Is it fair to say that we’ve not been tested so far? Really?

Taken for granted?
Throughout the last couple of weeks I’ve been reading about how NUFC have not really been tested this season. I really find this surprising, not to say absolutely ridiculous.

On the back of a chaotic pre-season, dominated by visa issues, mediocre results and the general frustration of our board failing to sign a world class striker, we had a schedule of games laid in front of us that most fans regarded as being a really tough start to the new season. Having to play Arsenal on the opening day before heading into the derby away from home wasn’t exactly how most of us would have planned it ourselves had we had any say in that matter.

After those two matches we went up against Fulham who, in the past, we’ve had a rather poor record against. Then came Queens Park Rangers, who despite just having been promoted, were in a similar position as us – having a lot of new players that individually had a fair share of quality, but were untested as a team.

Then came the game at Aston Villa – another fixture where traditionally we have been picking up very few results. Then Blackburn, a poor team on paper, but nevertheless a side we had lost at home to five seasons in a row. A game against Wolves on their turf, is a fixture so many teams are dreading, as their home record in the last couple of seasons has been very solid.

That list of fixtures has in my opinion been very challenging indeed.

What really baffles me is that all of the sudden people appear to be taking for granted that we get something out of these types of games. True, apart from Arsenal (who have been very poor ever since, but on opening day were regarded as a top 4 side), we haven’t played the absolute top teams, but to say that we haven’t really been tested is absolute nonsense to me.

The phrase ”let’s not get carried away just yet” has been uttered by a number of regular posters on here, but aren’t we doing exactly that, by stating that the seven games until now haven’t been a real challenge?

”Let’s not get carried away just yet” makes sense, if we are talking about not letting ourselves dream of European football after just seven games. But the phrase becomes highly contradicting, if we in the same breath say that we should be beating all other teams outside the top 6. That would mean that we don’t regard any of the other teams as being of any significance, and that we actually believe that 7th spot is ours to lose.

That to me is ”getting carried away”, and it really doesn’t add up, considering that the majority of posters on here repeatedly say that they would regard everything above 11th and a good Cup run as a real achievement.

Say we would have lost at home on opening day, and Sunderland had beaten the crap out of us, or that some of the desperate goal line clearances along the way hadn’t been made – what would people have said about the following fixtures? Something like ”it’s going to be a tough game against a strong Fulham side” or ”let’s just hope we can manage a draw at Villa” I suspect ..

Alan Pardew has repeatedly stated that every game in this division is a tough one, and even though that could be regarded as media spin, I firmly believe that he is right in saying so. We should, as the team appears to be, be taking it one game at a time, and not getting carried away thinking that our team is superior to all teams outside the top 6.

Even though I appreciate that every single one of you, myself included, is over the moon about our impressive start to the season, I urge you not to think less of the teams we have beaten or drawn against, just because we haven’t played the Manchester clubs, Livepool, Tottenham or Chelsea yet.

We are doing very well, but every win we get, regardless of the opposition, should not yet be taken for granted but instead be celebrated equally.

Let’s not get carried away just yet!

A big thank-you to Funkness for sending thus in for us to debate. Do you agree? Is it unfair to say that we’ve not been tested? On the other hand, do you believe that we’ve not been tested? Let us know your thoughts.

65 thoughts on “Is it fair to say that we’ve not been tested so far? Really?

  1. I find it hilarious when I see people say that we haven’t been tested yet.
    We’re a so called mid-table side and are performing way above expectation. If we’re performing above expectation, of course we’ve been tested. If it was ManUtd with the same fixtures, even they would’ve say they haven’t been tested even though the only games they can imagine dropping points at are vs ManCity, Liverpool and Chelsea.
    We, on the other hand, have to think before each game if we can get points off it.
    We’ve been tested and we’ve passed with flying colours so far. If we can do this for a little while longer, maybe the morons will start to give us some much-deserved credit and respect.

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  2. Good read Funkness 🙂

    I too think it’s silly to say that we’ve not been tested. I mean yes we could have had a tougher start to the league, but there are teams that have had equally decent starts who have ballsed up.

    The games we played we tripped up in last year. We’ve done better in all bar one of them by reckoning, and even then we matched the outcome. It was touched on the other day by Keith in an article where he compared last seasons results with this seasons results.

    Every game is a test. Yes we have the “big” clubs to come, but you can only play what is in front of you and thus far we’ve done that and got the results to boot!

