THE phoney wars of pre-season friendlies are over – now for the real thing.
Watching three of those games I have been both enlightened and entertained. While the results are of no importance the performance of individual players is crucial.
So many places are up for grabs manager Ady needs the maximum evidence before he makes his final selection.
Quite properly he is confidence of the ability in his squad, telling us all on Saturday that everyone in it is capable of playing first team football, adding that this is why they are here.
One word sums up the close season signings – resilience. Last year we fully deserved the title ‘Southern Softies’. We were often out-tackled, out-fought and out-played by teams we should have beaten. This will not happen in the coming season. Epitomized by the example of captain Pipe we have players of character, determination and resolve. We shall see a team that if it loses will go down fighting.
What will that team be? The manager has said he is moving towards his first choice XI and adds that some players are going to be sad at being left out. Good! That is as it should be.
We want an able squad with real competition for every place, I offer just one suggestion. Could the centre-back pairing be Oshodi and Bennett? At the moment Luke Oliver seems too error prone.
Perhaps the biggest decision is where to play the talented James Norwood. Should he be wide, on the wing or perhaps the centre forward of his youth? This is not a decision to be made thinking of James alone. He is part of a much wider problem.
If it is thought Kelly, Sinclair and Frear are all worthy of inclusion where does James Play? Write your chosen XI down and you will see what I mean.
Apart from the dashing James I am looking forward to the baronial presence of Lee Hughes at centre forward. He oozes calm authority and can bring out the best in those around him.
The temptation to look back must be avoided. Remember some players chose to leave, Taylor, Klukowski and Turley being just three of those. However good we thought the departed ones were it must be remembered they are all associated with the failure of a mediocre tenth position. That was not good enough, nor will it be this season. Play-offs at least please.
The fans forum on August 7 will be a chance to hear the plans of both chairman and manager. Both men are totally honest, they do not indulge in bluff or bluster but tell things exactly as they are.
The evening will be as good as the questions asked. The club has a proud history, respected and valued by everyone. That should be taken as read and all of us should look forward.
Of course the ground and a possible move will be mentioned, but that is too far forward. It is the actual football future we all want to hear about, and if the evening gives a prod to our Conference elders (I cannot write leaders, the evidence being minimal) to push for three up, three down that will be an added bonus.
One final word and it is about the ever interesting story of James Norwood and his hair. In a conversation with the ever amiable James I challenged him about his latest hair style. He had the best possible answer. He and colleague James Jennings have undertaken the Macmillan ‘shave or style’ challenge, and both had their heads shaves.
They are now heading for respectability but are anxious to receive any donations for the best of all causes. Well done both of you and let us hope that applies to the football as well.
Light’s starting XI for Southport: Russell Pipe (Capt) – Oshodi - Bennett - Stokes Sinclair - Wedgbury – Bangura - Norwood Hughes - Rogers Subs: Kamdjo – Jennings – Wright.
Damn, I have left out Kelly! Impossible isn’t it! He must go in for Frear. First three games – six points please.