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ambitions for this season


what should be our ambition?  

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We are finally waking up and proving what we all knew we had; a side that should be challenging not struggling.

We still look short of what we had 13/14 but maybe Vydra and Blackman will kick on, GT gets fit and Anya show what he can do. May even get CM9 back in Jan.

With a sprinkling of investment in Jan it could set us up for an exciting run in.

Taking all this in to account have we a chance of usurping Brighton for the second automatic birth or should we count top 6 (even top 4 for secong leg at home) a real achievement?

Personally top 6 should be minimum as we should be finishing above the likes of Huddersfield and Brum. In the shake-up will be Reading, Sheff W and Norwich so if we can get top 4 Macca deserves the freedom of the City.

Thoughts?????

 

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3 minutes ago, Daz_The_Ram said:

You always aim for the highest honours.
 

Top two for me all day long. We are more than capable based on recent evidence.

So are you saying that we are more than capable of being 13 points clear of the 3rd-placed club over a 37 game season?

Because that's the scale of what you are asking for.

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Given the catastrophic start to the season it's looking near-impossible to finish top 2 (what an unfortunate waste). For the early season it looked as though we might be dragged down into a relegation fight rather than competing at the top of the league as we've recently become accustomed, so it's great that the team appears to have turned the corner and be growing in confidence.

My ambition is promotion which isn't an option in the poll (!) but we can only achieve that via the playoffs, so as a stepping stone to reaching it I've gone for a top 6 place. I think we'll get there and have heavily backed that view at the bookies. The third place team is promoted more often than others, but the fourth rarely makes it, so I don't see that top 4 is especially preferable in our quest to be playing in the top flight next season. If we have an astonishing run and finish third within touching distance of the top two, I can't help feeling there'll be a sense of deja-vu and added pressure when it comes to the playoffs. And we've shown these players are not especially good when dealiing with pressure.

So, I would be happy with a gradual upward curve and finding ourselves reasonably comfortably in the playoffs by the season end, this time managing the playing time and fitness of our key performers far better, doing everything in our power to finally get over the line. If we do end up bein the standout third placed team of course I'll take it and look at the positives, but I care rather more about promotion than another season of glorious failure.

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3 minutes ago, Tombo said:

Hasn't changed since Pearson left for me. Don't raise your expectations just because form is good. Those of you asking for top 6 or top 2 will be the same ones calling for McClaren's head if we finish 10th.

Short memories. This is still a damaged team.

A bit of a sober reality check. Kudos for sticking your neck out and saying it.

I don't quite agree in one sense; we are entitled to aim for the Top 6. We are even entitled to "expect" to get there given form and where we are situated. We SHOULD be aiming for the Top 6 in fact. Any further than that (ie autos) is entirely dependant on major stumbles from Newcastle and/or Brighton.

However, it is easy to ignore (a) just how 'streaky' form can be in the championship; (b) that, although we've improved greatly under McClaren, we've still been 'wobbly' at times and our recent draw has been favourable (until Norwich, who are badly out-of-form); (c) that our squad is still unbalanced in key areas and heavily reliant on Ince and Hughes' class; and (d) we're highly susceptible to fluctuations in confidence.

That said, I absolutely agree with your description of us as "a damaged team". I've long argued that we're brittle in terms of confidence; that, despite our defensive record, our defensive frailty could expose us badly at any time, especially against the better quality teams; and expectations of this squad - and, therefore, the pressure we heap upon them when they stumble (as they inevitably will) - are too high. They - our expectations - border on schizophrenic and the team's collapsed under their weight for the last few seasons. I'd go one step further too; I remain concerned at the evident 'player power' in the club and, as much as I adore McClaren as our manager (and always have), I still fear how the relationship between he and the club and fans will cope if form/results turn awry.

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4 hours ago, Daz_The_Ram said:

What are you on about?

Because there are 46 games in the season, and after 9 of them, we were 13 points behind an automatic promotion spot - points that we would have to make up in the remaining 37 games of the season.

It's not difficult (the maths, that is). The automatics? Perhaps a somewhat more difficult test.

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Top 6 for me will be an achievement. I wouldn't have dreamt of that at the end of September. I was thinking last night I'm not reading too much of the "we need a total clear out/these players are failures" tosh that was being posted during Pearson's tenure, funny that.