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  3. Agree with that Toonsy, some people seem to have peculiar outlooks in concern to how we’re playing. Some people seem to be saying that we’re the opposite of Bolton right now-they could be expected to lose all or most of their opening matches so far because they’ve been so hard and on the flipside we’ve done well so far because we’ve only played shit teams-which is complete nonsense.

    There’s almost a litany of excuses for us winning matches, “Arsenal aren’t the force they were, Villa were shit, Wolves and QPR unlucky.” They’re all still good teams, and we played well, we’ve had our share of luck and a spell of bad luck, but is it why we’re getting results out of these games? No, its because we’re a genuinely good side, or at least we’re a decent side playing very well.

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  4. I think the results are showing that although we are a mid table team we seem to be playing the best of all the other mid table teams. If we can get say another 7 points before we play City, United and Chelsea it will have been a fantastic start and over half way to safety.

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  5. Of course wev’e been tested already. The teams wev’e played so far, are the ones we either lost at home to, are threw the points away against last season.
    Yes , wev’e passed a milestone in as much as weve moved on but as we all know, there are some toughies to come. I reckon we’ll do a few of them also but time will tell.

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  6. Exactly Toonsy, by my reckoning, exluding the QPR game, comparing our results in the six fixtures with the corresponding fixtures last season we are TEN POINTS better off. Taxing fixtures or not we have improved our points talley from those games by over 300% while it could be considered that arsenal and blackburn aren’t as good as they were last season you can only beat what’s put in front of you, and so far this season that’s what we’ve been doing

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  7. Also on the QPR game, I’d argue that we played them at their most dangerous time.

    Before I go on, does anyone remember the outcome in the FA Cup against Stoke? The game after Keegan was announced?

    Right, so that spirit of optimism lifted our club, so it was going to be the same with QPR. They’d just made a shedload of new signings, replaced a hated board, the owner who had pandered to the fans and gave them what they wanted was in attendance. In short they were pumped for it, including Barton who had a quick reunion with us.

    Did we play well? No, of course not, but we aren’t going to dictate every game.

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  8. Nice article. To be fair what’s good about we haven’t been tested yet is that people are almost implying that we are a top seven team inadvertently …. 😆

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  9. What the lazy journos seem to have forgotten about us is the teams we are beating at the minute stopped us from finishing top half and pushing for a european spot last season, E.G Beating Wham away, mackems 5-1 and arsenal away in successive matches and then taking just one point off back to back home games vs Blackburn and Fulham…

    Arsenal (h) last season 1 point This season 1 point
    Mackems (A) last season 1 point This season 3 points
    Fulham (h) last season 1 point This season 3 points
    Villa (A) last season 0 points This season 1 point
    Blackburn (h) last season 0 points This season 3 points
    Wolves (A) last season 1 point This season 3 points

    10 points up from the same fixtures last season.

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  10. 4 of the teams we have played finished above us last year and that’s not including the tricky away game to wolves. Success breeds arrogance unfortunately.

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  11. Not many teams will beat The Manc clubs or Chelsea this season. Can we take points off Spurs or the Bindippers? That will be a good test. But every team in this league provides the team with a test.

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  12. After a few months into the job I was discussing Pardew’s performance with a smoggy mate…(acquaintance if you like:))..my feeling then was he had us beating our peers whereas Hughton could gee the team up to beat a Chelsea or Manure but we’d lose to a close rival..beating the teams around us is the most important thing and I’d say that’s about ten teams from 6th to 16th….we’re doing that now and we’re doing a great job of it.

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  13. I totally agree with what your saying, 100 %, last year these sides were taking points of us and other teams for fun, what we will find out is how we react to Losing a couple of games ,

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  14. Michael – To me that is the only real question I have about this squad, but I reckon that our good start will help that if you know what I mean? like by winning/not losing it’s formed a spirit between them quicker that what it would have taken normally. hopefully anyway 🙂

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  15. My question is, what will people be saying if we beat Spurs? That we’re gunning for 4th place all of a sudden? It could possibly happen. Attitudes can change very quickly here, and while excitement and shooting for the stars is good, we need to stay grounded in this, by all accounts, new team

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  16. One thing I think won’t happen if we lose a few or go behind is we won’t panic, just carry on playing our ‘passing’ game.

    Last season our plan A was to play long ball, that’s supposed to be your plan B so when we did go behind if they could nullify our long ball threat we had nothing really, now I feel we won’t rush things and lump it and just carry on using the width, getting Cabaye more involved etc.

