Another tortuous International break is allowing fans of all clubs to take stock and review the ups and downs of the first quarter of the season. For Rovers followers, the enforced absence of domestic football has come at the worst possible time. If result of the Pompey game was significant, then the 2nd half tactical changes to achieve a victory were earth shattering.
The fans had rightly lost patience by half time with the coach and a turgid and insipid system which had failed to produce a single point on the road this season. The fact that bottom of the league Pompey were playing away from home with 2 strikers only underlines that the formation makes the dour Arsenal tactics of the early 90's appear to be like Brazil 1970!
Sam himself took the accolades and praise for the insightful changes. But the real heroes were Benni and Jason Roberts. McCarthy wants away, and who can blame him? He does not see a future for himself at the club and more than likely will unfortunately move on. Roberts on the other hand is an Allardyce type of player but rarely has contributed when given the chance. Saturday was different and every Rovers fan was delighted for him as we know he gives 100% despite having limitations.
It is incredible to think that if the Pompey result had been different, we would be on the floor of the division with a mighty task to preserve our status in the top league. It is still going to be difficult but if Sam has truly shifted from the dark side, the outlook for everyone will be brighter. The team MUST line up with a positive formation at the Reebok in 10 days time. That means 2 out-and-out strikers.
Team of the 'Noughties'
Unlike the end of normal decades, this one may fade away without a trace or a whimper purely as it does not have a natural end as the 60's, 70's or 80's did. But with only 6 weeks until the dreaded notes of 'Auld Lang Syne' it is worth considering who would reserve a place in Rovers team of the decade. Using the 4-4-2 system (Sam take note!) I will reveal my selections over the International break. Everyone will have an opinion so get thinking whether you would have Craig Short instead of Ryan Nelsen or Matt Jansen in place of Craig Bellamy.
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