Stanley on brink of promotion?
Well, what an achievement!! We have made it, with a game to spare we have achieved the impossible and qualified for the promised land of the League Two Playoff’s.
To be honest I’m still pinching myself that it’s actually happened, but after brushing aside relegation candidates Barnet we are officially there.
Coupled with the fact Gillingham and our best mates Stevenage both lost we cannot now finish anywhere other than 5th in the table, a quite unbelievable scenario for my tiny club.
Who would have thought after losing 0-2 to Rotherham United on the 18th February, leaving us in 18th position we would be where we are today. Make no mistake the signs have been there, we have only lost 9 games all season and our home form in particular, since February has been nothing short of superb. Granted we have only won 3 games away all season, not promotion winning form, however the fact we have drawn 13 away games shows we are a very tough side to beat.
Looking at our results of the last few months the away victory to Wycombe Wanderers was the start of this run, and given the fact they where pre-season title contenders its not hard to see after beating them in their own back yard the lads mindset was surely we can beat anybody!
The re-introduction of young keeper Alex Cisak and defender Joe Jacobsen has been nothing short of a masterstroke from manager John Coleman with both players being absolutely magnificent in the last 20 games of the season.
Its quite scary to think Alex had not even played a league game before joining us on a free transfer from Leicester City in the summer, he really has been one of the star performers for me. He even walked away with the League Two player of the month award for March which shows just how far he has come in his young career.
I’m hoping the club can nail him down to a two year contract at least, then if bigger clubs come calling we can at least command a decent fee for what will be without a doubt in my opinion a Championship keeper of the future.
Joe Jacobsen has also been superb since his return on a free transfer from Oldham Athletic in the January transfer window. Having failed to break into Cardiff City’s first team he was released and dumped by Bristol Rovers and the Latics before we snapped him up in January. And what a decision it proved to be! Our management duo of Coleman & Bell knew what they where getting after Joe spent time on loan with us a few seasons ago and to have a natural left footed full back is a huge luxury. Hopefully along with Cisak contract talks are imminent.
I must also mention Jimmy Ryan, who in my eyes is our best player and has been ever since he has been at the club. This season he really has taken his performances onto another level and at the Supporter’s club presentation he was voted Player Of The Year, quite deservedly so. He has also scored 10 league goals, most of which have been absolute screamers from 20 yards plus. Im just praying he can lead us to Old Trafford and Playoff Glory! Congratulations Jimmy.
So to next Saturday and the final game of the ‘normal’ league season, another trip down the M6 to play former non-league rivals Burton Albion, who have avoided relegation in their first season of Npower League Two football, a great achievement. Having visited last season I quite like the Pirelli Stadium and hopefully it’s abit of a party atmosphere.
Maybe the manager might rest a couple of our star names such as Ryan, Jacobsen etc as we have a number of lads on the bench who are raring to go. However the all important momentum is present and he may just stick with the same XI. We will see next Saturday. No doubt our ears and eyes will be glued to the goings on at other grounds across the country with 99.9% of the Stanley fans wanting another holiday on the English Riviera in Torquay.
Draw at Burton next Saturday, draw 0-0 at Plainmoor, win 3-0 in the home leg, beat Stevenage 5-0 in the playoff final at Old Trafford, with Mark Roberts getting sent off in the 1st minute. How’s about that for a final four game prediction, if only all dreams came true!
On Stanley On