Date:Monday January 18 2010
After a very good run in the league, Barnsley`s current form book is an alarming read. At the end of the year, the boasted an unbeaten run of eight games but after two league defeats in a row, suddenly the record reads one win from six. Has the backlash started for Mr. Robins?
He was hailed after a few games as a modern saviour, after dragging Barnsley off the foot of the Championship and into mid table, but recently form has dipped and the players have not looked interested in the last two games. Two league defeats in a row have left the Reds stranded in mid table looking as though they could go either way whereas before, their upward surge looked unstoppable.
Hopefully the defeat to Sheffield Wednesday will be the end to the poor run for the Reds, who face Plymouth Argyle at Home Park in a replay on Saturday. Nothing less than a win here will do, as the game was dramatically called off with the Reds leading 4-1 after 58 minutes. If they fail to take all three points from Home Park, they will certainly have to stop looking up and start looking over their shoulders at the chasing pack, who are gradually clawing back the deficit between themselves and safety.
With 13 days left in the transfer window, Robins will hopefully be looking to freshen up a squad that has started to look complacent of late. There was no desire or passion on Saturday. The front two were not challenging for the ball enough and made Darren Purse, not Sheffield Wednesday fans` favourite player by any stretch of the imagination, look like a hero. Iain Hume was the only player who looked hungry but he was a second half substitute. If I was Robins I`d be starting Hume now over Bogdanovic who spurned a golden opportunity to take the lead in the first half with a one on one.
The midfield lost the ball way too much and in all fairness to the strikers, barely gave them any service. The absence of Anderson was a big hindrance to the team who looked lost without him when it came to creativity. Every ball was panicked and rushed, and it really says something when you learn that Nathan Doyle was the player with our most shots, all three of which were thumped into the stand behind the goal. What did you expect?
Am I sounding cynical? Well I`m feeling cynical. In my opinion, this "dark horses for the Play-Offs" tag never really stuck. At the moment if we continue to play the way we have this year, I`d call us dark horses for relegation. Last January we went through the whole month without putting any points on the board. After 24 games last season we had just 28 points and survived on the last day of the season. We only have 30 now from 24 games.
I don`t want to be mongering bad vibes but the kind of football we`ve witnessed in the last two games is of no better a standard than what we had under Simon Davey. I don`t want to necessarily point the finger at Robins because he has done well since he came to the club but someone needs to be motivating these players to do well, especially against local rivals.
In all honesty more often than not whenever we have played the local teams like Wednesday, United or Doncaster, the opposition look more up for it than we do.
The Sheffield clubs` fans harp on about it being our "cup final" when we play them, but we don`t even live up to that bogus label. We don`t up our game against them and it`s about time we started.
With Doncaster and Sheffield United still to play, I expect much more effort next time against local sides and I hope that Mr Robins will endeavour to elicit that from his players.
Date:Monday January 18 2010
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