Relegation Dogfight Thread

thewwfc

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Let's get this party started then.

In one of the weakest third tier contests in recent memory, the one thing you can say is whoever's for the drop this season is really going to deserve it, with this amount of entirely beatable mediocre to crap teams in the division.

Screenshot 2024-02-04 164834.png

For the sake of argument, I'm going to include the full bottom half of the table, but realistically I'd say only those from Cambridge on down are still in this.

For Reading on up, it's pretty damn tight and one win can send you shooting several positions up the table - plus there's games in hand complicating matters.

So to keep it objective, let's check out points per game as well. The columns, in order, are:

PWDLFA+/-Pts


Screenshot 2024-02-04 165248gg.png

This probably doesn't tell us anything we don't already know, other than Reading are better than their position implies (given the points deduction, not that surprising).

Sobering reading for Charlton fans, but you'd imagine that the appointment of Jones will be enough to steer them to safety.

Right now I feel like we've got just about enough about us to scrape through this season, but I'm taking nothing for granted given that Franchise went down with a top-half budget, and Oxford skirted alarmingly close to doing the same.

Yeah, we won yesterday, but have a shocking set of Feb fixtures and could easily be in the drop zone at the end of the month.

I can't see the current bottom 3 beating the drop to be honest, they're a bit adrift and would have to find promotion form from somewhere to even get up to safety right now - which seems pretty unlikely on current form, and I don't think any of those sides has suddenly signed a saviour in the transfer window.

But you never know, there could still be a side that drops like a stone for whatever reason. At the very least, 21st is still very much up for grabs, with a generous swathe of contenders.
 

kieran_vale

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Well our DOF isn't "entertaining" the idea of relegation which is nice. It's the kind of hubris that ends only one way. Games in hand should be a cause for optimism but then you have to win them. Will have a better idea where we stand in this at the end of February as most of our backlog should be cleared then.

Change of manager and it hopefully is a different conversation but I don't think our owner will do it as she doesn't see what the fuss is about.

Guess the wildcard is always the next Reading deduction always feels around the corner but it's a pretty sad thing to cling to.
 

leedsvaliant

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We had a reasonable December, but the 2 postponed matches and a terrible transfer window has completely knocked the wind out of us and is only sending us one way. If you were to pick a case study for a relegation candidate, we would be it.

Feel like we've lost our best 2 players and replaced them with players not nearly as good. We've got 2 senior strikers on the books, our top scorer is out until at least mid March. Management team arrogantly 'not even considering relegation '. Concede goals for fun and go on runs where we struggle to score any. Poor goal difference. Lack of real leaders and fighters.

Like I said, if you studied us the you'd put us at odds on. My only crumb of comfort is that the points tally to stay up is likely to be low and everyone around us is also pretty useless.
 

valefan16

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Bottom three are gone i would say, certainly the bottom 2 and Cheltenhams poor January recruitment probably leaves them too much to do.

Reading should get out of it but think they have some EFL hearing this month don’t they ?

Our games in hand give some comfort but losing 3-0 to Fleetwood doesn’t, a relatively kind February on paper needs to convert to points. Ojo returning is a huge boost but are a James Wilson injury away from being totally screwed.

At the moment I think we are deep in trouble but 4-6 points this week in the two home games and things feel different.
 

SVH

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Carlisle, Fleetwood, Cheltenham and Port Vale for me.
 

folletto

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I wouldn't write us off so easily. We haven't won since Nov 28th and are in there on ppg for a reason. Jones has a real job on his hand keeping us up
 

Carver

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Just look at how fucking shit we are!

No chance we're staying up.
 

codaplenty

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I think Carlisle Fleetwood and Cheltenham are heading towards league 2
The 4th member of this exclusive party could well be a surprise, and NOT Port Vale........
 

leedsvaliant

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If Charlton are in it at the end of the season, that's a catastrophic mismanagement considering some of the players they have. Can't see it myself.

