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Thread: The County Championship

  1. #151

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    Blackpool?

  2. #152

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    Isn't everywhere within 60 miles of Birmingham?!

    I'll go Shrewsbury.

  3. #153

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    Peterborugh

  4. #154

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    Quote Originally Posted by Redknapp69 View Post
    Peterborugh
    My expenses don't say that's less than 60 miles

  5. #155

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    County that's hard to tick off, step back down in division (back to the Northern Premier?), within 60 miles of Solihull (and I reckon it must be more than 50 miles away, otherwise you would have said 'within 50 miles' )... Gloucester?

  6. #156
    ebfatz is offline Social Media Bod
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobMem View Post
    Isn't everywhere within 60 miles of Birmingham?!

    I'll go Shrewsbury.
    Ding ding ding.
    We have a winner.

    We'll call that square after the Harry Bow wager!!

  7. #157
    ebfatz is offline Social Media Bod
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    July 2016 (cont'd)

    A new club. A new start. I have actually had to make a step down to leave Luton and find myself back in League Two (Third Division) after just being promoted from it. A club that is situated just 60 miles from my first job at Solihull. But, most importantly of course, in a different county. A county which may have proved hard to tick off due to the lack of teams situated in it. I am happy to have moved on. My work with Luton was done and I wish them well in their endeavours in League One. It'll be tough for them and a lot will depend on who they appoint as my successor.

    As for me, my new side were formed in 1886 and elected to play league football in 1950. Interestingly for an English team, they have won the Welsh Cup six times. They used to play at a ground called Gay Meadow before moving in 2007 to the equally badly named Greenhous Meadow.

    My new team is:

    Spoiler!


    They were a side on the up. They had won the Conference last season and were only defeated in the FA Trophy Final after a replay.
    The board have asked me to guide the club to a respectable league position.
    Time to sit down and look at the squad and see if that is attainable with what I have already and what and where I will need to strengthen.

    The squad consisted of:

    Goalkeepers

    Spoiler!


    Defenders

    Spoiler!


    Midfielders

    Spoiler!


    Attackers

    Spoiler!



    The squad was not good. 29 players but some of them were out of their depth even at this level. It needed improvement. There were a couple of decent players. It was just my luck that Nelthorpe is a left winger and won't fit into my 4-1-3-2. I can't be sure that the playing a winger out of position trick will work again like it did with Ryan Hall at Luton.
    One thing is for sure. The squad as it stands will not be challenging for winning any trophies this season without changes but with it being July 11 on the day I was unveiled as manager, I am already behind on many other clubs in terms of getting signings in through the door.


    Matches and Roundup

    First thing that happened was Ian Sharps walking into my new office on my second morning at the club and announcing that he was going to retire immediately. Bit of a shock but at 35, it probably saved me a job of transfer listing him.
    The next thing on the agenda was to organise the annual 'Make Money Cup'.
    I looked carefully at the entrants. The first I asked to be involved was my old club Luton, solely because I did not get to hold one with them. The second and third entrants would both be local to us. The first of them would be Stafford and the second will be The New Saints, who interestingly were from the same county as us, Shropshire, but play their football in the Welsh Premier League.
    In the random draw, we were paired with Stafford.

    I then focused on reinforcements and my best scout was sent out to look for youth players.
    I then sat myself down to look who was left on the free transfer list before moving to the transfer and loan lists.
    The first player that I signed was Tom Collins who will add some competition in the midfield. He was followed in the door the same day by two additions to the back room staff as Duane Thomas and Charlie Ramsey agreed terms. They would be up there with the best I have and best available to me, scouts wise.



    The next day, Paul Thomas arrived to bolster the forward line. With a wage of just £200 a week, he will be a very low earner compared to what the established players in the squad earn. And he was followed by Nick Allen being promoted from the youth setup.

    The signings continued to come in as Kevin Rogers joined us before the League Cup First Round draw was made and we found out that we would have a home tie against Leeds United.

    The next two signings were very familiar figures to me as I had managed them both already. They both arrived from my first club and for a combined fee of £280,000, I welcomed defensive midfielder Al Bangura and centre forward Andy Hopkins to New Meadow.

