both Davies and Turnbull had opportunities to shut him down but failed to do so.
Third - Leake missed his header, then Hendry fearful of giving away a penalty failed to put a tackle in on their Hendry whilst nobody else made any form of tackle.
Fourth a long ball straight to Hendry who inexplicably Davies had allowed around 6 or 7 yards of space who was then easily beaten once Hendry had controlled it.

Leake in particular needs to up his game and quickly given both Harrogate and Salford had clearly identified him as a weakness and played on it. He was awful on Saturday and as Rovertillidie said above we have no realistic alternative for him as Mikey Davis clearly isn't ready which is a real concern.
 
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Which makes it more remarkable that, just six months ago, in the latter days of the Mellon era, we took three points and kept a clean sheet at PP against away specialists Salford with this:

View attachment 357

I’d love to know what, if anything, Dawes thinks he learned from that performance. It’s one thing to pioneer a change of style, but he’s throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
We were also unable to beat Harrogate in both league games last season, albeit under both managers. Kind of highlights that using one game/opponent isn’t really the litmus test. It’s fairly obvious that some weren’t enamoured with the appointment of Dawes (some quite openly stated the fact at the time and have continued to do so) and there’d be a sense of perverse satisfaction and “I told you so” if it goes pear-shaped. Before anyone jumps down my throat, it’s a generic statement, not in response to you O4, based on social media/forum reactions and first-hand experience from various people who attend regularly. I was never a “Mellon-hater” and was sad to see him go, but the reality is that he has gone and it’s a new beginning and I’ll be supportive of Dawes, akin to my support of Mellon. Lastly, I find it interesting that there’s a thought-process that Mellon had his hands tied e.g. recruitment, by Palios and somehow Dawes has the freedom of PP (much like Salford’s 24!); personally, I’m not so sure about that one; attacking football was a referenced aim under both managers. We’ll never know the reality of what’s gone on or continues to go on behind closed doors and it’ll all be speculation on our part. Mellon for a third-term anyone.
I’ll go and hide behind the sofa now, be gentle!
 
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Looking back at the extended highlights all the four goals reflected a bad day at the office across the defence but especially Leake.

The first Leake was on the wrong side and therefore had no clue where he was. Then both Turnbull and Davies failed to pick up Smith and instead marked space.
Second goal a recycled punt forward from their GK culminating in a poor back pass by Leake straight to Smith however both Davies and Turnbull had opportunities to shut him down but failed to do so.
Third - Leake missed his header, then Hendry fearful of giving away a penalty failed to put a tackle in on their Hendry whilst nobody else made any form of tackle.
Fourth a long ball straight to Hendry who inexplicably Davies had allowed around 6 or 7 yards of space who was then easily beaten once Hendry had controlled it.

Leake in particular needs to up his game and quickly given both Harrogate and Salford had clearly identified him as a weakness and played on it. He was awful on Saturday and as Rovertillidie said above we have no realistic alternative for him as Mikey Davis clearly isn't ready which is a real concern.
There was no protection for the defence from the midfield all game, and Leake in particular was left completely exposed. It is no surprise when a young player struggles in those circumstances.
 
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Joined
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We were also unable to beat Harrogate in both league games last season, albeit under both managers. Kind of highlights that using one game/opponent isn’t really the litmus test. It’s fairly obvious that some weren’t enamoured with the appointment of Dawes (some quite openly stated the fact at the time and have continued to do so) and there’d be a sense of perverse satisfaction and “I told you so” if it goes pear-shaped. Before anyone jumps down my throat, it’s a generic statement, not in response to you O4, based on social media/forum reactions and first-hand experience from various people who attend regularly. I was never a “Mellon-hater” and was sad to see him go, but the reality is that he has gone and it’s a new beginning and I’ll be supportive of Dawes, akin to my support of Mellon. Lastly, I find it interesting that there’s a thought-process that Mellon had his hands tied e.g. recruitment, by Palios and somehow Dawes has the freedom of PP (much like Salford’s 24!); personally, I’m not so sure about that one; attacking football was a referenced aim under both managers. We’ll never know the reality of what’s gone on or continues to go on behind closed doors and it’ll all be speculation on our part. Mellon for a third-term anyone.
I’ll go and hide behind the sofa now, be gentle!
Nobody is suggesting that Dawes has complete freedom in terms of recruitment. However, he clearly has better attacking options than we did last season with the acquisition of Norris, Dennis and Jennings due to a number of factors. As a result, he has a greater chance of success.

