Today marks the start of our new campaign when we travel the short distance to face our local rivals Tranmere for our first pre-season friendly. Other than our two new fullbacks and the departures of Riise and Crouch, it finds us with much the same squad as last year, and one that I wouldn’t feel confident starting the season with if we intend to compete for the title.
We’re now down to about a month before the games start in earnest, leaving us with about 1-2 weeks to start getting players in if we want them integrated into the side for the opening of our fixture list. Rafa has been quoted several times lately, but today called upon us to trust that him and the staff are working overtime to bring in the quality necessary for that title push.
Personally, I find our situation to be difficult as far as trying to compete with the globalized clubs, but I have faith in Rafa to find something from nothing possibly, or at least something from less than market value. He also discussed our long term plan to rely more on youth rising up through the ranks, indicating that this may be one of the last close seasons in awhile that we will have to contemplate spending large sums on players in multiple positions.
I certainly hope that we find this to be the case, but for now I am more worried about the next 30 days. Those will determine a lot of what we are to see in the 9 months or so that are ahead of us. Will we be in Rome next May, preparing to claim a double, or will we be sitting home trophyless for the 3rd straight season? Only time will tell, but the clock is ticking….