After over half a year unbeaten in the league the boys in red have been bought back down to earth with a bang. Two defeats in a row to our nearest rivals for promotion have blown the league one title race wide open. Where we were once eight points in front of second place we now stand just two points clear of Preston in third.
Crucially though, we are still top. Though results haven’t been impressive the performances have not been bad. Wade Elliott was very unlucky to be sent off in the first minute against Swindon and despite playing 89 minutes with ten men, City only went down 1-0. There were chances in that game for both Kieran Agard and Aaron Wilbraham, yet they were fluffed. It was the exact same at home to Preston, where four gilt edged chances were missed. City’s profligacy in front of goal allowed the game to slip from their grasp.
With Agard and Wilbraham failing to find the net, now is the time to give Jay Emanuel-Thomas a good run out. In the first half of last season he was the single shining light for the reds, scoring goals almost single handedly. Sadly for JET, it appears Steve Cotterill is not his biggest fan.
It would appear the time to sign a like for like replacement for Sam Baldock has arrived. Wilbraham and Agard should not be blamed for the current lack of goals, having been relied upon all season. It would almost be churlish not to sign another striker to take some of the weight off their shoulders.
Judging from his summer signings Cotterill likes a tried and tested British player. Why not then, go for someone like Jonathan Forte or Eion Doyle in January? Both are scoring goals at league one level and their respective clubs are not in the best financial state. I’m sure a six figure bid would be sufficient to tempt one of the two away.
There has already been some transfer business, conducted on the quiet last week. Chelsea full back Todd Kane was signed on loan and made his first appearance at right back on saturday, when coming on as a substitute for Mark Little. Kane can play in several defensive positions, which will be vital during the Christmas run of games when injuries and suspension will take their toll.
Despite the two losses in a row faith in Cotterill should be retained. In the space of one year he’s took us from the bottom four to top of the table. By signing Kane forethought in the transfer market is being shown. I’m sure there’s more to follow. As it stands, the squad needs just one or two top class league one players. Secure them and I’m sure we’ll be celebrating promotion come May.