View From The Dugout

View from the Dugout: A disappointing start, but I can see light at the end of the tunnel

By Phil Parkinson at

Today’s column is from manager Phil Parkinson…

We travelled to Southport on Tuesday night and we wanted to give them a bit of respect on their own ground, as we knew they would put it on us and that they are a very physical team and I felt we weathered it for the majority of the game.

We went with more of a flat three in midfield, rather than the triangle we normally play with the link role as a number 10. I just felt it was a little bit enforced as well, not that Yusifu Ceesay plays as a number 10, but he was delayed in traffic, travelling from Birmingham and arrived late. It sometimes happens with away games when the lads are travelling and it posed a question should we play 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3.

Watch highlights from the defeat at Southport here

I still feel the midfield three should’ve done a little bit better in terms of their attention, one or two had an off day as well – which seems to happen every now and again.

In the second half I felt we were the only team that looked like we were going to go on to get anything out of the game. People may disagree with me here, but I felt that a draw would have been a deserved point. You saw straight away that the substitutions worked, with Josh Hancock coming in to play the number 10 role and Yusifu Ceesay playing wide. It gave us a different dimension.

Action from the 2-1 midweek loss at Southport

Lewis Walters has gone on loan to Buxton for a month as the recent wide players that we have brought in I feel are ahead of Lewis at this point and it’s just unfortunate for him the way it’s gone. I was perfectly honest with Lewis, I didn’t see myself bringing in Yusifu and Ashley Hemmings, which was a deal that I thought was dead in the water then I got the opportunity to, which is unfortunate for Lewis.

We’re one of the least physical teams in the league and have had three red cards in nine games, playing against some really physical teams. Referees are dishing out yellow cards like lollipops at the moment and we seem to be getting the brunt of really poor decisions – I’m not defending Simon Richman, he shouldn’t go to ground, but I don’t think it warrants a second yellow card. The way the refs are giving them out at the moment, it’s for the smallest of things.

The Robins have picked up nine points from their opening nine games

On the positive side, Jordan Hulme is hitting a bit of form for us, the other lads will thrive off that as well. He’s a real figurehead and I think if he can keep up the good form, we can get a bit of momentum. I know everyone is getting ever so annoyed with how inconsistent the results have been as well as the performances, all I can say is – we’re getting there, we’re working hard and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Whilst we have had a disappointing start, we have nine points from nine games, which is exactly the same as last season. Hopefully, we can kick-on from today’s game against Leamington, as we did last year when a win at Bradford Park Avenue in game 10 kick-started our season.

We have a full squad to pick from, apart from Tom Hannigan, who completes his three-match suspension today.

We know what we’re facing against Leamington, we’ve got to make sure we select the squad, not just the team that are going to have to combat them. We’ve got to make sure everyone is contributing on the day and if we do that and play to our potential then we’ve got every hope of getting something from the game, against a side who have had a very good start to the season.

Pictures: Jonathan Moore