It’s the time of year that, as football fans, we try to grab any sense of the new season starting so this week’s Capital One Cup draw and fixtures release were welcomed with open arms. Now with the players due back in training tomorrow and the first friendly in just two weeks’ time, the process begins again.
The fixtures machine threw up a tasty trip to a celebrating Bristol Rovers on the opening day with the Gas likely to be still on a huge high after their dramatic playoff final win and promotion whilst the campaign ends with a trip to a Portsmouth side who surely have to get it right this season and challenge for promotion.
The cup draw at home to Blackpool is a decent one and it should get the juices flowing on the home front against a side who will likely still be wounded from a disastrous season last time out. The Cobblers’ record in the competition against higher league opposition is impressive and it’s a very attractive tie and an early test of Chris Wilder’s new look outfit.
What the team will look like by then is still up in the air with still no news on one goalkeeper, let alone the two that we need. The thing that’s been impressive about the signings so far is that they either show a bit of guile and/or what appears to be a fighting spirit that’s so crucial to League Two football. Still needed is another Jason Taylor type in the middle of the park for back up and competition and a couple of out and out strikers. I’d love to see us go for another goal scorer in the Rico mould because of last season’s problems when he was injured. The coming days, as we report back, should see a bit more progress on new faces with contracts officially running down at this point in the summer.
It’s been great to have a summer focus on other competitions to keep the appetite going in the meantime and the England Women’s team have been doing a great job with their chance in the spotlight in a year with no major competition from the men’s side of things. Progression further and further in the World Cup could prove to be huge for the women’s game in this country with international exposure hopefully turning in to an increased interest in the national women’s game.
I couldn’t resist dipping into the Under 21s championship and Copa America (go on Peru!) but it’s the fixtures that begin on August 8th that by far hold the key to reigniting the football fuel for good. Won’t be long now…