The season so far has been far from a complete disaster but as we head into a weekend off, it feels like the whole club needs a reboot. There’s no better time for the break with all of those injuries starting to finally clear up and the mood around the camp one of general frustration and even apathy in some quarters.
I’ve never known a season like it for crocked players and it’s a miracle these days if we get through a couple of training sessions without any new injuries so to have the good news this week that FIVE are due back by the time we play Plymouth Argyle next weekend is a huge relief. Even if it does take a few games to fully re-integrate the likes of Lewis Hornby (out for over a year) and Evan Horwood (since the end of last season) I would swap a couple of teething problems for a side that’s not changing personnel each and every week.
I’m intrigued as to how Hornby is re-introduced after so long on the sidelines. His promise before the injury was high and with so many ins and outs in central midfield already this season there’s a big, big chance for him to make himself known once again. Horwood was a key man in the survival team from a few months ago and he’ll be welcomed back with open arms. With Zander Diamond and Ryan Cresswell also on the mend there could be a major change to the defence by the time we host the Pilgrims.
What Chris Wilder really needs is a period of playing the side he wants to and sticking with it. The selection at Southend was built to shut them out for a point with five central midfielders locking the door before Jordan Archer’s red card putting pay to those plans. Wilder is losing friends for some of his more negative tactics and hopefully he’s able to convert his flying wingers back to the consistent nature of their early season form.
It can often be less exciting for supporters stuck in a mid-table trench then it can when we’re needed the most in a relegation dog fight or promotion battle but after a couple of weeks without action the claret faithful need a bit of a spark to warm the winter cockles. We’ve got just over a week to take a breather and come back with a renewed sense of vigour.
Let’s hope we can pass the first test and get through that time with no new additions to what’s been a horrible spell of injuries. Even though mid-table is our friend, there’s plenty to play for and plenty still at stake…