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  17. Andrew, for me as long as we don’t get beat to keep our unbeaten run going and give a good account of ourselves in front of Sky and the national journalists I’ll be happy as you would think we have a very good chance of beating Wigan in the next game.

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  18. We have had a cracking start to the season and outside the top 6 I can see us been able to beat any team on our day. But that doesnt mean we will win them all! We have the basis of a good team here and I’m still hoping for a top 10 finish this season. The start we have made gives us every chance of getting that.

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  19. Anyone (Toonsy – just ignore my request about passwords etc, sorry) listen to 5Live last night? There was some forum or other of managers and pundits and one of them picked up on Pardew. Rated him very highly for team bonding and winning the dressing room wherever he’s been. This is all news to me but he then added ‘keep an eye on Newcastle – they could be THE big story this season.

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  20. Let’s not forget that last season we took points off (I think) every ‘top’ team except Manure. In fact, I think our return was higher against the top 4 than the others – stattos please correct me if I’m wrong.

    While I think our new style of play won’t actually work as well against the top teams, I’d be surprised if we were skunked by them too often this season. So when we do embark on that tricky string of games coming up soon, not only should be not be too disappointed if we lose a few, we shouldn’t be too surprised if we win some, either.

    What the tabloids cannot STAND right now is that their favourite game – of ripping the piss out of the Toon – has been taken away from them. Which is great. Fuck the lot of them. :mrgreen:

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  21. Whumpie, exactly! Loads of them will be coming up to watch our game vs Spurs with it being the super Sunday game and the last time they will have watched us would of been QPR. That’s why I’d be content with a draw vs them but make sure we give a good account of ourselves.

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  22. At this stage of the season you can only guess wether some teams should be harder than others based on last seasons finish, of our 7 matches 4 of them have been against teams who finished in the top half last season, only 2 finished in the bottom half, the seventh QPR was our hardest so far, so generally it is very unfair to say we have had an easy start, even if we had played the 7 weakest sides you still have to get the results which we have , so these sad little morons who are not giving us the credit we deserve should be treat with the contempt that they deserve

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  23. To be honest, we’ve also had a shedload of really good press recently. Some very well thought-out articles about what Pardew’s been doing and plenty of speculation as to whether others will now try to emulate the club’s strategy.

    So while we’d love to think it’s all the press having a go, to be honest it’s not; I’ve seen some really incisive stuff recently. Even when I was on the radio recently, the questions were quite informed and definitely not based on an assumption that this was some kind of bubble.

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  24. WHUMPIE
    October 5, 2011 at 15:02
    Let’s not forget that last season we took points off (I think) every ‘top’ team except Manure<<<< kna man we got a point of them none of mancity 🙂

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  25. Whumpie – I have to agree with you. I’ve been really surprised at the good press. Mind you the form is hard to ignore as is the last three performances. Obviously it’s not going to last – we’re still really weak down the right side. Both Simpson and Obertan are short on physicality and most of all self belief. Weak!

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  26. As long as when we won against Blackburn, Fulham etc.. ,we got 3 points the same as win against Tottenham, ManU, Chelsea etc.. so I have no problem with tested or not tested situation. 3 points game by game is more interesting for me.

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  27. I’m almost as frustrated with some of the support as I was with cashley and lambarse in the summer.
    The lads are committed and playing well and showing signs of getting better. I would think most fans would have killed for a start like this the last few years and yet they still find a reason to moan.
    We’re undefeated and people are waiting to pounce on failures instead of just enjoying it and giving credit to the lads for how they’ve performed.
    If I played for this team and caught wind of this moaning, I’d be astonished and would really wonder if I wanted to be at the club…

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  28. JG – How you doing mate? I agree about some of our fans although I think its fair to say that its only a tiny minority. Most of them are happy enough.

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  29. Jersey – don’t get me wrong – it’s great in dreamland! I still want more though, thus my point on Obertan and Simpson. I want Marveaux in the team and at the start of the season would have gone for Tavernier instead of Simpson.

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  30. Well,since this a blog,i shall speak my own mind out. 😆

    I feel that Yes,the team hasn’t been tested FULLY yet at all.

    This season we started off with Arsenal,who imo is having a terrible off season with key players leaving,bad atmosphere,all this you can’t deny having some sort of advantage to us.