    With all the signings coming in, it did bulk out the squad somewhat. What I needed to do was get rid of the dead wood as well though but the only one I had managed to shift was Russell Saunders who moved to Welsh side Caerleon.


    Transfers

    IN -

    Tom Collins - £55,000


    Paul Thomas - free transfer


    Nick Allen - youth squad promotion


    Kevin Rogers - free transfer


    Al Bangura - £150,000


    Andy Hopkins - £130,000


    OUT -

    Russell Saunders - £40,000


    Cameron Gayle (loan until June 2017)


    Matches and Roundup 2

    As the month came to an end, the Make Money Cup began. The afternoon game saw Luton defeat T.N.S and so it was on to our semi final and my first game as manager of Shrewsbury Town.
    There were some decisions to make in terms of the first XI I would pick for the club. I was hoping to get some of the new signings involved. As with the first time I held the Make Money Cup, I wasn't really fussed if we won it on not. Hopefully we'll get a few bums on seats and it will help me get to know the players.
    I decided on this as my starting XI:


    Hopkins was injured. Rogers, Collins and Thomas were held back to settle into the squad and with a view of possibly playing in a final if we make it.

    Just 929 turned up to the first semi final so I wasn't holding out much hope of a large crowd but what I did want to see is a good performance. People were playing for their shirts. I emphasised this to the players. I pointed out that just because they may have a number 1-11 on their back for this one doesn't mean they are guaranteed one for the coming season as the squad numbers were yet to be decided.
    The players started well, eager to impress. One player in particular decided he was going to give me a problem. Craig Nelthorpe is by trade a left winger. I started him in this one on the left of my midfield three. He caused me a problem by netting twice in the game. Could I have another Ryan Hall on my hands? I didn't think lightening could strike twice and I know it was weaker opposition but it was something I had to think about.
    Jordan Clark scored as well to stake his claim for a spot in a comfortable win. 953 was the attendance and it was on to the Final.
    Shrewsbury 3-0 Stafford

    On to the Final and after T.N.S beat Stafford to secure third, it was our chance. And a chance to retain the Cup. Although it wouldn't now be me who had the chance of doing that as Bangura also won it last season at Solihull with me. Squad numbers for the season were chosen before the game and the team for the game changed. Both full backs were replaced as Johnston and Browne came in at right back and left back respectively. And I gave Tom Collins his debut in for Bloomfield.

    I shook hands with each and every member of the Luton Town party as they arrived and again when we took to the pitch for the game.
    And it was one of my signings, one who never ended up playing under me, who made the initial impact. Etien Velikonja scored twice in 7 minutes to give Luton a firm advantage but we battled back strongly. Firstly, Tom Collins scored on debut and with 20 minutes left, Ryan Wood tied the game. As the game went into the last 10, Paul Thomas came off the benchand scored just a minute later to put us into the lead and Woods grabbed his second to put the result beyond doubt.
    Shrewsbury Town had won the Make Money Cup. And as an added bonus, we pulled in a crowd of 1,880 which was about double what I was expecting.
    Even though it was with a different team, I had successfully defended the Make Money Cup.
    Shrewsbury 4-2 Luton

    And that was the last action of the month.
    Finance wise, it was very much how things have gone at previous clubs. Expenditure far outweighed income. Money in for the month was £229,743, half of which came from season ticket sales. Outgoings totalled £602,534. More than half of this was player purchases though so that figure should come down a bit.
    The bank balance at the end of the month was £1,935,747 and the board are allowing me £1m in transfer fees if I should need them.

  8. #158

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    Boom! Shrewsbury, how's about that!

    Nice to see you remain as the only manager ever to have won the make money cup, congratulations.
    I do wonder how much of your time in this challenge will be spent hanging around League 2...
    Last edited by BobMem; 24-10-15 at 12:16 PM.

  9. #159

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    Good luck

  10. #160

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    Some decent youngsters in squad. I have faith Hopkins will bang them in for you

    Wheeling and dealing already!

    Love the club crest as well!

