Toon fans turn on Steve Bruce at Rotherham before makeshift ‘striker’ scores late

A game of two halves and a pretty unconvincing pre-season display just 19 days before the big kick off, as Jeff Hendrick scored late to hand us a 1-1 draw at Rotherham on Tuesday night.

It was 1-0 to the League One side through a Michael Smith header just eight minutes in, and we could’ve easily gone 2-0 down before a couple of chances fell to Sean Longstaff and Callum Wilson before the break.

After being second best to The Millers in the first 45, we kicked into gear after the restart and had chances to draw level on numerous occasions, with Fernandez going closest via a header miraculously saved by Rotherham’s Johansson.

We ended the game with no strikers on the pitch, Jeff Hendrick up top and the travelling Toon Army chanting “you’re just a **** Steve McClaren” at Steve Bruce, however it was the unconvincing Irishman who saved us from defeat in the end, with his 84th minute header being glanced in via a dangerous delivery from Jacob Murphy.

Still, that didn’t stop a few in the away end booing at the full-time whistle, with some clearly unimpressed by what they’re seeing on and off the pitch so far this summer.

STARTING 11: (5-3-2) – Woodman – Ritchie, Lascelles (c), Fernandez, Clark, Lewis – Hayden, S Longstaff, Fraser – Gayle, Wilson.

SUBS: Gillespie (45), Langley, Dummett (45), Bondswell, Schar (64), Watts (45), Krafth (64), Hendrick (72), Young (80), M Longstaff (72), J White (77), Murphy (45).

In truth, the first half was anything but convincing from a Newcastle United perspective.

We were bullied by the League One side, struggled to cope with the pressure they put us under at both ends and went 1-0 down just eight minutes in as a result.

Not for the first time in the opening 45, Mickel Miller got in down Matt Ritchie’s side, swung a tempting ball into the box and Michael Smith powered a header past Freddie Woodman after being too strong for Ciaran Clark in the air.

Wilson, Fraser and Lewis’ pace offered us brief outlets on the break, but they were in control for large parts, with their physicality and directness causing us problems.

Their pressing was causing our CB’s to punt it long and the ball was coming back at us more often than not. If it wasn’t for a brilliant last-ditch block from Clark, The Millers would’ve gone 2-0 up via Ladapo just before the 25-minute mark.

Longstaff had two decent chances to draw us level – one from a free kick he skied high and wide and the other from a lovely Ryan Fraser cross that fell his way 10 yards out, only for the midfielder to fire over once again.

Our biggest chance fell to Wilson’s feet just five minutes before the break, but his effort went inches wide of the far post after a mix-up saw the NUFC no.9 get clean through on goal.

The half-time whistle went and there were a few boos from the away end, with the travelling Toon Army watching us be second best to League One Rotherham for most of the first 45.

The players came out for the second half and Steve Bruce made four changes. Off came Freddie Woodman, Jamaal Lascelles, Ciaran Clark and Ryan Fraser for Mark Gillespie, Kell Watts, Paul Dummett and Jacob Murphy.

The changes saw Matt Ritchie move into Fraser’s midfield role and Murphy slow in at right-wing back, and the latter very nearly bagged an assist just seconds after the restart.

The former Norwich man burst down the right and fired a low cross into the front post which was met by Dwight Gayle – only for his effort to be deflected up into the air and cleared to safety.

It was then Federico Fernandez who was denied moments later. Ritchie swung a ball into the box from a free-kick won well by Dummett, the Argentine rose highest and looked destined to score until Johansson pulled off a stunning save to deny the big centre-back.

A good start to the second half and a strong response to a poor opening 45, but no goal to show for it as of yet.

That theme continued as we got to the hour mark, with Gayle and Longstaff both going close. 30 minutes to play and we were finally looking the superior side, even if the scoreline remained 1-0 Rotherham.

A few more changes then arrived on the 64th minute mark. Fabian Schar replaced Ritchie in midfield for his first appearance of pre-season, while Emil Krafth slotted in at the back in place of Federico Fernandez.

Chants of “The Premier League’s corrupt” then echoed around the New York Stadium as away fans made their point while waiting for an equaliser. We were comfortably the better side in the second half, created a few chances and gave Gillespie nothing to do at the other end, but our final ball was letting us down too often.

Callum Wilson then came off alongside Isaac Hayden, seeing Jeff Hendrick and Matty Longstaff come on in their place. I wasn’t sure what the plan was at this point and a few fans made their bemusement known with chants of “you don’t know what you’re doing” to Steve Bruce.

