Clearing the gloom

It didn’t take long to clear away the doom and gloom surrounding the sale of Jonny Margetts did it? No sooner have the negative whispers started than we record an away win on TV from a last minute winner. It’s fair to say nobody had a complaint at 7.30pm last night, and rightly so.

I thought Torquay were potentially the best side we’ve seen this season, although I didn’t go to Dagenham. They’ll be fine this year and they gave us a real game. It wasn’t always pretty and it certainly wasn’t us at our best, and that’s just how I like it, when the cameras are in town.

The last thing we need is to further advertise the quality of this squad, and we know all too well that a lot of armchair scouts would have the game on yesterday looking for that next bargain. In truth there are no ‘bargains’ in our league now as there is little difference between the National League and League Two. Figures of £110k have been bandied around for Margetts, if that’s true what price Alex Woodyard? Certainly a cash strapped League Two club won’t be picking him up for spare change.

City v Southport 4-0 016
What price Alex Woodyard?


Lets not forget when we were flying high in League Two we couldn’t afford to sign George Boyd, Craig Mackail Smith, nor Aaron McLean. Nobody is going to take our crown jewels without putting up the cash, and an unattractive win on TV doesn’t help those lazier scouts!

The real difference yesterday was superior fitness. There was little to separate the teams over 70 minutes or so, but those last 20 minutes we looked as fresh as when we first stepped out onto the pitch. DC made much of the ‘500 plan’ in pre season and there’s no doubt we hit the ground running in terms of match readiness. I haven’t seen a single game where we’ve tired towards the end and that is credit to the management team. I keep hearing how different things are this season from fans, but identifying what isn’t always easy. Fitness is clearly one thing.

I’m not going to say passion because I think Lincoln teams in the past have had passion, but with this squad it is a pointed passion. To be passionate you could run around for hours like a deranged ferret getting nowhere, but this season it is organised and structured. Every one of those players knows where they should be and what they should be doing and as the season wears on that is going to be enhanced. The truly frightening thing for the rest of the league is that we are only going to get better as the games keep coming. To be sat in third with a clear chance to be second or top in seven days time is exciting, to know we’re only a work in progress is terrifying.

Big, bloodied and brilliant. The enigmatic Matt Rhead (photo courtesy of Graham Burrell via Facebook)


It’d be remiss of me not to mention Matt Rhead after yesterday. He epitomises passion and dedication for me, nodding in a 95th minute winner with a bloodied head. For a supposed lazy player he still found himself on the back stick and untouchable to rise up and put the ball in the net. His all round performance was summed up for me by a status my Dad put on Facebook last night. He put ‘I was wrong about Matt Rhead’, and to give you some context last season he described Rhead as lazy, disinterested and a cart horse. He couldn’t be more wrong.

Kudos to Terry Hawkridge for supplying the ball as well. I like players who keep running right up until the end and not only did he do that but he corrected a slip and re-composed himself to land the ball on the ever grateful head of our top scorer. We keep talking up the new arrivals but plenty of last seasons players are crucial to this push as well. Jack Muldoon has to come back from injury yet to add to the team selection head ache for DC and NC. I believe them when they say they’ll only bring in players who make the group stronger, and at present the squad is a strong as I’ve seen in over a decade down at the Bank.

There’s a long way to go in this season but how do you think Tranmere are feeling right now? They’ve only won one in three and that was against Guiseley, the got soundly beaten yesterday (as predicted by me in an earlier blog) and now they’ve got us visiting on the back of four consecutive wins. We’ve scored 11 in four games, conceding just twice. The pressure is on them at home to beat us, anything else is a good result for City. Don’t bet against us next week, that’s my advice.

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