  11. #161
    ebfatz is offline Social Media Bod
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobMem View Post
    Boom! Shrewsbury, how's about that!

    Nice to see you remain as the only manager ever to have won the make money cup, congratulations.
    I do wonder how much of your time in this challenge will be spent hanging around League 2...
    I get that feeling as well. The best possible outcome I can hope for is winning the division so that won't boost my rep enough to be getting Prem (or even First Division) jobs.
    I'm not even going to entertain the idea of winning the League Cup or FA Cup coz it's never gonna happen!

  12. #162

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    Great to see Hopkins back! Not a great squad - Goldson and Barnett look decent though. Surprised you let Gayle go out on loan, thought he could be in line for a starting berth...

  13. #163
    Hurray for cup wins, even if it's only a friendly cup! Pretty good finances too, nice not to have to worry about staying/getting out of the red numbers.

  14. #164
    ebfatz is offline Social Media Bod
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    August 2016

    Time to get down and really try and make some changes to this squad before the league season starts on the 13th. I'll have to work fast.

    Transfers

    IN - Connor Gater - £20,000


    Alan Browne - free transfer


    Nick Pope - 4 month loan


    OUT -

    Ben Humphrey - £40,000



    Matches and Roundup

    Two further friendlies had been organised before I signed on at the club. The first of these was an away game against Northern Premier side Droylsden. I thought all the players would be shattered after the Make Money Cup but I was pleasantly surprised when they all came through tests showing them 100% fit. Grandison came back in at right back in the only change.
    Droylsden came out of the blocks like a train and took the lead but they had burned themselves out by the half hour mark, by which time we had already equalised through Collins.
    The seemed to get a second wind in the second half and scored twice to take a lead but I think the players resolved that it would be too embarrassing to lose to lower league opposition as first Holt and then Clark scored to level the tie.
    I then made four substitutions on 70 minutes to try and break up the game. It had the desired effect as the game played out to a conclusion.
    Droylsden 3-3 Shrewsbury

    We followed this up with the final friendly of pre-season. Southport away. Again another team from a lower league but this time the Conference. This time it was the forward line that was changed. van Veen and Harding started in place of Barnett and Clark. Goldson came in to play centre back in place of Holt and Bloomfield came back into the midfield replacing Nelthorpe.
    Once again we made a poor start and fell behind. This time the opposition doubled their lead just before half time.
    I decided at half time to send the team out more direct. We played a lot better in the second half but could only muster one goal from Goldson as we fell to defeat.
    Southport 2-1 Shrewsbury

    Pre Season preparations over, it was now time to get down to league action and we would start our season at home. Exeter City would be the visitors. I still wasn't entirely sure on what my first XI would be so there would still be a bit of tinkering going on as the season started.
    I started with a side consisting of Smith; Grandison, Bakayoko, Rogers, Goldson; Bangura; Bloomfield, Collins, Woods; Hopkins and Clark.

    The bold move was starting Hopkins. He had missed all of pre-season due to a groin strain. He was only back in full training for two days before the match but I knew Hopkins. I knew what he could do.
    5,654 turned up for the season opener and saw us play well, creating a number of chances without being able to take any of them. Exeter had just to chances in the game and they were able to take one and that meant that they took home the spoils.
    Shrewsbury 0-1 Exeter

    It certainly wasn't the best start to the season and I wanted to put that behind us with a good performance on the road at AFC Wimbledon. Gater came onto the bench but the starters were unchanged. And it was a better performance in the first half and we went into the break with the lead through Andy Hopkins 1st of the season. We added to that early in the second half as Hopkins was brought down in the box and Al Bangura was the man to step up to dispatch the penalty. Hopkins added a third to put a real gloss on the win.
    AFC Wimbledon 0-3 Shrewsbury

    From that win, it was onto my first ever encounter in the League Cup. I had joined Luton after they had already been knocked out so this would be my first ever experience of the competition.