The discussion concerns Ian Dawes' suitability for the role of manager, not the record of previous managers. His performance so far is unconvincing and he needs to improve. For what it is worth, I think Palios will be desperate to prove he has not made another managerial error and will give Dawes as long as he possibly can.
 

tyke

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Is it really possible to achieve success in this league without a defensive screening type of midfielder? A Spearing or a Jay Harris type is essential. So if Walker isn't fit, either import someone or revert to O'Connor and find a right back. And find a Simeu to provide more cover at the back.
 
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We were also unable to beat Harrogate in both league games last season, albeit under both managers. Kind of highlights that using one game/opponent isn’t really the litmus test. It’s fairly obvious that some weren’t enamoured with the appointment of Dawes (some quite openly stated the fact at the time and have continued to do so) and there’d be a sense of perverse satisfaction and “I told you so” if it goes pear-shaped. Before anyone jumps down my throat, it’s a generic statement, not in response to you O4, based on social media/forum reactions and first-hand experience from various people who attend regularly. I was never a “Mellon-hater” and was sad to see him go, but the reality is that he has gone and it’s a new beginning and I’ll be supportive of Dawes, akin to my support of Mellon. Lastly, I find it interesting that there’s a thought-process that Mellon had his hands tied e.g. recruitment, by Palios and somehow Dawes has the freedom of PP (much like Salford’s 24!); personally, I’m not so sure about that one; attacking football was a referenced aim under both managers. We’ll never know the reality of what’s gone on or continues to go on behind closed doors and it’ll all be speculation on our part. Mellon for a third-term anyone.
I’ll go and hide behind the sofa now, be gentle!
All well and good but Dawes has been appointed to pioneer a change of style and get results, and I‘m starting to question whether he’s so focussed on the former that he’s losing sight of, or simply doesn’t know, how to get the latter.

Salford illustrates that point perfectly. Last season’s victories and clean sheets were achieved, maybe against the odds, by deploying smart tactics and pragmatism - essentials for any successful team. Now Dawes has spent the last two years supposedly learning from the arch pragmatist. He even acknowledged himself, just last Tuesday, that we there’ll be games in which we need to be able to grind out results, and surely no better example than a clash with a serious promotion contender (as Salford were both last season and this). For him to then get it so badly wrong on Saturday is utterly bemusing.

A further illustration of that point (style v results) is his current record of 3 league wins in 13, although I can give him some leeway for the end of last season, and give him more time to prove himself this season. But I’m still not seeing much evidence of smart tactics and pragmatism bubbling beneath the surface of all those draws and defeats. Gung ho football alone achieves nothing.

Beyond that, for me, Micky needn’t even be part of the conversation. For example at the top end of the scale we can draw instead on Kingy and, in a different way, Aldo, who both got us on the edge of our seats with attacking football allied with pragmatism, and achieved success. At the other end of the scale, Barnes and Worthy (bless him) tried to deliver attacking football but lacked any pragmatism, and failed. Dawes needs to find a decent measure of both pdq.
 
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bigmart

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Is it really possible to achieve success in this league without a defensive screening type of midfielder? A Spearing or a Jay Harris type is essential. So if Walker isn't fit, either import someone or revert to O'Connor and find a right back. And find a Simeu to provide more cover at the back.
We have 3 players thar can play that role, O'Connor currently right back, Walker and Merrie both who are not currently fit enough. It's a pivotal role in whatever formation is used and needs to be resolved quickly.
I would like to see O'Connor back in there but feel any right back brought in is likely to be young and inexperienced
 

Ian

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I think Palios will be desperate to prove he has not made another managerial error and will give Dawes as long as he possibly can.
Absolutely. I think it would have to get pretty bad before he sacked him.
 

Sparky

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Yes and I don’t think Palios would give much if any thought to Dawes tenure last season. Whereas this season he’s had a proper pre season and been able to bring in players he wants. So no changes will be made I suspect until at least 10-12 league games.

As has been said, we can’t properly compare Micky and Dawes because the latter overall has a better squad to use. I thought Micky had to go at the time and shouldn’t have come back, but I’m starting to wonder if the grass isn’t always greener…….
 

