Manager: Jose Gomes
Last season: 20th
Andy Rinomhota, an all-action central midfielder who can both break up opposition attacks and start some of his own with powerful forward runs. His presence balances out the side a lot and allows the more naturally creative players to express themselves properly, not to mention protecting the defence. Plus, as an academy graduate, he’s extremely popular with the home crowd.
SIGNINGS SO FAR
At time of writing it’s just Joao Virginia, a 19 year-old goalkeeper from Everton on loan for the season. It’s a big ask to use such a young guy as our new first-choice ‘keeper, but he’s certainly got the talent to excel at this level – shot-stopping, command of his penalty area, and the ability to play out accurately from the back.
Who TO SIGN
A deep-lying playmaker. Without one, our midfield badly lacks creativity and the ability to dictate the tempo of a game, so recruiting someone to sit in front of the back four and spray passes around is crucial. We had that last season with Lewis Baker, and replacing him (or bringing him back) will be a big boost to this side.
Around 14th. We should still be able to bring in first-team quality to improve what’s currently a very young, inexperienced side, but even then it’ll be a big ask to get into the top half of the table. That said, we’ve got a much better manager, squad morale and fan connection than this time last year, so should be able to steer clear of the bottom three by May 2020.
Wycombe Wanderers away in the League Cup. It’s the closest thing we’ve had to a derby match in a competitive game for at least 15 years – even if more animosity is reserved for lower-league sides Oxford United and Swindon Town. It’s bound to be an entertaining cup match under the lights in August. Charlton Athletic- A noisy sell-out against our South London rivals and normally a win!!
Bar a shock run in the FA Cup or League Cup, no. The closest we’ve come to winning either trophy was getting to the semi-finals of the FA Cup in 1927 and 2015, but I don’t see us getting any further any time soon.
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