Thought I might as well round up the news from the week.
No Chris Hargreaves tomorrow after one lunging tackle too many brought around a fifth yellow card and subsequent ban. Difficult to know the impact this will have; Hargreaves' contribution is not always clear. He can be totally anonymous, which might suggests he's doing the dirty work that lets others shine. Other times he appears to maraud aimlessly like Braveheart with his hair flapping in the wind. Interesting to note he's enjoyed seven man of the match awards on Rage Online - six away from home; he's got an awayday buccaneering spirit about him so probably isn't missed at home so much.
Carl Pettefer could come in to scamper around like a crazed hamster, more likely we'll be welcoming back Burgess. I say welcome, Burge is going to search deep into his soul to find some form. If he can regain some of his lost glory and with confidence coming back in the team; timing couldn't be better. Although that's likely to mean curtains for Hargreaves' Oxford career, especially now that the Oxford Mail are referring to him as a 'veteran'.
Jim Smith is a dourly pragmatic man who may have hidden depths. For example, his assertion that the last thirteen games need to purloin nine wins and four draws may be simple heartbreaking fact; or some smart mind games. The former, more likely.
The curmudgeonly old sod even states that he still thinks we have the best squad in the league; I think he's right. Where this leaves team morale, who knows? In part, you're the best team in the division, but drop more than 8 points for the rest of the season and you're toast. Pressure? What pressure?
A knock for Andy Burgess' fabled car school. John Dempster has gone and signed for possibly the one team that has, in recent years, been more absurd than us. Kettering; who were first furnished with Paul Gascoigne's managerial talents and are now hosting the Ron Atkinson revival are taking on the dazzling footballing chanteuse.
Dempster arrived as Burgess' bag carrier, getting sent off on his debut against the club he'd just left; sadly that was as good as it got. Not that Dempster did much wrong; he just didn't add much; like the headboy being picked to play for his school team because he was always polite to the opposition's headmaster. It's all relative of course, Matt Murphy is now the Ronaldinho of the Southern League Midlands Division; Dempster will probably cement a reputation as the Carlos Valderama of Conference South.