Judgement Day

By Sam Searle
Last updated : 27 September 2004
Leroy Rosenior asked us not to judge his team too early, and to wait until we were ten games into the campaign. So ten games in, what is the footy-mad verdict?

Results -
So far disasterous, one win (away at Stockport) three draws and six defeats. This includes no wins at Plainmoor. Four of our defeats have been against the top four in League One, which is not too bad, as long as we can get results against middle or lower table clubs. Other defeats against MK Dons and Hartlepool should be games we can win.

Performances - Perhaps one of the only highlights is the fact that United are still playing good passing football. The commitment of the players can not be faulted, they work hard and play well, but little mistakes are being severely punished, which did not happen last season.

Transfers - Replacing David Graham was never going to be easy, but the club could have at least tried. They have brought in striker Adebayo Akinfenwa, who has yet to settle in the team following a hamstring injury, on a free from Doncaster Rovers, but it is midfield where United have made the most improvements. New players in are Bruno Meireles, Stuart Wardley, Martin Phillips and Stuart Boardley, a new midfield four in it's own right. Match these with Alex Russell, Jason Fowler, Tony Bedeau, Kevin Hill and Matt Hockley and there is plenty of competition for places.

In defence we lost Reuben Hazell and Dave Woozley and replaced them with loan signings Gareth Owen (Stoke City) and Matt Villis (Plymouth Argyle), two experienced players replaced by two rookies. It is the defence which has probably been the most disappointing, especially following last season when they appeared to be rocks.

Injuries - At one stage the club were in danger of not being able to field five substitutes, with injuries to Woods, Hill, Akinfenwa, Russell, Fowler and Canoville, while waiting for the likes of Meireles and Wardley to achieve match fitness. Now the team is finally at full strength and we await a return to form.

Goalkeepers - This has been a farce! Taking Gillingham goalkeeper Bertrand Bossu on loan disillusioned regular keeper Arjan van Heusden, and then following Bossu's return through an injury, which prevented him taking goal kicks, putting Kevin Dearden in goal against Sheffield Wednesday meant that van Heusden announced his retirement from the club upon sale of his house.

This meant United would be left with player-coach Dearden as the only goalkeeper the club had. The club has attempted to rectify this by taking former Icelandic International Olafur Gottskalksson on a contract until the end of the season, unfortunately he can not play until he has repaid his insurance money, which he received for having a career ending injury!!

Overall - United have not started well and are second from bottom. It is time to put that behind them and start picking up points, which they are more than capable of now that the squad is fully fit. If a signing is to be made, it needs to be a striker, although Gritton has scored a respectible four this season, he does need someone to take the pressure off him.

United to stay up? It will be a tough battle and only a very brave man would bet against relegation at this stage.

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