Cod Almighty | Diary
Time is the one commodity that people in football don’t have time for.
15 March 2019
We shouldn’t get too excited when we win, and we shouldn't feel too downhearted when we lose. That's what they say – except this is football and, well, you can't help but travel to the far ends of the emotional spectrum.
Tuesday night's heavy defeat at Tranmere was disappointing to say the least, but as soon as I began to doubt the wisdom of Michael Jolley and the abilities of our players I thought back to that magnificent 5-2 victory we recorded against the same opponents at Blundell Park, and back to just a couple of weeks ago when we played Yeovil Town off their Huish Park, and realised how good this side can be when things click.
It's a work in progress, so we can't expect things to click in every game. Like most sides, once we find our groove we can be pretty effective, but equally when we slip into bad habits we can find it difficult to dig ourselves out of a bad run. The same can be said for any team really, but the difference, I feel, will be felt next season when the squad hasn't had its annual overhaul.
True, some managers come in and get the best out of their players straight away, although this is more of an exception than the rule. It's also a short-term fix. Grimsby Town haven't always been able to afford plasters, so very often we've just bled. And when we've been able to plaster over problems, the root cause hasn't really gone away. I thought Paul Hurst was more than just a plaster, and that the wounds underneath may have healed, but no. He left, the wound became exposed again and both Marcus Bignot and Russell Slade were attempts to stem the flow of blood.
The only thing that heals wounds is time. A steady pair of hands, and time. Your West Yorkshire Diary is acutely aware that time is the one commodity that people in football don't have time for. Jolley has all the healing properties we need right now: he's intelligent, diligent, committed and focused on developing young players. Ok, he might not lead us to the fourth division title, but we have a much better chance of achieving that in the future once our foundations are stable again – and when the wounds have totally healed.
Managers don't blood young talent because they're always six games from the sack. With your neck constantly on the line, would you take a chance on a totally unproven player? Quite honestly, it's refreshing to have a manager that is given a bit more room to breathe and bring through young talent that Neil Woods and others at the club do so well in developing.
Personally, with the season now petering out, once we hit 50 points I’d like to see the likes of Mattie Pollock given a bit of game time, along with Max Wright, Ahkeem Rose and even someone like Brandon Buckley. These are players who have had little tastes of first team football already and I'm sure it'll equip them better for next season.
Tomorrow we face Northampton Town – a team we've failed to beat in the league at Blundell Park since that play-off final at Wembley nearly 21 years ago. True, we haven't faced the Cobblers regularly since then, owing mainly to our time in non-League (when, ironically, we beat them in the FA Cup) but, given the recent form of the two teams I'd suggest it could be another tough afternoon for the Mariners.
Northampton have won their last four games and are unbeaten in seven. They've also scored in each of their last 11 matches, so it seems our defence is going to be tested tomorrow. They're riding the same wave of play-off enthusiasm we were on before we crashed down against Cambridge. Three more points at Grimsby and they'll edge closer to the top seven, so I'd argue a point against the Cobblers will be a point gained in the circumstances.
But with home victories over the likes of the Franchise Scum, Colchester and Tranmere, plus useful points and performances against Lincoln and Exeter, the Mariners do have the capability to step it up at home to the promotion-chasers. It's the likes of Macclesfield and Cambridge that we've come undone against on home turf.
But remember – don't get too excited if we win, and don't feel too downhearted if we lose. Easier said than done! But give it time, and then see how you feel after whatever may happen tomorrow. Enjoy the match and UTM!