Ours hinges on how we get on in our games in hand. If we can win a couple and then get some of our injured players back, and install a manager who could get us over the line, then we should be OK.

If we have a bad February, our March and April are more difficult.
 

GEORGE

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Strange Charlton are down the bottom with that side. Escape relegation this season and I reckon they'll win it next.
 

Bobbin'

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Strange Charlton are down the bottom with that side. Escape relegation this season and I reckon they'll win it next.

Blimey, that’s some statement.

We are a long, long, long way from being promotion contenders.

Still going to be tough to stay up, need to uncoach all the Appleton nonsense before we can really start to crack on.
 

EricSabin

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Delighted and surprised not to be worried about this thread.

Fleetwood, Carlisle, Cheltenham and Burton to drop for me
 

leedsvaliant

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I said before....lump your money on Vale. We're the worst performing league 1 team in the last calendar year. 3 wins in 21 is it now? Nailed on.
 

valefan16

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I said before....lump your money on Vale. We're the worst performing league 1 team in the last calendar year. 3 wins in 21 is it now? Nailed on.
11 wins since January 2nd 2023… 5 of them in a 4 week period and 3 of them in a 3 week period… take out those 7 weeks and it’s 3 wins in 8 months of football.

Second half tonight was really bad, 1 month ago we battered Charlton (all be it drew) but had 29 shots and looked really good… how in four weeks have we regressed so badly?!

Obviously injuries are a killer, Uche is a blow as he allowed us to get the ball sticking and Devine going back but we look so devoid of anything really.
 

Carver

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Our manager has recently admitted that we were not ready for L1 so pretty much confirms where the club accepts and sees us heading which to be honest is fair enough because we really weren't ready and everyone knows it.

Just hope we can get some better performances and results before the end.
 

kieran_vale

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Say this for Reading it appears that their off the pitch issues has given them a bit of an us against the world thing and are fighting hard. Already seen the idea floated (not seriously) of Vale fans getting tickets for the home end for the replayed game and going on the pitch to activate that point deduction. Needs must and all that :)

As for us last night showed the need to get the manager situation sorted out asap. Completely directionless. Also need to expand the field beyond anyone who only plays three at the back. We don’t have the personnel to do it. Play with wingbacks yet barely have a natural one in the squad and are asking midfielders to do it instead, great work that.
 

valefan16

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Say this for Reading it appears that their off the pitch issues has given them a bit of an us against the world thing and are fighting hard. Already seen the idea floated (not seriously) of Vale fans getting tickets for the home end for the replayed game and going on the pitch to activate that point deduction. Needs must and all that :)

As for us last night showed the need to get the manager situation sorted out asap. Completely directionless. Also need to expand the field beyond anyone who only plays three at the back. We don’t have the personnel to do it. Play with wingbacks yet barely have a natural one in the squad and are asking midfielders to do it instead, great work that.
3 at the back is not suited for Vale Park, pitch is far too wide even ex players are saying it on social media/punditry.

I would go 4-3-3 at this juncture.

Reading getting a points deduction is our only hope at the moment! Dont they have an EFL hearing soon?

Looks like protests Saturday outside the entrance... didnt think we'd be going back to those days.
 

Bobbin'

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Second half tonight was really bad, 1 month ago we battered Charlton (all be it drew) but had 29 shots and looked really good… how in four weeks have we regressed so badly?!

Probably because you haven’t played against us in those four weeks?
 

valefan16

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Probably because you haven’t played against us in those four weeks?
No but a week before that we beat Blackpool 3-0, we actually had decent form in December with 10 points, scored 3 goals in 4 games, 2 in another, we were top scorers in the league over that period... now even a shot on target is a big achievement.
 

thewwfc

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3 at the back is not suited for Vale Park, pitch is far too wide even ex players are saying it on social media/punditry.

I would go 4-3-3 at this juncture.

Reading getting a points deduction is our only hope at the moment! Dont they have an EFL hearing soon?

