FGR fan John Light gives his opinion
A column with a difference this week, written from Cornwall after days with no football, no forum, no NLP and no helpful chats with SNJ's sports editor on a Sunday afternoon.
Instead there has been a chance to take a long cool look at the season so far, the new players, our overall progress and, most important of all, prospects for the new year.
First of all: defence. Three new players - Green, Racine and Adjaye - have joined us and all have impressed.
A battler is how manager Dave described Green and how right he was. Especially quick over the first ten yards, he has made many incisive interventions and some spectacular blocks.
Able to play in both defence and midfield he has become an asset to the squad. So has versatile full-back Ed Asafu Adjaye. Able to play on the left but perhaps happier on the right, he has kept out both Hodgkin's and Stokes at various times. Praise indeed.
Aaron Racine was another signing who was without a club. Very much looking the part and scoring at Telford with probably his first touch, he is one for the future.
We all know how good the others are, but a special mention of James Turley. He has been most impressive when needed to play right back. I love watching his forward surges. To have a fit Chris Todd back is a real bonus. He has climbed so many mountains on and off the pitch and can only be an example to his colleagues.
Our midfield engine-room is packed with potential. Yan's goal-scoring surges are becoming legendary and until he became injured Jamie Collins was outstanding. Add a fit Kieron Forbes and a battling new addition in James Brogan and we have a real powerhorse. Al Bangura can both defend and attack and as the season moves on this area could be our real strength. James Rowe may have to wait his chance. His distribution and dead-ball kicking was less than accurate earlier in the season and he will have to wait his turn.
I am more concerned about the forwards. Having one player out on loan and then signing a loan player ourselves puzzles me. Would it not have made sense to recall Marsh? Is he not thought good enough? Big Ben Wright is unfortunate. He can look clumsy but works hard and his dead-ball kicking is our secret weapon. O J Koroma needs match time. In recent substitution appearances, his athleticism has impressed. Perhaps there is more to come. Similarly with Viera. He looks a good footballer as does OJ, but will they be match winners?
James Norwood certainly is. If Sam Russell were not so good, he would be my current player of the season. He has pace and confidence (perhaps too much at times). Who plays centre-forward - Reece or Matty? I admire both. Matty can hold the ball up better and has an eye for goal. He certainly can give us a platform on which to build, whereas the ball played up to Reece often comes straight back. But Reece can turn his man and attack the heart of defences with real speed. If my life depended on it, he would be my man.
Looking at the league, I see it beginning to shake down. My top four are FGR, Luton, Wrexham and Grimsby - in any order. Dartford and Newport will fade I think, though the transfer window will see much activity in Wales. Perhaps Mansfield will surge towards the top. Twenty-five years of watching Conference Football has been rewarding, but this season especially so. The standard has never been higher.
What of the club as a whole. It should be much more than 14 players on match day - and FGR surely is. The young ambassador's idea is magnificent and the November 11 commemoration was moving.
This shows a club engaging with its community exactly as it should do. Living in Cirencester, I am able to pop in to the Royal Agricultural College Saturday and Sunday mornings and see the age range sides playing. It is quite evident we now have a joined up football club with so many moving in the right direction. I would like to see a club shop. Perhaps a 'pop up' one. Green Man before kick-off and Carol Embrey Suite after the match. I need to fill Mrs Lights stocking.
I also need to catch up, certainly the grounds man will have done well at the weekend and the forum, increasing in maturity will be a rich source of information, especially if Joker man was at the game Saturday.
Holidays are all very well but you do miss a great deal. Never again in a promotion year!
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