A U's fan's views ahead of the game
Ahead of Saturday's game against Colchester United at the Weston Homes Community Stadium, Dave from unofficialcufc answers a few questions for us.
What are your expectations for this season?
I'm certainly taking the opening day victory at Preston with a pinch of salt. They were absolutely awful at the back and we, for once, exploited that. I think if we sign an extra striker we could squeeze into the play offs. But I think a mid table/top half finish is more likely.
How do your supporters generally feel about John Ward?
Very split actually. His inability to sign a striker, dour tones in interviews and digs at the fans really grate the gears of a lot of Col U fans. But he is doing quite a good job on a tighter budget than the last couple of managers, and the players he has signed have been rather decent. I think the fans with a bit of sense understand that stability is important too.
How would you describe your current style of football?
Its all about the triangles! Ward has instilled a bit of a 'European' style of football. He has encouraged the central defenders to pass it around. The team goes forwards and defends as a unit which has been quite nice to watch at times. There are no real flair players or pace in the side, but we seem to be playing a pass and move game where positioning is key. Ward also seems to have a plan B up his sleeve, with a longer ball game, with the ball punted long for Odejayi to try and win. We try also try and get it into the flanks with clever passes over the full back for the wingers to run on to.
What are your main strengths and weaknesses?
Weaknesses has to be the full backs at the moment. They seem to struggle for pace and both Wilson and Rose are not overly positionally sound. Because they are encouraged to get forward, there is usually a bit of a hole left at the back which teams can exploit. Another weakness has to be the lack of out and out strikers at the club. Gillespie and Odejayi are the only two! In terms of strengths, we have a really well balanced midfield that are able to get back and forwards well. The passing and moving absoultely cut Preston to shreds.
Which current player would you miss the most?
Maybe a controversial one, but I think John-Joe O'Toole. He adds so much to our midfield. He was out for 9 months and is like a new player in the squad. He has strength and ridiculous ball control. He had a bit of an off game last night, but as soon as he went off, the U's midfield fell to pieces. A vital cog in the armoury.
What's your impression of the Wycombe team after last night's game?
I was really impressed with Beavon. He looked a feisty front man with good close control. He dominated 6'4 Matt Heath by taking the ball on his chest and topped off his performance with a superb long range strike. It was a bit of a ding dong game last night with both sides looking to counter. Both sides had so many chances to win it too, but a lack of killer instinct proved to be both sides' undoing. One thing I thought Wycombe had in abundance was pace, but the lad Grant, for all his trickery, had a lack of end product. He did look a lot more dangerous than Ashley Vincent for the U's however. Wycombe's quick tempo game is going to be important this season as I think your midfield seemed to let your defenders down with a lack of support.
How aware are your current fans of the old-rivalry between our two clubs?
The modern day Colchester fan seems to know nothing about the old rivalry, which for me is a great shame. I think another part of the problem is the players do not really understand what it means like they did back in the day. I'l never forget Steve Brown getting absolute dogs abuse kissing the badge in front of the Barside terrace whilst the Wycombe faithful cheered each time.
Another thing is the stadium move. A lot of the older generation of U's fans have not been to the new stadium as it lacks character and is a typical souless airfix stadium. The last couple of meetings have been rather dour encounters with the younger generation not understanding anything about the rivalry, which is sad in my eyes.
It's possibly the most bizarre of rivalries, but after last night's game - which has to be up there with some of the best games between the sides, I hope it could be the reignition of the rivalry. It was certainly the first fixture I looked for on the day the fixtures came out.
How much stick will Gareth Ainsworth get on Saturday?
If they haven't forgotten, he will probably get the customary boos. I do know that quite a lot of fans were disgruntled by his hand of god effort last time out at the WHCS, but the new place is certainly not as hostile as Layer Road could have been though.
Take a wild guess at the final score.
After such an entertaining game on Tuesday night it's bound to be an absolute borefest! Wycombe certainly seem to be one of those sides, that however you play, good or bad, you always seem to get something against us. I am gonna stick my neck out at 1-1.
Vital Wycombe would like to thank Dave for his contribution.