    Leeds United were the visitors to Greenhous Meadow. They had made a strong start in the Championship (First Division) and were favourites to win the match. They had a good side. Again it was difficult to pick a side. I wanted people rested for league action but I also wanted to have a good go at Leeds.
    I decided to once again go in unchanged and to go for it. We took the game to them and got a reward after we were again awarded a penalty. It was a marauding Bakayoko up from left back who was clipped for the award this time but the result was the same as Bangura calmly rolled the ball past Sam Walker. We added to the lead after 52 minutes as Jordan Clark volleyed home. At that point, I decided to bring off Hopkins to rest him and brought on van Veen. That was the end of the scoring and we recorded a famous win to take us through to the second round. Now the question was do we want an easy draw or a big name away from home for the money.
    Shrewsbury 2-0 Leeds

    As it happened we were the second name out of the hat in the second round draw. The first name out was Stoke City so we would be making a trip to a Premier League side.
    Standing in the way of us recording three straight wins were Gillingham. A close relatively dear to me due to where I used tolive before embarking on my management career. There would be no sentiment in this one though. We would be going for the throat as much as we could. I didn't want to change a winning side so Browne did not make the squad after signing. He would have to wait for his chance.
    We were strong throughout but it took until the 58th minute to make a breakthrough.
    And for the third game in a row, it was from the spot. And again Al Bangura scored, this time powering down the middle as the keeper dived out of the way.
    Tom Collins then scored his first ever league goal to make it two and Hopkins made it three. van Veen again came on as a late sub and this time grabbed himself a goal just 6 minutes after his introduction. A comprehensive win and with players all over the park grabbing goals, it was great for our confidence as a whole.
    Shrewsbury 4-0 Gillingham

    A trip to Bristol Rovers was the last game of the month. The hosts were struggling down in 22nd so this was probably the first time this season that we were actually pencilled in as favourites for a match. The game was just four days after the Gillingham win so there were changes. Pope took to the bench after completing his loan move, Browne and Johnston came in for Grandison and Bakayoko at the back, Browne and Gater replaced Woods and Bloomfield in midfield and Barnett and van Veen started up front in place of Hopkins and Clark.
    On paper it was a weakening of the side but I hoped the players coming in would put in performances worthy of giving me something to think about in terms of them keeping the shirt.
    Goldson took on the captains armband for the game.
    It was a difficult game. Rovers were fighting for everything they could. It was scrappy. We didn't really look troubled at the back but they were throwing their bodies on the line at the other end.
    We did make a breakthrough though, Tyrone Barnett scoring after 41 minutes and despite us knocking on the door for the whole of the second half, that was the only goal of the game. It didn't matter to me though. 3 points is 3 points and we showed good endevour and application going forward, even if the goals didn't come.
    Bristol Rovers 0-1 Shrewsbury




    A better start to the month I couldn't have wished for. Exeter was first game of the season so I'm putting that down to early season nerves but since then we have been great. Four straight clean sheets as well is a massive added bonus. We are playing well, scoring goals and not conceding. Things have started very well indeed. I was still surprised to see us sitting at the top of the table at month's end though.

    We made a loss again. Income was £301,043. Two thirds of this was gate receipts after attendances that came in at 5,654, 6,062 and 6,475.
    Expenditure was £517,248. This was pretty high but £135k of this was signing on fees so that figure will be able to come down. Bank balance now stands at £1,626,808 and transfer funds have now been restricted to just £625,000.

  15. #165

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    Wow! Great opening month! 9 points already and beating Leeds in the LC
    Just have to beat Stoke away, and win about 6 more games and that trophy is in the bag and you can move on...

    KUTGW!

  16. #166

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    Great start!
    Leeds a massive scalp in cup and should now get some £'s in next match v Stoke

    Question - what are average attendances fir the division you are in? You don't seem to be doing too bad unless the league average is much higher? - What is ground capacity as well

    Lovely league start as well after the rusty pre-season and 1st game nerves

  17. #167
    ebfatz is offline Social Media Bod
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobMem View Post
    Just have to beat Stoke away, and win about 6 more games and that trophy is in the bag and you can move on...
    If Stoke don't put 4 or 5 past us, I'll be very surprised.