Top 6, avoid Villa til Wembley, hammer them in the final, job's a good 'un.

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13 minutes ago, eddie said:

Because there are 46 games in the season, and after 9 of them, we were 13 points behind an automatic promotion spot - points that we would have to make up in the remaining 37 games of the season.

It's not difficult (the maths, that is). The automatics? Perhaps a somewhat more difficult test.

Interesting point, that. Also interesting is that after 9 games, we were

14 points behind (then leaders) Norwich, currently 1 point and 8th

13 points behind (2nd) Huddersfield, currently 3 points and 6th

11 points behind Brighton and Reading (3rd and 4th), currently 12 and 8, 2nd and 3rd

10 points behind (5th) Newcastle, currently 14 points and 1st

 9 points behind Barnsley and Wolves (7th and 8th) currently -4 and -5, and 18th and 19th.

So, we've only fallen behind Brighton (1) and Newcastle (4) in the points tally. Sadly, those are the 2 teams we need to overtake. Not sure what this proves other than I've a little time on my hands.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Tombo said:

Hasn't changed since Pearson left for me. Don't raise your expectations just because form is good. Those of you asking for top 6 or top 2 will be the same ones calling for McClaren's head if we finish 10th.

Short memories. This is still a damaged team.

As 16.67% of those who have voted for top 2 I must take objection to this statement.

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3 hours ago, EssendonRam said:

A bit of a sober reality check. Kudos for sticking your neck out and saying it.

I don't quite agree in one sense; we are entitled to aim for the Top 6. We are even entitled to "expect" to get there given form and where we are situated. We SHOULD be aiming for the Top 6 in fact. Any further than that (ie autos) is entirely dependant on major stumbles from Newcastle and/or Brighton.

However, it is easy to ignore (a) just how 'streaky' form can be in the championship; (b) that, although we've improved greatly under McClaren, we've still been 'wobbly' at times and our recent draw has been favourable (until Norwich, who are badly out-of-form); (c) that our squad is still unbalanced in key areas and heavily reliant on Ince and Hughes' class; and (d) we're highly susceptible to fluctuations in confidence.

That said, I absolutely agree with your description of us as "a damaged team". I've long argued that we're brittle in terms of confidence; that, despite our defensive record, our defensive frailty could expose us badly at any time, especially against the better quality teams; and expectations of this squad - and, therefore, the pressure we heap upon them when they stumble (as they inevitably will) - are too high. They - our expectations - border on schizophrenic and the team's collapsed under their weight for the last few seasons. I'd go one step further too; I remain concerned at the evident 'player power' in the club and, as much as I adore McClaren as our manager (and always have), I still fear how the relationship between he and the club and fans will cope if form/results turn awry.

As someone who has advocated getting rid of a number of current players, this probably comes across as contradictory, but the last time SM was here, the squad was impacted by the introduction of loan players.

I hope that if he does bring people in, they are those looking to get us up and not just to take the money. 

I think like you that there are one or two who crumble under pressure but a few have also been replaced.

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I just want to see good football. If we make the top six, which IMO is still a tough ask given our start, then great but I don't really care much for the PL so wouldn't be too disappointed if we missed out again.

I'm also not getting carried away with our current form. McClaren has made an excellent start considering, but let's not forget we've played five at home and only two away of his seven games.

I will wait to see where we are after the Leeds away game on Friday 13th Jan. We will have played everybody by then (including Leeds and Norwich twice) and will have played 26 games - 13 away and 13 home.

If with 20 games left and equal home and away and we're still within three points of the top six, then I can consider a playoff spot a genuine target for this season and will be optimistic of reaching them.

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2 hours ago, eddie said:

It's not difficult (the maths, that is).

I can do maths look - If Cardiff beat Brighton tomorrow and Derby beat Wigan - then the 12 point gap becomes 9 points. A couple of weekends like that and those at the top are going to start looking over their shoulders.

Let's be clear - I'm not head in the clouds expecting miracles - I know Brighton are doing exceptionally well and Newcastle are way above everyone else - but if we keep winning games then we'll be well placed to nick second if them seagulls slip up.

I just don't think many Brighton fans would agree with some on here who think Brighton are 100% guaranteed that second spot.

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