    Then comes Sunderland. Well,a huge lot of new players arriving at the unwashed, And afterall,is the mackem. 🙄

    Then comes Fulham,QPR,BlackBurn Rovers,And wolfs.

    Out of which,Fulham who is involving in europa,having a bad season in league who only garner 1 win and that was against QPR which is way after our match,QPR well,you can say they did tested Tim Krul alot of times,but in the end,they still didn’t win the game.

    Then BlackBurn With Wolfs,nothing much to say.

    All in All,When Nov 5th onwards arrives,when we face the likes of everton,two Manchesters club,and chelsea,Let’s see how they perform.

    Or we don’t need wait that long,let’s watch how they perform against Spurs. 😎

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  31. AOD That’s fair enough, but then does our summer and the utter disorganisation of it not also match Arsenal? Did we not lose key players like Arsenal have done?

    Same with Sunderland. Have we not got 6 new faces?

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  32. for you guys that like stats hears one, for the past 4 seasons the team that was 4th after 7 games ended up finishing 4th at the end of season,bet toonsy knew that one like 😀

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  33. Good well balanced article Funkness. Every game in the PL is a test and impossible to predict, but I think we have solid grounds to remain optimistic for the remainder of the season although there will be pitfalls along the way.

    I am particularly impressed with the strength across the board of all our competing teams, which to me points to a decent recruiting policy, long may it continue.

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  34. Every game in this league is a test(apart from 5under1and, they’re just plain feckin sh!t), but every other team is capable of taking points off us. It’s a tough league and we’re doing great and by the same token I don’t think there’s a team in this league we’re not capable of taking points off and that’s why I love football, owt can happen on the day.

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  35. The defense has been better than expected, we’ve had a fair bit of luck which we usually don’t get (no penalty on Saylor for example) and the team looks to have bonded well. Definite signs of improvement and we have been tested. We will drop down the table but the question is how far? I’m now back to thinking somewhere between 7th (if we bring someone good in during January window) and 10th (if we stand pat) assuming no serious injuries to key players. All in all very satisfying start to the season. I have to say I was very surprised to see Peter subbed in against Wolves. I thought we would see an extra midfielder right away. Still a little concerned about some strange tactical choices by Pardew as far as subs are concerned.

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  36. Toonsy- alreet although life’s being a bit of a prat right now…
    Toon is a bright spot in my life for a change and ppl are sh!ting on it. This site only has a few but other sites are boiling my pss wit all the negativity.

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  37. I don’t think there’s a team in this league we’re not capable of taking points off and that’s why I love football, owt can happen on the day.
    ————————
    Agreed. I watched City the other week and they had a couple moments of absolute brilliance followed by 50 mins of doing absolutely nothing. I’ve heard people describe Spurs the same way this year. if you can surive a few scary moments with them they can be had.

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  38. Got to say: there’s a bare (and even quite reasonable) minimum of criticism on here right now. I think the nay-sayers who just want it all to be shite to back up their hatred of the regime have retreated to talk to the voices in their heads.

    Let’s face it, people. We’re happy. It’s weird, unsettling and so non-us, but… let’s learn to deal with it. :mrgreen:

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  39. What do others think of Trapattoni’s comments about not selecting Best? He basically says Best doesn’t work hard to get the ball, just waits for it to come to him. Maybe Trap hasn’t seen Best this season? Or is he just losing it? Best has been working hard as far as I can tell. I wouldn’t call him brilliant but around the net he can be quite deadly. I would like him as a number 3 striker with a new no. 9 in January and Ba as number 2. After that we have little else except if Sammy continues to develop. Move Peter on, Shola I guess will retire with us in 2 more years after this having scored another 8 or 9 goals total (why did we extend his contract?). We definitely need Ben Arfa in there to offer more offense and stretch other teams. Would love to see him for at least 20 or 30 minutes against Spurs but does Pardew have the plums to bring him on?

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  40. The thing I’m pleased with is we’ve got this far into the season with all the points and the passing game starting to emerge, a much pacier side etc, but we still have Santon, Marveaux and Ben Arfa to add into the first team. Anyone who’s seen them play can only agree that they’ll add even more pace and attacking prowess to our team. I can’t wait to see all three ,for me, at the expense of Obertan, Raylor/Simmo and Ba/Best. Wigan should be a good game to throw them in for me. I think Marveaux will start ahead of Obertan agaist Spurs, seeing he was playing RW against Bolton.

