Ask any fan at the start of the season what they’d like for the club and the answers will be pretty much the same – win the league.
However, ask them to have a think about it and come back to you with their thoughts on what constitutes a good season, and let’s just say the answers would be pretty varied.
One thing most will have in common though is the need for progress. Anything that shows the team is progressing and improving on the results of last season, is deemed acceptable. Whether that’s an improvement in front of goal, better defence, or a little more bite in the central midfield department is all down to personal opinion and, of course, what the team actually needs to improve on.
And after last season’s third place finish, there didn’t really seem to be a whole lot that needed improving upon. Unfortunately, at this stage of the season, we’re seeing very little in the way of improvement. We currently sit ten points behind last year’s runners-up and this year’s leaders South Shields and we have it all to do just to make up the deficit.
But you know all of this already, right?
So let’s get back to our original question – what constitutes a good season for Warrington Town FC? Is it more goals from the strikers or is it less goals conceded at the opposite end?
More goals up front
Last season we scored 69 goals, which was some way behind the top two who finished on 82 and 86 respectively. So far this season we have 47, which while not too bad, still isn’t the high-scoring form of a team with hopes of hitting top spot. Iwan Murray was brought in on loan for a month and duly repaid the faith in his abilities with a goal, but his solitary appearance wasn’t quite the shot in the arm we thought it might be.
Will Harris and Jordan Buckley joined in January to add a little spark to the team. But even with these signings, the very fact that we have no player with more than ten goals so far this season speaks volumes. We need to kick on and start banging them in if the forward line is going to consider this a solid effort for their season. Not only that, but the lack of firepower up front has had a detrimental effect on our playoff hopes with more draws than wins in the last ten outings.
Patch up that leaky defence
Now this is where we’re hitting a bad run of luck. This season we’ve already shipped 37 goals which is four more than we conceded in the entirety of last season. It’s a fact not lost on the manager and Carden has worked hard with the back line to try to improve their fortunes. We’re still seemingly a work in progress though as there’s a slight bit of inconsistency creeping into our game.
Our debutant goalkeeper standing in against Scarborough put in a fine shift to keep a clean sheet and help us to our first win in quite some time. His man of the match performance was inspired and we can only hope that it’s a sign of things to come.
Jones was originally drafted in from Wigan as a deputy to Tony McMillan. However, after the regular number one suffered a calf injury in the frustrating 3-3 draw against lowly Grantham Town, the Republic of Ireland Under 19 International was thrown in at the deep end and inspired those around him with an incredible performance. Let’s hope that he can maintain his form in his unexpected run in goal, and that the defence can take some measure of inspiration from the 18-year-old.
Can we finish top?
If you fancy a flutter on our chances then according to comparison site Oddschecker, one of the best options for odds is Bet365. They’re offering 25/1 for us to earn promotion. We’re the perennial optimists here, but finishing top would require a considerable run of form that would see us beat everyone and hope a few teams above drop more than their fair share of points.
Yes, it’s certainly possible, but the boss will need to oversee one of the greatest runs in the history of the club. And that is by no means an easy feat.
South Shields aren’t in the best of form right now with three draws, a win, and a loss in their last five games. But the probability that they’ll continue this slight dip in form through the rest of the season is highly unlikely. Basford United are making up ground though with three wins, a draw, and a solitary loss in their last five. The fact is that we’re hoping for the six teams above us to all drop points over the next couple of months while we keep grinding out results. Like we said, it’s possible, but it’s still an outside bet. All of which explains why the bookies have us at 25/1 which are quite good odds to be honest!
Our chances of finishing top might be slim, but the value of win over Scarborough cannot be underestimated. It could be the spark that reignites our push for a playoff spot which is what at this point must be our most realistic goal.
So what would be a successful season? Way back in August we might have said all the things we mentioned at the start of this article. Bags of goals, a rock solid defence, and top spot for our efforts. At this point in the season though, we’re going for something a little more realistic. A good season at this point would be to make the playoffs and to see some of the younger players progress and take the chances that they’ll surely get in the months to come. Anything less will be a step backwards, and that is not a direction that Warrington Town FC want to head in.