Soon after, this chant then echoed around the New York Stadium, giving the NUFC boss a bleak reminder of what it may mean to have Toon fans back in stadiums while he remains in charge…

Back to the game itself, 18-year-old Joe White then replaced Dwight Gayle with just under 15 minutes remaining – a move that saw us have no striker on the pitch and Jeff Hendrick on his own up top. Yes, you read that right!

Fellow U23 talent Jack Young then replaced Sean Longstaff on the 80-minute mark, with the game now disjointed and threatening to fizzle out after the number of second half changes.

That said, our long-awaited equaliser did arrive with five minutes remaining, as Jeff Hendrick glanced home a dangerous corner kick delivery from Jacob Murphy.

We created enough in the second half to warrant a draw, but it was another fairly unconvincing run out and reminder that new additions are badly needed with just 19 days to go until the 2021/22 season kicks off.

The following players are not involved in today’s game:

  • Allan Saint-Maximin (illness)
  • Martin Dubravka (injury)
  • Elliot Anderson (injury)
  • Joelinton (injury)
  • Jonjo Shelvey (injury)
  • Javier Manquillo (injury)
  • Karl Darlow (COVID-19)
  • Miguel Almiron (extended break after Copa America)

Up next, a trip to face Burton Albion at the Pirelli Stadium on Friday night.

About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

32 thoughts on “Toon fans turn on Steve Bruce at Rotherham before makeshift ‘striker’ scores late

  1. What is wrong with these people?
    It’s a pre-season friendly – designed to give players a run out in a game situation, and an opportunity to show what they can do.
    Chanting insults at the premier League and at Bruce gets us nowhere.
    Tossers.

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  2. I am pessimistic about this season but the squad is what we had at the start of last season. Remember Dubravka was injured then as well. It is a metatarsal and from what I remember of Rooney that was about 6 weeks.

    We actually have more choice than last year. Gayle and Fraser are fit and Murphy has proved himself decent. Bruce didnt trust him until he was desperate.

    The lackluster preseason could have something to do with Jones being on holiday. I wouldnt trust the Steves to coach the U12s.

    We were terrible with only the Steves. It was 9 men behind the ball and hoping to nick a goal to get a point or the luckiest of wins. They showed they couldnt change their ways and it wasnt until Jones came in that we even took any decent set pieces. Not saying Jones is the messiah but we were better after he came in, or maybe it was just Willock? Nah, he changed the shape and we sometimes gave teams something to think about.

    Perhaps it is also the takeover as well. That’s over now so should not be a distraction. If it had gone through a lot of our players would have been sold so maybe they thought about that.

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  3. I understand what Billy & Byker are saying, but these are frustrating times fellas.

    We are getting no backing from the current ‘owner’ and we are a squad that needs strengthening – look at how we struggled when Wilson was injured back end of last season.
    Our midfield is poor and at times last season Kraft & Hayden were playing CB.

    I’m not suggesting Man Utd money – I see their fans aren’t protesting the Glaziers now.

    But Ashley needs to keep NUFC afloat or I only see us going the way of Sunderland.

    I don’t get taking it out on Bruce – I don’t think it’s happening s fault – and I agree – friendlies are to look at all of your players to see who is in your plans going into next season – so these are nothing games.

    I’m proud that we are playing away at small clubs to try & help them financially as well actually.

    But this is going to be a tough season again & there are only so many we can count on 3 teams being worse than us.

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  4. Sharpy: we still have a squad that is equal to at least a few of the teams. The key is going to be keeping the Steves away from the players. Remember Jones is Assistant Head Coach so he above the 2 coaching Steves. Bruce will still pick the team which might be a problem.

    The promoted teams usually struggle even if they spend a bit of money. Fulham did and went straight back down. I am not worried about them splashing a bit of cash because they are starting from a lower base quality than us. I know it is fashionable to bash our players but we have some decent players.

    Then there are Burnley, Palace and Southampton who all have similar if not worse squads than us.

    The bookies have us finishing 15th.

    3 things need to be done to have me going into the season with hope:

    1. Keeps the Steves away from the players. Or have them working on throw ins and goal kicks.

    2. Sign Willock or a similar box to box midfielder with pace. That is the gaping hole in our squad.

    3. Never start donkey. If you want give him 10 minutes at the end to run into people but he did not improve last year. I dont care what anybody says about the last 6 games, he was still crap and the bar was very low. Supermac said he counted all of his touches in one of our matches and he gave the ball away twice for everytime he kept it.

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  5. Eric – you’re buying into the Jones hype mate. I’m sure he’s made a difference but I’m not having that he came in and fixed us.

    One thing that did work and seemed to suit the squad of players we have was that change in formation back to the 3 CBs. I think Ritchie made a big difference to the team & Murphy looked so much better as a RWB.