Boz

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The defending in the Salford game seems to have been especially poor and as others have fairly remarked both involves failings of other experienced players to protect Leake and Dawes’ and the management team not making the tactical adjustments to reduce the pressure down our left side.

Overall I would say the squad is stronger this year, but that masks some deficiencies. Much better in terms of forward options and goalkeeping an upgrade. Midfield is about the same, not brought in a creative playmaker or a wide player with some pace. Defensively we lost two of the best full-backs at this level. I had reservations about Leake at the time, no FL experience and his last loan spell at a club who got relegated. It seems opponents are becoming alert to his weaknesses and while he may be able to adapt and overcome some of them, it will not happen overnight. Less on an issue on the right, though O’Connor may be better deployed elsewhere if we had that option, given the need for a midfield enforcer.

Debatable any of the current alternatives to Leake are viable. Merrie as makeshift left-back had difficulties, Morris/Hawkes wing-backs at best and neither really worked well at it. Mikey Davies young and raw, though unsure there is as big a gulf between him and Leake as initially perceived. Could Turnbull play there and use Yarney in central defence?

I would say that Mellon was the wrong appointment second time round for the development route Mark Palios wanted to go down. However given that model seems to have been severely curtailed now, it is harder to fathom his thinking on MM.
 

Ian

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Leake just needs a bit more protection. No doubt Dawes will have addressed this :unsure:
 

Sparky

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As boz suggests the irony won’t be lost on Micky in that he had this new development policy to work with, that Vaughan and Palios were clearly fans of. Vaughan jumps ship, Micky loses his job and just a few months later Palios changes the approach and deliberately goes in a different direction by bringing in experienced players with a history of promotion from this level. Just the type of players Micky used to always look for, especially in January windows.

Even if Dawes does eventually go I’m sure Micky wouldn’t return (and won’t even be asked), but once again we’d be looking for an experienced manager with experience of promotions from this level.

Anyhow hopefully it doesn’t come to that
 
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Try telling Palios his overall strategy has changed. It hasn’t. It’s simply being better implemented (…well, in terms of players at least!!). And implementation of that same strategy will likely continue be refined, one way or another, going forward.
 

Sparky

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It clearly has changed. He admitted pre season (as did Dawes), that the squad last season was unbalanced with not enough experience and leadership. Carrying on with the same would have likely meant the same.
So it has changed and most would agree for the better. The question is whether the new manager can get the best out of the group we have.
 

bigmart

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As boz suggests the irony won’t be lost on Micky in that he had this new development policy to work with, that Vaughan and Palios were clearly fans of. Vaughan jumps ship, Micky loses his job and just a few months later Palios changes the approach and deliberately goes in a different direction by bringing in experienced players with a history of promotion from this level. Just the type of players Micky used to always look for, especially in January windows.

Even if Dawes does eventually go I’m sure Micky wouldn’t return (and won’t even be asked), but once again we’d be looking for an experienced manager with experience of promotions from this level.

Anyhow hopefully it doesn’t come to that
If Dawes was to leave, Danns or Parky would be manager
 
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It clearly has changed. He admitted pre season (as did Dawes), that the squad last season was unbalanced with not enough experience and leadership. Carrying on with the same would have likely meant the same..
That was NEVER the STRATEGY though, it’s simply what poor implementation of the strategy delivered last season. Corrective implementation has since been taken, so we’ll see how well that goes.

It’s pretty clear (well, to me at least) that the STRATEGIC plan REMAINS focused on development. It certainly hasn’t reverted back to the strategy of the first half dozen or so years of the Palios era, which was characterised by squads with an average age in the late twenties, with relatively few players yet to reach their full potential, with no real commitment to developing a steady stream of younger players who can do a job and, in some cases, might generate one or two decent transfer fees year in year out, or carrying something like 30% wastage in the playing budget (MP’s figure), etc etc.

I doubt the Palios strategy ever will revert to that, because he’s pretty adamant it was unsustainable. With the Ingleborough windfall long since spent, the generosity of PJ now used up, and no new external investment for a while, I can understand why, and why the focus has shifted to development. It may have even had to. And that’s probably just one reason (of many) why a third Mellon coming under MP is a complete non-starter imho. (EDIT - even though I agree with the irony that MM probably could get a decent tune out of this squad).
 
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Always struck me as odd that we appointed the manager before we appointed the technical director. May have just been down to tying up the formalities I suppose, but still.
 
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