    Quote Originally Posted by Redknapp69 View Post
    Question - what are average attendances fir the division you are in? You don't seem to be doing too bad unless the league average is much higher? - What is ground capacity as well


    Capacity crowd would be 9,875.

  18. #168

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    Doing well with the attendances then, and I'd expect that to creep up if you keep winning

    Great result against Leeds, and good to see Hopkins doing the business! Like the tight defence too.

  19. #169

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    Browne, Dick looks like a decent player.

  20. #170

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    Nice work at Luton! Will be interesting to see how your reputation goes doing well in League 1 and 2 and not moving up with 1 club, don't expect many people have tried it but I'm hoping you will get some big jobs eventually if you get some league titles to your name.

  21. #171
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    September 2016

    We would be looking to build on our decent start to the season. Some tough games ahead in the month though.

    Transfers

    IN -


    OUT -



    Matches and Roundup

    First game of the month was hosting 12th placed Accrington Stanley. In the build up to the game, I found out that I had been named Manager of the Month for August. This made me very proud going into the month and hoping that we could continue our bright start.
    Despite having the likes of Bloomfield and Woods fully fit, I decided against making changes and went in with the same line up as he previous game. It was a risk really as Woods had been skippering the side and Bloomfield was one of our better centre midfielders. But I had faith in the guys who had come in. Browne at left back, Browne and Gater in midfield.
    Goldson took the armband and he showed his qualities as he inspired the players to come back from a goal down to win with goals coming from Tyrone Barnett and Kevin van Veen.
    Shrewsbury 2-1 Accrington

    With another win on the board, confidence was soaring. I could see it on the training ground. The players were in good spirits and I think this was down to the fact that there are no set places in the squad. If a player is in the team, they had to continually play well to keep their place. If they didn't there were players waiting on the sidelines to take their spot.
    We were visiting Oxford United as leaders of the division and in hot form. Bloomfield came in for Gater in the only change.
    And it was Bloomfield who opened the scoring after just 8 minutes. We huffed and puffed for the rest of the game but could not get another. Luckily for us, we stayed solid at the back and held on to take the three points.
    Oxford 0-1 Shrewsbury

    Tyrone Barnett came off at the end of the Oxford game complaining of pain in his ankle. After scans the next day he was diagnosed with strained ankle ligaments. He would be out for 3 weeks. This gave an opportunity for one of the forwards on the fringes to come in. Stewart Harding was also injured so it was Clark or Hopkins. Clark had yet to score in three games but had provided 2 assists. Hopkins had scored 3 in 3 so you would think the decision was easy. And in the end it was. Forwards are in the business of getting goals and Hopkins had been doing that. Clark made the bench though so may see some action. Fleetwood were at the bottom end of the table and we were installed as strong favourites for the tie.
    Nerves were settled early as Al Bangura dispatched his third penalty of the season to give us the lead. What followed was a goal fest as we four further goals were scored before half time to give us a slender 3-2 lead at half time. Hopkins and van Veen getting our other goals.
    I wasn't happy at half time though and let them know that we were far to lax at the back and we needed to tighten up.
    van Veen added our fourth just three minutes into the second half to ease some nerves. Goals, however continued to flood in though and Fleetwood actually ended up scoring four in the game. Luckily for us, we continued to score at the other end as Bangura scored another penalty and Hopkins scored again also, the 5th of the season for both as we won a 10 goal thriller.
    Shrewsbury 6-4 Fleetwood

    The fans were glowing at the fact that we had scored six goals in the previous game. I was more concerned by the fact that we had conceded four! That kind of form could not continue if we wanted to be successful come seasons end. As such, some changes were made at the back. Loanee goalie Nick Pope came in to start, Jermaine Grandison returned at right back as did Zoumana Bakayoko at left back. Tom Collins was not 100% fit in the centre of midfield so he sat out, replaced by Ryan Wood.
    We travelled to Mansfield in good spirits and ready to extend our unbeaten run and we couldn't have got off to a better start as Alan Browne scored his first goal for the club after just 3 minutes. It wasn't until the 85th minute that we got our second through van Veen but it was a comfortable win overall. It was topped off in injury time when Andy Hopkins grabbed another to put the icing on the cake.
    Mansfield 0-2 Shrewsbury

    Onto the big one in the month. League Cup 2nd Round action at The Britannia Stadium, home of Stoke City.


