Four clean sheets in six. Unbeaten at home in the league. Just two points off the play-off places. All in all, we’re not doing too badly.
Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Aston Villa was a largely even battle with few opportunities, which burst into life in injury time.
The introduction of Leon Best and Luke Varney certainly swung the game in our favour.
Although the visitors were without Ross McCormack and Rudy Gestede — two players proven at Championship level — we restricted a team far more expensively assembled than ours to precisely zero shots on target.
While Villa were good at retaining the ball, and pressing us when we had possession, they looked toothless up front, but we still had to make blocks and throw bodies in the way — a well-known trait of the Tractor Boys these days.
The introduction of Leon Best and Luke Varney certainly swung the game in our favour. Brett Pitman is an intelligent player, but he is not in the same mould as Daryl Murphy. He has, at times, looked isolated, and didn’t get a huge amount of service to feet.
In the stands, many were calling for changes a bit sooner, although there was a longer-than-normal eight minutes of time added on.
Perhaps this demonstrates the fine line that determines football success.
Had Mick thrown on two strikers earlier and we had lost the game, there’s a good chance he would have been accused of being a bit reckless when a point wasn’t a bad result, considering the win at Derby the week previous.
And should Freddie Sears’ late effort have found the net, rather than the outside of the woodwork, or two of our efforts not cleared off the line, we would have been praising his perfect game plan.
It is always easy to say after a fixture what a manager should or shouldn’t have done. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.