Looks like protests Saturday outside the entrance... didnt think we'd be going back to those days.

f*cking hate 3 at the back, we tried it and built our whole squad round it...except it was a massive failure, we weren't good enough to do the whole "playing it out from the back" bit (very few lower league sides really are, and even EPL sides get caught out with it)...and our wingbacks seemed to be neither any good at the "wing" or the "back" bit.

In a formation that can go to 5 at the back then you expect defensive solidity, perhaps at the cost of some attacking outlet...but no, we weren't keeping clean sheets and were unproductive going forwards.

Thank god we've (mostly) ditched it in favour of 4 at the back...Bloomfield still likes to go 5 at the back in the last 10 minutes or so, to try and shore things up...but we've got probably the worst record in the entire division for conceding late sickeners. :lac:
 

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They are and that's all any of us want. 16 games to go, some of them are winnable but still a big ask
You have two very good players in Omochere & Lawal that might just get you out of this dogfight.
 

kieran_vale

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You have two very good players in Omochere & Lawal that might just get you out of this dogfight.

With you on Lawal. Looked an impressive player against us.
 

leedsvaliant

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f*cking hate 3 at the back, we tried it and built our whole squad round it...except it was a massive failure, we weren't good enough to do the whole "playing it out from the back" bit (very few lower league sides really are, and even EPL sides get caught out with it)...and our wingbacks seemed to be neither any good at the "wing" or the "back" bit.

In a formation that can go to 5 at the back then you expect defensive solidity, perhaps at the cost of some attacking outlet...but no, we weren't keeping clean sheets and were unproductive going forwards.

Thank god we've (mostly) ditched it in favour of 4 at the back...Bloomfield still likes to go 5 at the back in the last 10 minutes or so, to try and shore things up...but we've got probably the worst record in the entire division for conceding late sickeners. :lac:
It's crazy. We've persisted with Smith as one of the ball playing centre halves. He has many positive attributes but control and passing are not one of them.

The other centre halves are not Maldini either! We've tried to shoehorn Massey, Plant and Sang in as wingbacks, who are either forwards or midfielders. Grant looks well past his best.

I'm not a qualified coach but I could see that we didn't have the players to suit this formation that we have 'built' the squad around.

Rank bad leadership and planning all round and it's only going to end one way. I don't know whether I can face another season in league 2!
 

valefan16

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It's crazy. We've persisted with Smith as one of the ball playing centre halves. He has many positive attributes but control and passing are not one of them.

The other centre halves are not Maldini either! We've tried to shoehorn Massey, Plant and Sang in as wingbacks, who are either forwards or midfielders. Grant looks well past his best.

I'm not a qualified coach but I could see that we didn't have the players to suit this formation that we have 'built' the squad around.

Rank bad leadership and planning all round and it's only going to end one way. I don't know whether I can face another season in league 2!
Think your being ungrateful mate… we are having a new gym and offices overlooking the training ground what more do you want?
 

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The 3 at the back must be the vogue thing to do on all of these coaching courses for this new generation of managers and DOFs as Shrewsbury recruited for it too. Injuries to the only wing backs in the squad didn't help. Looks like Hurst is taking us back to a back 4, but we now have 6 central defenders in the squad, with the only full back being Benning who was surplus to requirements at Vale. To be fair he's played well this month.

It also speaks volumes of our summer recruitment that our starting lineup on Saturday consisted of 7 players that we had last season, Benning as he was the only full back, Feeney as a makeshift right back until we can get Bennett fit, Pierre who signed mid season on a free and Taylor Perry who once our new loanee from Brighton is up to speed is probably going to be the one to make way. We had 6 loanees in the summer, 4 have gone back having barely played a game and the other 2 didn't even make the match day squad Saturday, as well as Mata who we paid money for in August and had to wait weeks for his work permit.

I still think we'll have enough to stay out of trouble, Hurst should make us harder to beat. The worry is what will happen to Cotterill's players come the summer when most are out of contract and we're still trying to cut costs. I think we're all lucky that there are so many teams still involved in this.
 

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