Comparisons to 2018/19 not easy
A quarter of the League One season gone. Seems like years already, probably because it’s hard to remember much of a gap between last season and this one. Having almost two entirely different squads to support helps press the re-set button though.
It was interesting to hear Lee Bowyer when asked the other day to describe the differences between this squad and the one that won promotion. More physical, more leaders he said. That 18/19 side was more youthful, we probably had more pace and a style of play that worked for us.
I think the big difference this season is Bowyer has more options and adaptions to how he can set us up. Possibly the older heads vindicate that flexibility. We’ve needed it at centre-half so far this season.
We lack natural pace across the team, especially without Doughty and a natural goal scorer, but Bowyer’s quickly assembled group do bring power, leadership and versatility. One attribute that doesn’t appear to have changed is the player togetherness and work rate. Banged into them repeatedly by Bowyer, Jackson and Marshall.
We have to remember that Lee Bowyer too is more experienced in his role, and thankfully allowed to concentrate on his job without all of the ownership shenanigans.
Injuries are a continuum though unfortunately, but hopefully Pearce will start on Tuesday and Famewo and Oshilaja aren’t far away. Marcus Maddison and Gilbey will get fitter.
11 games ticked off, only Accrington have played less, and they are nicely placed in 9th. The eight teams above Stanley create no surprises accept Lincoln City perhaps. The money would have been on Oxford and Blackpool being higher, but they have both found their feet belatedly.
Below Stanley sit Plymouth and Doncaster, both more than capable of a play-off challenge. The formative league table has Hull sat on top of it. The Tigers collapsed like a flan in a cupboard at the end of last season, but Grant McCann has moved the Tigers forward quickly and he knows this division well.
We were 9th with 18th points after 11 games in 2018. It was also the beginning of October and we had just conceded five at Scunthorpe. This season will be different in so many different ways.