    It’s been a disappointing summer mate, but if we could get Willock and another couple in the I think the mood would improve.

    I think it absolutely stinks that Ashley is not reinvesting the money the Saudis gave as a deposit at the very least – but I’m not surprised.

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  6. Sharpy: I dont think Jones made all of the difference. As usual there was a bit of addition by subtraction and that was done by effectively demoting The Steves. We played some bad games after Jones came in and the split number 10s confused the hell out of me. But there was an improvement – the stats and points per game show it. I think there was a combination of factors including getting our better players back and playing Willock.

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  7. Hope Luke Edwards is right about incomings. Whatever you think of him he was always the most skeptical about the takeover and he has been proven right on that.

    You can only loan 2 players from other PL clubs so we have to buy someone as well.

    I am a bit worried that the crowd will be a bit too toxic in their attitude to Bruce. You know he isnt going anywhere for at least 10 games, so we should really not get on his back too much otherwise the bad atmosphere will be transmitted to the players.

    I know he is a gobshyte and says stupid things, even slagging off fans on Talksport, but we are stuck with him for the forseeable future.

    Say whatever you like on twitter or blogs but getting too negative in the ground may cause a downward spiral. I have seen it before many times.

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  8. I am a bit worried about what Bruce did and didnt say about ASM. He said he was sick but did not say with what. He also said he didnt know how long he would be out for. If it was something as simple as a stomach bug you would think they would just come straight out and say it.

    ASM has already had Covid but I think you can get it a second time.

    An even more conspiratorial theory would be that they held him out because there are transfer developments. He is our on BIG saleable asset and they might be thinking he can be sacrificed so we can get 3 new players in with the proceeds. 60 million would get us Willock and 2 others.

    I hope I am wrong, but Ashley’s MO in the past has always been to buy to sell on and this is probably as high as ASMs value will get.

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  9. Eric:
    I am a bit worried about what Bruce did and didnt say about ASM. He said he was sick but did not say with what. He also said he didnt know how long he would be out for. If it was something as simple as a stomach bug you would think they would just come straight out and say it.

    ASM has already had Covid but I think you can get it a second time.

    An even more conspiratorial theory would be that they held him out because there are transfer developments. He is our on BIG saleable asset and they might be thinking he can be sacrificed so we can get 3 new players in with the proceeds. 60 million would get us Willock and 2 others.

    I hope I am wrong, but Ashley’s MO in the past has always been to buy to sell on and this is probably as high as ASMs value will get.

    I’m inclined to agree mate. It reminds me of the Cabaye situation previously when he was ‘ sick’ but in reality wanted away.

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  10. Sharpy, re the £17m Ashley had from the consortium .
    As I understand it, he actually loaned that cash to Amanda so she could use it as a deposit and it was on the understanding she would pay him back after she won the Barclays case. Well that never happened so lord knows how that now pans out, does she still owe him £17m or does he write it off as the takeover never happened and it’s his cash anyway ?
    As ever things financial are always muddy where Jabba and the club are concerned.

    I don’t like that all the eggs are in the Saudi basket, he needs to look to other buyers now if he really wants out. It’s now clearer than ever that the PL will continue to kick the can down the road and seek to delay and delay both the CAT and arbitration cases respectively .
    They will never allow the Saudi’s anywhere near us and I suspect the reason Mike is hellbent on them owning us is not for the good of the club or region but rather the inroads his business will get in saudi as part of the deal.
    He and most importantly us fans need to accept it isn’t happening and never will .

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  11. “We’ve got Allan Saint-Maximin, Joelinton, Miguel Almiron and we’ve got Dwight.
    “We’ve got five. How many do you have in a squad of 22 outfield players?

    Bruce

    Hmmm Since when was Joe, ASM and Miggy strikers, what happens if/when Wilson gets crocked ?
    Gayle cannot be relied on to provide enough goals and is also injury prone, plus he looked to of had a sulk on and uninterested last season.

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  12. KIMTOON:
    Sharpy, re the £17m Ashley had from the consortium .
    As I understand it, he actually loaned that cash to Amanda so she could use it as a deposit and it was on the understanding she would pay him back after she won the Barclays case. Well that never happened so lord knows how that now pans out, does she still owe him £17m or does he write it off as the takeover never happened and it’s his cash anyway ?
    As ever things financial are always muddy where Jabba and the club are concerned.

    I don’t like that all the eggs are in the Saudi basket, he needs to look to other buyers now if he really wants out. It’s now clearer than ever that the PL will continue to kick the can down the road and seek to delay and delay both the CAT and arbitration cases respectively .
    They will never allow the Saudi’s anywhere near us and I suspect the reason Mike is hellbent on them owning us is not for the good of the club or region but rather the inroads his business will get in saudi as part of the deal.
    Heand most importantly us fansneed to accept it isn’t happening and never will .