    The thing that worries me is an injury to Colo, Saylor or Tiote. And what the hell is going on with Gosling? Is he just unfit or does Pardew not fancy him. I thought he was doing ok in the reserves and preseason.

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  41. Got to say: there’s a bare (and even quite reasonable) minimum of criticism on here right now.
    —————————-
    You know there’s a few lurking about waiting to pounce the second we get a good hammering or lose 2 in a row. In the meantime, I’m enjoying the discussions on here

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  42. Elliott I think Gosling has moved down the rankings for selection based on others performances. He was fairly poor in one of the carling cup games, looked a little light weight. We have two very strong central midfielders (Tiote and Cabaye) who won’t be moved out of the lineup except by injury so where is Gosling going to play? I would think a loan to get him playing every week for a couple of months would be a good idea. I agree with you, as do many others about our desperate lack of depth at the back. We will be in deep trouble if either Colo or Saylor gets injured. I blame this entirely on Llambias. He showed his incompetence again this summer with his last minute pathetic attempts to get a centre back and a striker.

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  43. Mds I have that thought lurking at the back of my mind too. There’s always a few. There’ll be another distraction from Thursday night anyway 🙂

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  44. MDS – Huh i see we just Picked up betts from you guys? What are your thought on him? Can’t say I know too much about players from around the league except for big names. Good on PK an F/O by the sounds of it. Anything else to him?

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  45. Great article, and the comparison to last season results was impressive!

    Toonsy,

    “like by winning/not losing it’s formed a spirit between them quicker that what it would have taken normally.”

    You could almost feel the spirit whilst watching the wolves game, every single one of them played out their skins for each other.. Reminded me of Keegans team back in ‘t day!

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  46. @52. Absolutely gutted we let him go as are all Flyers fans. Very low salary, great on PK and faecoffs. Excellant character guy and an intelligent player. Granted he does nothing else but he is a specialist and a very good one at that.

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  47. Great to hear. Sounds like exactly what we need to replace halpern. Best of luck tomorrow. Better stop talking Bout this now in case anyone gets angry 😉

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  48. I think it’s quite clear the side are playing better than they have in a long time regardless of who the opposition are. We look like a much more balanced team. I am excited about the young core of the team. Graham Carr is the key to this and deserves a large bonus. Let’s just keep building in the same way, slowly but surely and invest in a striker next.

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  49. Great seeing so many getting involved on the thread. Thanks for the positive comments, lads – cheers ..

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  50. Hey whats up people havnt been on here in a while now 😀

    Could not agree more with this article. The start to the season has been outstanding no matter what anyone says. The only game we didnt deseve points from was the QPR game.

    And i bet any of the top 6 will be dreading playing us we have nothing to lose against them and we are in good form.

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  51. If its far to say there’s no easy games in the prem, then yes we have already been tested.
    AOD @37 you missed out Ashole Villa. You cant tell me that’s an easy game. We’ve already re written some bad stats against us, like not beating the Wolves since 1958, lost last 5 at home to B’burn etc.
    Every match is a test, and we are coming thru them well. Thats all that counts in the end.
    Spurts is a bigger test, but seriously, I dont think we have too much to fear.
    They wont be taking us for granted after our awesome start to the season, and I think the confidence oozing through the team will carry us to victory.
    Wont that be something.
    Cant wait tbh Got no interest in England. But the rest will do us good.
    Howay the Lads

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  52. Hello N Irish Toon 😆
    sorry but have to disagree with you re qpr game.
    OK we didn’t play so good, but we kept a clean sheet, so although we didn’t score and deserve to win, we certainly deserved our point. Its not the Toons fault that qpr couldn’t score.
    Have to agree with you tho that we have nothing to lose playing the established top 6, which is why I think we can pull off a couple shocks aswell. 😆
    If we can beat the teams around us home and away, then we will be laughing this season. 7th -10th.

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  53. This might sound a little nuts, but I firmly believe that we will finish between 5th and 8th this season. Our midfield and passing game is only going to improve, with our young players developing too. However, our defense, as has been noted by several, is extremely light as far as quality depth goes. Need a cb and another fullback and we could do very, very well!

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  54. AndrewT – you’re NUTS. 😆 😆
    Seriously tho 5-8th is poss, but injuries are bound to be a factor at some point.
    Really dont care about the November matches tho. They aren’t important in the grand scheme of things. OK it would be sweet to pick up a couple bonus points from any of those three, but just put them down to experience for the new lads for this season.
    Smaller fish to fry 😉

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