All we can do is hope this is one is on with reports of Omicron on the rise and the numbers of players self-isolating and of course in turn games being called off, but we are cautiously hopeful after the club tweeted that they are also hopeful, so fingers crossed for a trip to Sincil Bank on Boxing Day.
We are back to the old questions this week as we tapped up Gary Hutchinson some weeks ago to give us the lowdown on his beloved Super Imps. Thanks to him and Merry Christmas, hopefully we can get a change of luck at a ground we never seem to do too well at.
1 – We are about half of the way through the season, so how is it looking for your team so far?
It’s looked better, to be honest. We’ve had a rough ride since making the play-off final last season. We lost key players in Jorge Grant and Tayo Edun, as well as the big loanees from last season such as Brennan Johnson. On paper, the replacements looked decent, but in truth, they haven’t hit the mark. Hakeeb Adelakun should be huge at this level, but isn’t, and Dan N’Lundulu had 12 clubs chasing him this winter; 11 will feel like they had a let off. Couple that with injuries to Anthony Scully (who was in double figures for goals before September ended), and Tom Hopper (our number nine and talisman) and it’s not hard to see why we’ve struggled. We’ve gifted goals, we can’t score and that’s a bad combo. The silly thing is we’ve been in almost every game we’ve lost, and there’s only been one team I’ve seen who I think we’re well ahead of us: Rotherham.
2 – We are noticing that some clubs are struggling with attendances, are you back anywhere near to your pre-Covid attendances?
Yes. 6,000 season ticket holders have remained loyal, with attendances holding firm at 8,000+. Sure, they did when it’s Accrington or someone visiting, but for the big games we’re drawing 9,000 again. Our attendances may have dipped by a couple of hundred, but that’s reflective of our poor form not Covid.
3- We note that many clubs are going across to digital tickets and cashless stadiums and this has caused major problems for fans, is this something that has affected you as a fan, home or away?
Not really, who carries cash these days? I have more of a problem when somewhere doesn’t accept card. I always have some cash in my pocket on matchday, but only because the café I meet my Dad in before a game doesn’t have a card reader. If it wasn’t for that, I’d never have cash. Sheff Weds was cashless and I heard people moaning they hadn’t come prepared. It forced me to ask myself where they’d come from; 1985?
4 – Every club has played about half the teams in League 1, who do you think is the best and the worst team you have played so far?
Best team, without a doubt, Rotherham. Pompey beat us well, but that was as much about us being poor as them being good. Rotherham were class though, and if they’d don’t finish top two, I’ll be shocked.
As for the worst, there are a lot of bad teams at this level. Accrington were woeful (they beat us 1-0), Doncaster were terrible (0-0) and I thought Shrewsbury were poor too (1-1). We’ve been lucky in that we’ve played some of the awful teams during our poor run. Oddly, we thrashed Cambridge 5-1 and I didn’t think they looked too bad. Ipswich disappointed me too, all show and no substance. It’s great to see!
5 – In our forthcoming game what sort of style can we expect to see from your team?
The same as you’re used to with your lot. We pass, if we can’t find an opening going forward, we pass backwards and start again. We like to have possession and create from patient build up, not swift attacks. The issue is we don’t have the players for that. The best we can hope for is the game is called off and we get to recruit in January and add some pace and flair up top. If that happens, it’ll be a good game.
6 – Is there any current MK Dons player that you would like to see playing for your team?
There are two I’ve always admired. I like Scott Twine, I thought he was superb for Swindon last season, and I like his all-round play. I’ve also always been a massive fan of Hiram Boateng. He’s the player I hoped Hakeeb Adelakun would be as he impressed me whilst at Exeter and I think he’d be superb in a Michael Appleton side. Maybe we can come back and raid you again as we have done in the past.
7 – Every lower league club fear that the big boys are monitoring their players, is there anybody in your team that is attracting unwanted attention, and might be lured away in January?
I imagine Anthony Scully. He bagged a load of goals before he got injured and he’s technically very good. If someone offered £750,000, we’d take it and go again. Lewis Montsma has a few admirers too, and I understand Regan Poole was watched closely by a couple of clubs in the summer. They’re the three that stand out.
8 – Is there anyone in your team that we should really fear as a potential game changer?
It sounds so defeatist, but no, not really. I guess when he’s on form, Ted Bishop can come up with something special, but with Scully injured and the other players gone, we don’t have enough spark to start a fire on a petrol station forecourt. I believe that will change when the window opens, but too many players have just not joined the party this season.
9 – Can you predict where you think your club will finish at the end of the season, and where the MK Dons will finish?
We’ll be between 12th and 16th. MK Dons will be just outside the top six.
10 – Many thanks for taking part, all we need now is your prediction for the game?
1-0 to you. Mo Eisa, obviously.
Photo Credit – Lincolnshire Live