    Kim – oh wow, I never heard that until now. Firstly – fair play to him then – that is certainly an indication that he’s serious about selling. Secondly – what a bloody idiot!!. If you are having to loan someone a deposit, that should set ALL the alarm bells ringing!!.

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  13. KIMTOON:
    “We’ve got Allan Saint-Maximin, Joelinton, Miguel Almiron and we’ve got Dwight.
    “We’ve got five. How many do you have in a squad of 22 outfield players?

    Bruce

    Hmmm Since when was Joe, ASM and Miggy strikers, what happens if/when Wilson gets crocked ?
    Gayle cannot be relied on to provide enough goals and is also injury prone, plus he looked to of had a sulk on and uninterested last season.

    Kim – I take it Bruceys statisticians are having to isolate, coz if they weren’t you’d hope at least 1 of them would point out to Bruce that absolute lack of goals from all of his back up strikers during their time at NUFC.

    What’s baffling is that Gayle got a contract extension – and actually signed it. He barely got a kick when Wilson was injured last season and even when we were making substitutions, he was lucky if he got the last 5 mins.

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  14. It is good that we have such a quick turnaround of friendlies and have another one Friday. I dont think Brucie is doing pre-match pressers but we will see if ASM is in the squad. He is doing post-match so we will know more. Just following NUFC it is so hard not to think the worst when Bruce says ASM is sick but gives no details. Hopefully, it will be nothing.

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  15. Eric, I read a little while ago he has Covid for a second time, but that’s not official like.

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  16. Sharpy17:

    Sharpy, he is deluded if he thinks that lot will get us out of jail goalwise should Wilson get injured.
    Interestingly, he doesn’t mention Ryan Fraser in that list and if he can stay fit, he could well get us more goals than those mentioned with the exception of Callum who bruce never mentioned.

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  17. “So we’re just going to have to be patient. After all that’s said I think we’ll do our business late.

    “We’ve got to wait for the wealthier clubs to see what they’re doing and see what they’re doing with their young ones and what they’re doing with their squads.

    “I’ve been here before in this. I didn’t think I’d quite be in it at Newcastle but that’s the way we are.”
    Bruce

    Did you not Steve, do you not understand Ashley yet ?
    There’s no hope if he’s that slow on the uptake.

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  18. Wealthier clubs, and us like Oliver Twist asking Arsenal in regards to Joe Willock

    “please sir, can we have some more ”

    Hate, hate that we have been reduced to this.

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  19. Kimtoon: nothing is happening this season on a takeover. If you have read anything I have written on here about it you will have seen my skepticism. Part of that was that the most vocal about this were people I consider idiots like The Geordie Dentist and Keith Patterson. I had heard them make their case on Wraiths show for months and nothing they said ever came true. They said they had inside information that the couldnt disclose and it turned outb they were/are full of sh!t. I disnt listen to their drivel every week but stopped completely about a month ago as it was so repetitive, but then the arb case was pushed into next year so I listened to their case and it made no sense. Patterson said it was strategic and that the NUFC lawyers were playing the long game and the CAT case was key. Then the CAT case was pushed back.

    The CAT case is at the end of Sept, but not really!!!!! That is a juridictional hearing to see if the competitions authority should even be involved at all – to see if they are the body to even hear the complaints. Even if Ashley wins that argument it will be pushed forward a few more months. I think Ashley has a very high bar to clear with this as they would have to prove interference from the likes of Liverpool. It is much more likely they will say the PL have their own processes to advance a takeover so that is where this should be heard.

    I really think the anti-competition case is a shot in the dark for Ashley and he has very little chance there.

    I think the Saudis will walk or have already walked. I had slight hope a couple of weeks ago when Stavely went on her PR offensive, thinking maybe she knows something and is not letting on because of the legal cases. Turns out she knew nothing and was blindsided by the double wammy of the delays just a few days later.

    I know Sharpy had his own doubts after Stavely’s appearance with Simon Jordan.

    Jordan has actually gone up in my estimation. He is a publicity seeking wind up merchant but he is not as daft as he looks.

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  20. If we get Tuanzebe on loan we will have too many centre backs. We could get some money for Lascelles or Schar so sell one of them. We also have cover in Dummett and even Krafth who has looked a better central defender than right back.

    I would sell Lascelles. He would be an upgrade at teams like Burley, Southampton or even Wolves. Not sure what the promoted teams look like for CBs but we could probably get a decent fee for Lascelles. Maybe even 10 million?

