PLENTY of questions this week, but fewer answers I am afraid. Perhaps we will have to wait until the start of next season to see how the Ady Pennock plan really works.
First however a tribute to Barnet. Their display on Tuesday evening was outstanding. Has a Conference team ever played better at the New Lawn? Quick to the ball and comfortable on it the visitors were always in control.
An astute Marcus Kelly free- kick brought about our goal. It was the only way we would have scored, nothing being achieved from open play. The first half performance was especially poor and words were said at half-time, but by then it was too late. What went wrong – the answer is easy – in the early part of the game nearly everything.
Our defence worried me. Luke Oliver has yet to show the first division class defending I am sure he is capable of and with two of his back four colleagues playing out of position we always looked shaky, only improving when Luke was injured.
After that our players were in more familiar positions and it showed. Two of this week’s questions refer to the defence. Is not Chris Stokes’ injury the most important of the season? There is an answer to that one and it is yes.
Secondly, is not James Turley worthy a place in the match day line up? My answer differs from that of Ady. He says no, but I am not alone in disagreeing.
Some fans will have question marks over captain Anthony Barry. I am not among them. He is a key member of the side. Remember the Southport game. Did not two fine passes of his allow James Norwood to make two of his goal producing crosses? Of course some passes are misplaced but without him we would be stodgy and sterile.
One question that all must now realise the answer to is what formation do we play? Some fans think it is still 4-3-3. Is it not 4-4-2 with Nors and Marcus the wide men in the middle four.
I have never been a formation fanatic because it is not the system you play, it is the way you play it and at times we seem too adventurous leaving our defence especially the full backs exposed. We could be playing 4-2-4 at times.
I enjoy the excitement this brings but am well aware it can make us vulnerable.
Now perhaps the biggest question of all and of course it concerns Matty Taylor. I am an admirer of his, remembering last season. Others went missing, but Matty did not. Whatever happened he persevered. His form dipped, but never his effort and energy.
Watching him the last time he played he started the game in midfield, playing wide on the right. He was joint striker for 20 minutes in the second half, but made no impact in either position. When he was inevitably substituted I feared for his Forest Green future.
I thought that match at Hereford could prove to be his last in a Rovers’ shirt. Will it be? I hope not. His goal scoring at Chester is proving that he is a young player, willing to learn and perhaps more important having a good work ethic.
My belief is that he would be an asset to any promotion seeking squad. Others must now think that and the telephone must be constantly ringing. His agent is going to be busy.
The Taylor situation throws up another question. It concerns attendances. On Saturday Matty was playing for a team that has only won three matches at home. There were over 2,200 fans there. On Tuesday night, despite a fine unbeaten run our team took the field to a crowd of less than 800 (if you take away the Barnet fans).
They would have seen rows and rows of empty seats. I know they are professionals and the size of the crowd should not matter but it must do. If we want our team to play well we need to be there and let them know it.
Watching a fading, failing northern team is no excuse however inviting the fireside. There are two good reasons for coming to the remainder of home games. Firstly the play offs are still in sight, despite what the prophets of doom say, and secondly we can see how Ady’s team develops. Some of the questions may be answered sooner than we think.
I always admired Luke Rodgers but that was some years back. If he can still perform to that level he will be a great signing. Join me in finding the answer to that one.