    We were in great form. As it happens Stoke were as well. They currently sat 3rd in the Premier League and had assembed some great young players. Players like Ryan Gauld, Will Keane and Patrick Roberts were now on Stoke's books and they had really planned for the long term with the purchases but it seemed they had started to produce early.
    My players knew the task ahead of them. They knew it was going to be difficult but all I could say to them was that they had impressed me very much so far this season and to go and do that again, regardless of the result.
    Everyone was fit and raring to go.
    It took Stoke just 45 seconds to show their class as Bojan jinked past to before slipping the ball into Will Keane's path for him to sweep home.
    We then had the best of the game for the next 20 minutes or so and had a few shots on Jack Butland's goal but on 31 minutes, Stoke cemented their advantage as Keane got his second. Three minutes later he completed his hat trick and the game was seemingly done but Hopkins pulled one back on 36 minutes to leave us two down as we went into half time.
    There was one more goal as Ryan Woods scored in second half injury time to make the score look respectable but we were beaten.
    Stoke 3-2 Shrewsbury

    It was a day of shocks in the second round. Aldershot beat Swansea, Exeter knocked out West Ham, Sheff Utd defeated Leicester, Oxford beat Wigan and Morecambe beat West Brom. We were unlucky not to join that list really.
    Unbeleiveably Stoke only had three shots on goal. We matched them. Were better than them even but it wasn't to be so we refocus back on the league. And later we would look at cups that we might have a chance of winning.
    Crewe was the next game and we needed to refocus quickly. They were 6th and in form. We were tired after the cup game.
    Hopkins made way for Clark. Gater came in for Woods and I selected young Romanian Iulian Rosu for the first time in midfield as well. I wanted to see what he could do and he had waited patiently for a chance. He looked like he had a goal or two in him and I hoped he could prove that to me. We had scored inside 90 seconds and had three by full time. I was most happy to see Rosu's name on the scoresheet. He had played very well although he had tired quickly and had to be replaced after 64 minutes. But he had scored and he only misplaced two passes all day. van Veen and Bloomfield got our other goals.
    Shrewsbury 3-0 Crewe





    Things just continue to go well. So well in fact that I haven't even looked at the transfer market for a full month. Although, maybe I should as if Al Bangura picks up an injury or a ban then I'm in some trouble as he is the only DMC in the squad. Five straight league wins and the only blot on the month is the reverse against Stoke. And even then, that was only by the odd goal in five so wasn't too shabby at all. We enjoy a healthy lead at the top now but I feel a blip may be just around the corner. We can't keep winning can we?

    Thanks to that cup game income for the month weighed in at a healthy £711,677. Our home attendances for the month were 6335, 7048 and 6689 which were not too bad.
    When it came to money out, the figure of £390,154 was nearly half that of income meaning we made £365,136 in the month. The clubs bank balance showed at just £4,000 short of £2m and the board would allow me to spend half of that at £1m if I so wished to.

  22. #172

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    What a month!

    Already a good lead!

    Great effort in cup as well

    Finances looking rosey as well

    Which means it must all fall apart next month

  23. #173

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    Yeah, looking good, but if the goals dry up that leaky defence will cost you!

    Edit: looking back you actually kept 3 clean sheets there. Looks like you have a 'hot or cold' defence. Maybe a young keeper?

  24. #174

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    Storming month, shame about the cup but giving third in the league a run for their money is pretty impressive! Hopkins amongst the goals again - did Clark do enough to keep him out of the team, or will he regain his place in the next match?

  25. #175

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    OLE OLE OLE OLE, BOJAN! Sounds like you were very unlucky at Stoke!

    Just caught up since you started at Shrewsbury, looks like you've settled in really nicely and nice touch to re-unite with Bangura and Hopkins. Great to see the latter is hitting the goal trail already. Fingers crossed you can keep the form up, stay top, get promoted and cross another county off your list!

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