Friday, 31 July 2009

Two more friendlies and then............

We are into the actual season. Maybe it is my perception but the build up to the season has seemed interminably long this year as by my calculation we will have played more pre season matches than ever. The manager prefers playing games, I have seen the mojority of them, and it must be said that the first eleven is starting to come together nicely with the exception of one position - goalkeeper.

Chris Maxwell is at present our only first team keeper and at a young age and with little experience this is somewhat worrying. Maxi has done well in pre season but the last couple of games have seen two errors of judgement that have cost two goals and in all liklihood in competitive games would have resulted in two red cards. Dean Bousanis is looking less likely to come every day and Saunders is trying out keepers at a rate of knots. One has to say that the boss's judgement has looked good so far so I guess we'll have to trust him to solve this conundrum in time for the start of the season.

I was relieved to see the Tamworth game quickly rearranged so that we do not fall too far behind in terms of games played because last years experience shows that in this league that is very easy to do. The rest of the squad is looking good and my hopes are high for a good season


Saturday, 25 July 2009

Man City Podcasts

The Man City podcast is now up at the temporary site ( featuring Dean Saunders, Wes Baynes and Glyn Hodges.

Get Scouting!

We won't be seeing Carlos Tevez or Emanuel Adebayor, or even John Terry at The Racecourse this afternoon, but it'll still be fascinating to look at City's team. They might all be young lads, but Dean Saunders clearly has contacts at Eastlands as he regularly plunders their reserves for signings-four so far! So watch carefully-a couple of our players for the coming season might be lining up against us today!
If we're playing the percentages, we might look at their right back, of course, as we're supposed to be looking at a Premiership player in that position. Well, so far in their pre-season City have been playing Shaleum Logan at right back, but yesterday he signed for Tranmere on loan.
Hmmm...a Man City right back with first team experience who was available on loan. Have we missed out on a target there?

Friday, 24 July 2009

So Where's Bouzanis?

I'm positive the squad numbers announced last week had Dean Bouzanis at number 1, but he's disappeared from the list on the club website now.
I've been looking for cached versions of the club site's page, but can't find any. However, judging by what was posted on Red Passion on the day the squad numbers were announced, I think my recollection's accurate!

So what's going on? It did seem peculiar that three weeks after announcing he was on his way there was still no sign of the Liverpool keeper, especially as we seem to play our cards much closer to our chests these days.
Not so long ago the media was packed with stories from the club about players we were about to buy, and lots of them fell through. It's clear that Dean Saunders doesn't tell us of deals until they're sorted, which to my eyes is a much better way of going about business. It avoids the danger of a deal becoming public knowledge too soon and being gazumped, and ensures we don't get too carried away when a big name is rumoured to be on his way.
Of course there have been transfers mooted which haven't happened, but they haven't tended to be deals Saunders was behind as far as I can see-I don't think he was terribly desperate to get Robbie Savage or Kiki Musampa.
I don't know whether Bouzanis has got cold feet or if we've jumped the gun, but this latest development makes me suspect that he certainly won't be signing for us any time soon. On Tuesday night the notion that he couldn't play for us because he was needed for a Liverpool Reserves friendly seemed a lame excuse. It looks even more like one now. The question is, whose excuse was it.

With two weeks left until...............

we start the Blue Square campaign the team and squad are coming together very nicely. Dean Saunders, true to his word, has not been rushed and signed just anyone. This week has seen Matty Wolfenden and Lamine Sakho agree to join the cause, whilst Tom Kearney had moved on to pastures new. The squad whilst being smaller than last year is packed with players who have shown considerable promise or have experience of playing at a higher level.

Swine flu (or a virus anyway) hit the players this week with four missing the match against Preston but the biggest health scare to hit the club was the saga of Marc's right foot. Williams limped off after only six minutes on Tuesday causing his manager major first half worry and some not inconsiderable concern in the commentary position as Mark and I reflected and agonised on another spell without our talisman. Fortunately it proved to be ill founded as the bone was not broken and with any luck the Welsh U21 striker will be available for the visit of Eastbourne.

So are any of our strikers capable of scoring 20+ goals and driving us towards the holy grail of promotion back to the Football League. Their track records say no but then so did Benno's and Andy Morrell's before they fired in the goals that earned us promotion in 92~93 and 02~03. Andy Mangan potentially could have repeated last seasons performance but he is now banned for betting activity so why can't Marc, Gareth, Obi, Simon or Matty score 20 goals? No reason at all in my view given the right service who is to say Marc Williams can't be the new Gary Bennett or Matty Wolfenden the new Andy Morrell. Besides which there are still two weeks to go and Deano hasn't let us down so far who knows what excitement and new signings they will bring.


Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Preston Podcast

The Preston podcast is now up at featuring Dean Saunders. The Supporters Association's website is undergoing a major overhaul and the podcasts will be posted there from the Eastbourne game onwards.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Three Weeks left.........

and this week has seen a number of friendlies played by the Dragons in the build up to Eastbourne Borough. A relatively strong line up played against both Coventry and Colwyn Bay whilst a side made of youngsters and trialists drew with Prestatyn Town. There was then a friendly against TNS at Colliers where a young Dragons side lost 3-1.

It has certainly been an interesting induction into the commentary box as with Mark missing from both the away games I have been trying to work out who is who and where they are playing. With Poles, French, Faroese and Argentinians playing alongside youth team players and first year professionals at times it has been a major challenge, especially without a proper team sheet to assist! I still don't know who Alex Wright was at Prestatyn, even the font of all things Wrexham, Geraint Parry, was none the wiser.

Hedi Taboubi impressed me against Coventry and Prestatyn and it was great to hear that he had also impressed Dean Saunders and has now signed a contract for a season at The Racecourse. He certainly brings something to the party that our other midfield players don't have. It was also good to see Mark Jones scoring a fantastic goal at Colwyn Bay, if only he can regain his form of a couple of years ago.

With the season getting ever closer two articles I have read recently point to how quickly things can change in football. Firstly both Swansea and Doncaster have climbed 61 places in the league over the last two seasons and secondly the Exeter City programme editor commented how two seasons ago he was preparing for the visits of Forest Green , Altrincham and Northwich Victoria and now he is looking forward to Norwich City, Leeds United and Southampton.
If they can do it so can we but I still think we need two strikers!


Saturday, 11 July 2009

Coventry Podcast

The Coventry podcast is now up featuring Dean Saunders, Marc Williams, Adrian Cieslewisz and Chris Coleman.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Now we've only got four weeks to go.............

and things are certainly starting to move towards that first BSP game on 8th August. Wrexham have been installed as 12/1 to win the BSP this season which could well be worth a punt if Deano continues with his policy of waiting for quality and getting the right man. The news that Mani Assoumani is due to fly in later to day is a good indication of this as the guy looked good in the games he played last season. From the look of the pre season training regime the players have been through Saunders is obviously planning on the high energy football killing teams off in the final quarter that served us so well when he first arrived. I bet the players can't wait for tomorrow and a chance to kick a ball in anger against Coventry just as a change from running on beaches, forests and rivers!

The biggest shock of the week had to be the decision to switch the local derby against Chester to Sunday lunchtime. Comments on various fans forums on this ask the question as to why North Wales police cannot look after 5,000 fans the vast majority of whom are well behaved on a traditional Saturday afternoon kick off and to be brutally honest I do not know why either. Far higher profile games take place on Saturday afternoons each week with far bigger crowds, imagine if every London derby had to be a Sunday morning! This season in the Premier League we have Bolton, Blackburn, Wigan and Burnley together with the two Liverpool and two Manchester clubs so I wonder how many of these games will be moved on police insistence rather then for TV.

Good luck to the two remaining Welsh clubs in their European ventures next week. I witnessed The New Saints exit last night at the hands of Fram Reykjavik and Llanelli fell to Scottish Premier side Motherwell. This leaves Rhyl playing the once mighty Partizan Belgrade with the first leg next Tuesday and Bangor City playing the Finnish side Honka. Bangor's second leg is at The Racecourse in a couple of weeks time and the close proximity of our pre season friendly against them to the first leg has resulted in the match being called off. This is the second Welsh Premier side to pull out of friendlies against us on the particular Monday evening. Still plenty to look forward to as the season's build up continues to gather momentum.


Friday, 3 July 2009

Five weeks tomorrow.........

We kick off our campaign to regain Football League status with a home game against Eastbourne Borough. Now not being particularly superstitious we won at home 5-0 twice last season, once on the opening day of the season and once against Eastbourne so surely lightening cannot strike twice or is it three times as the omens point to a good start to the season. Let's hope so!

Other dates to watch out for are probable Sunday lunchtime kick offs against our old rivals Chester in September and on Valentine's day (thoughts of a massacre come to mind!), Altrincham are our Christmas derby double act at home on Boxing day and then away on New Years Day. The run in, he says being optimistic, does not on paper look to difficult with the last 6 games being Histon (H), Mansfield (A), Gateshead (H), Grays (A), Rushden (H) and then the travelling red army is set to invade the great footballing outpost of Hayes & Yeading on the last Saturday of the season.

With the players returning to full time training earlier this week and more new signings in the offing this particular correspondent is feeling extremely optimistic about the season ahead and with the first pre season game due on 11th July the season is getting ever closer. Five weeks and counting...

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