What Experience Tells Us

A long football-free week has finally passed… I suppose there was the England game, but no – I’ll stick with football-free. The two victories on the road last week – one fantastic, one fortunate – should really have put us all in a really confident mood of returning to the top of the table going into tomorrows game against Gateshead. During the week, however, Terry Brown took steps to check the supporters confidence in an interview with the local Guardian…

In no way, shape or form did I expect this group of young lads to gel so quickly or start turning in the performances that they have. What experience tells us though is that there will be a period where we lose games and we lose confidence. I have to make sure that we have enough experience and know-how in the side to deal with that, as it will definitely happen.

This was followed up by confirmation at Wednesday’s SGM that our playing budget this season is indeed similar to that estimated by the NLP in August – if there was a league table of budgets the Dons would probably be around lower mid-table. Certainly this was a sensibly timed announcement… I can’t help but think confidence levels among the fanbase have skyrocketed  to unrealistic levels.

It’s fair to say this blog has been more than guilty of cranking up the hype, and really who can blame any of us for getting excited?! Its been a fantastic and highly unexpected start to the season… but we have only given ourselves a great chance of achieving the unlikely. Sitting second in the table generated a number of reports in the national media celebrating our imminent return to the Football League – with little club news floating about during a quiet international week, you can’t blame editors looking down the tables and spotting a good news story to fill a bit of space. But we are second with thirty games to go, not three… nothing has been decided yet.

Which is why Brown had to act. At least the last two visiting managers to Kingsmeadow have mentioned how the home crowds expectations can be turned against us, and that certainly worked for Forest Green after their early goal a couple of weeks ago. We hadn’t got on the players backs or started hurling abuse, far from it… we didn’t need to. The disappointment leaked onto the pitch, making our young side think twice about everything they did… and ended up fortunate to scrape a draw. So there’s no surprise that Ian Bogie has been saying similar on the Gateshead website… Our two victories would have given the side a great deal of confidence, so hopefully this will continue into tomorrows game.

We are fortunate that our three England C internationals (plus Reece Jones) have returned without injury – you do wonder whether the recent run of games may have affected their stamina slightly, but they are young enough to cope with it – and the remainder of the squad are hopefully refreshed after a weeks rest. We should see an unchanged side (so no point me guessing it!)… here’s hoping we go into our cup game with another victory in the bag…

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