    The other loan would obviously be Willock but if Arsenal wont loan him then offer 20 mil and save the loan spot for a striker. I am sure Chelsea have one to spare.

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  21. KIMTOON:
    Eric, Steve doesn’t think we need another striker, we have 5 apparently.

    Until Wilson gets injured and we go on a death spiral with Cabbage saying it is not his fault it is because of injuries.

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  22. Eric: Until Wilson gets injured and we go on a death spiral with Cabbage saying it is not his fault it is because of injuries.

    Eric: Until Wilson gets injured and we go on a death spiral with Cabbage saying it is not his fault it is because of injuries.

    you know it

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  23. So, ASM not seen in the training pictures from Thurs. That would suggest that it really is an illness rather than holding him out of games because there is a pending sale. The question is whether it is Covid or not. You never know with NUFC. There was basically a cover-up with the 1st outbreak but they were pretty forthright about Darlow recently.

    Who the hell knows, but an illness going on for 3 or 4 days is serious. It is not a hangover or food poisoning. Maybe appendicitis or somthing like that, but most likely Covid. Man U have just cancelled a preseason friendly because of Covid in their squad and coaches. Of course they are playing it down but that is what all teams have done.

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  24. The US Govt have just about stopped short of mandating Covid vaccines. However, many businesses have now done so including Google, Facebook and even the NFL. It is all to combat these idiots, goaded by Trump and nutters on the internet saying it impinges on their freedom. What about my freedom, freedom to not have you infect me? You cannot reason with these people you have to force them to do it, even though there are many cases where they could say their freedoms are impacted, but dont. Like:

    Their kids have to be vaccinated for measles and polio or they cannot go to school.
    They have to wear a seatbelt
    You have to get a license to drive a car
    You cannot smoke in bars

    There are many, many more examples.

    I just dont inderstand these people. They believe wild conspiracy theories on the internet and then have an epiphony when they enter hospital. There are many inteviews with Drs over here saying covi patients on ventilators are begging for the vaccine and they have to tell them it is too late.

    Much of the world cannot get a vaccine. You dont even need an appointment over here now. You check where the nearest spot is, including pharmacists, walk in, wait about half an hour and you are done.

    US is only about 50% vaccinated when it is available free of charge to all. This is madness.

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  25. Actually, ASM being pinged makes the most sense although why the club wouldnt just come out and say it I have no idea? But it is NUFC, and secrecy for secrecy’s sake is the way they opperate sometimes.

    BTW, I believe what Luke Edwards says in Olly’s article. He has Bruce’s ear and has been right on the takeover where fan advocates and so called ITKs have been totally wrong even when they said they had inside information at SJP or even the Saudis.

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  26. This rolling 3 year contract for Bruce that Edwards mentions makes perfect sense. From what Edwards says, and reading between the lines a bit, if Bruce makes it to the end of the season then there is an automatic 1 year extension making the contract 3 years again!

    When he was first hired he was said to be the lowest paid Manager in the PL. I am sure that the figure of 1.5 million was mentioned. And yet, whenever the payoff if he was sacked was brought up the number was 4 million. It didnt make any sense if he only had a year left.

    If he has 3 years left in the middle of a season then 4 million makes perfect sense – 2 x 1.5 million plus the remainder of that season at about 1 mil gives you the 4 million number.

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  27. It is happening as I said it would. The Pledge is fizzling and has only added about 1,000 pounds in the last week. It started out with some decent contributions and people doing direct debits for small amounts. However, as the initial hype wore off it seemed obvious to me that people would cancel the debits and even more so that they would have no new donations or people signing up. What’s the point of paying into something that is going nowhere? The fans already do that by buying a season ticket for NUFC 🙂

    I take no pleasure in being right, but I said this was wrongheaded and a joke from the start.

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  28. Olly just mentioned again in his last article that the budget is only 10 million and apart from that we would have to sell to buy. But who do we actually have to sell where we have cover and would bring in some money?

    Woodman – 10 mil
    Schar – 5 mil
    Lascelles – 10 mil
    Ritchie – 3 mil
    S. Longstaff – 5 mil

    These are my guesses at the valuations and I am not sure what the interest would be in these players. We wouldnt sell them all either, maybe 2, bringing what 15 million?

    And Woodman wouldnt go until the end of the transfer window when either or both of Darlow and Dubravka are back.

    Looks like it is loans first up and then hope our permanent targets have not already moved.

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  29. So we beat Burton Albion 2-0. We are ready for the big time! At least we didn’t lose I guess. Good to hear that some of our youngsters has a good run out we may need them in the season coming…

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