WITH the end of the campaign fast approaching, I have to turn my attentions to planning for next season.
I know what budget I have got to work with so I will start talking to players and put together a squad of around 18 players.
If the budget was the same as last season, players like Mark Danks, Emeka Nwadike, Adam Webster and Chris Smith would still be here but it’s not so we have to manage with what we’ve got.
I have got a rough idea of the players I want to keep and the games between now and the end of the season will help me decide on those I am in two minds over.
Whether we are not strong enough mentally and physically I don’t know, but after the last two performances things have got to change.
Next year we want to get the crowds back because we have let a lot of people down.
People are playing for contracts now, either here or with other clubs. If they want to go through the motions between now and the end of the season they will be looking for another club and teams who might want them won’t take them so that should be all the motivation they need.
One thing that has disappointed me is that we have conceded a lot of goals in the final few minutes of games and that has cost us. Last season we were winning matches late on.
We also haven’t scored anywhere near enough goals in the last nine or 10 games. I think we have created enough chances but we haven’t put them away.
We probably had the best two chances of the game at Chelmsford last weekend, both one-on-ones with the keeper, and didn’t make the most of them. We need at least one or two goalscorers for next season.
However, one of the positive aspects for me this campaign has been the younger players like Gary Walker, Shabir Khan and Matt Dins-more. They have all done really well and played a lot of games, which will hold them in good stead for next season.
This time last year they had played about 10 matches each so, hopefully, they can take that next step forward and be leading lights for us.
Away from St George’s Lane, it is sad to see the situation at my former club Southampton.
They are second from bottom in the Championship and in financial difficulties.
Four or five years ago they were in the FA Cup final and playing in Europe and things looked rosy. Now they look nailed-on to be relegated to League One, which, with their fan-base and new stadium, is unthinkable.
They have got to regroup to try and stay up and if they do that this season it will be a massive achievement.
Along with Birmingham City, it’s a club close to my heart and I look for their results more than most because I had some good times there so it’s sad to see them in this position.