It had been a solid preseason. I had made some key signings in a couple of areas that I felt needed strengthening, David Stockdale was back as the main Goalkeeper between the sticks and I was ready to take on a Norwich side that was steamrolling the Championship in real life.
This is a game where I wasn’t sure what I was going to get in all fairness. I had no idea how my tactics would fair but at St Andrews in my managerial debut, I was optimistic that I could get a positive result in my opening match. Well, it is safe to say that I did exactly that….
7-2!!! That was a result that I could only dream of when I started this save. Gary Gardner was absolutely immense for me in midfield, whilst my new loan signing Joe Willock from Arsenal also really impressed. Jutkiewicz also began the season as he has in real life (I really wish that I stayed firm on Che Adams now!). It was a real team performance from Blues, and one that really had me optimistic for the season ahead. Of course, it was only one game but if you can score as heavy as that, not many teams will be stopping us this season. You can see how well my team played as I had this pop up in my inbox a couple of days later:
4 of my first team were handed spots in the Team of the Week. Yes, Stockdale too! I think that proves that my decision to bring David back in from the cold nature of the U18s was right. It was a really good performance but that was just one game, I really couldn’t judge it just on this. Was this just a day where everyone was on fire, would it last? Time would tell.
My next game was against promotion favourites Middlesbrough on paper had a great team but after that 7-2 demolition of Norwich, I once again fancied my chances to take on Middlesbrough and get a result down there. I stuck with the same team that done me so well the first game and came out with a result that I was really pleased about.
I was really happy with this result, just as much as I was against Norwich in all honesty. Middlesbrough will be up there this Season battling it out for automatic promotion, whilst I’m not too sure at the moment where I think we can finish. It’s too early to predict, but this is a great start. The press and fans alike were also both very happy with the start to the season. Joe Willock once again scored in this match, which in turn brought questions from the press to see if already, I would like to make him a permanent member of my squad. I replied I’d love to of course, but unless I’m in the Premier League or getting some decent transfer funds from TTA, I can’t see that one happening.
Transfer wise, it was quite a difficult one. Since my last report, no one has come in for any of my transfer listed players, which is quite the frustration. I did try and sign one player, recommended to me by a forum user of SHA. Didier NDong was the player. I managed to agree terms on him, who looked like a fantastic Central Midfielder for this level. However, I was given some very bad news.
Yup, the work permit was turned down and even though I wanted to appeal, Didier Ndong wasn’t interested and decided to cancel the transfer due to not passing the original application. I was really disappointed at this, he would of been a great player to add to my squad. The window closed and unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a left back that I thought was suitable as back up and would fit into my price range.
Back into the league now, I was handed another tough tie against Swansea. Again, I thought the tried and tested approach was the way to go for this one. However, things didn’t quite go to plan and it was such a sucker punch right at the end.
One of the positives once again was Joe Willock. In the first three games, he has been outstanding for me and will be a player that will flourish in the Championship. To concede in stoppage time after I had such really good chances to score, especially in the second half from both Jota and Crouch was such a blow to take.
Sandwiched between those games I had my first round of the Carabao Cup at home to Milwall. I’m not too fussed on the cups this season, it’s all about consolidating my position in the league. However, I did manage to win 5-4 (1-1 in normal time) with a much changed side and will face Stevenage in the second round.
After my first three league games and cup tie, I feel like I’ve made a decent start to the season. Yes, it would of been nice to win all three league games, but I’ve only lost 1 out of 3 and I’ve scored 8 goals in three (granted, 7 was in one game!
I’m looking forward to seeing how the next 4 games go with my next update to the save next week. Can we push on and go on a little run or will that one huge win at the start of the season be the highest point of a downward curve?
Got any advice? Give me a shout on twitter @adamneaves! See you next week!