In order to look ahead to the new season, REP has been talking to supporters of the teams that will join League One in August.
Next up… it’s relegated Doncaster!
We’re grateful to Lewis Ward from DRFC Exiles.
1. Best player this season?
Chris Brown’s been excellent up front for us this season. He doesn’t stop running all game and you can see his desire to do his utmost for the team. Although he doesn’t score that many goals, he certainly makes up for it by holding the ball up and helping to produce chances for his strike partner.
For me, James Coppinger has shone this season too. He’s done well to maintain his place in the starting XI despite pressure from others in the squad. He stepped up to fill in at right-back too, a position he’s not used to, and he made it look easy and as though he’s been playing there for years!
2. Highlight(s) of the season on the pitch?
Wins over QPR and Wigan stand out as the side’s performances were amazing and they were both worthy wins. Doing the double over local rivals Sheffield Wednesday is always nice, and this season is no exception.
[pullquote]Doing the double over local rivals Sheffield Wednesday is always nice, and this season is no exception…[/pullquote]
For me, though, the performance that tops them all was against Leeds United at Elland Road. Every player looked so comfortable on the ball and rewarded with the 2-1 win. The 28-pass move to set up Billy Sharp’s goal showed exactly what we were capable of.
3. Worst moment(s) of the season on the pitch?
The 5-0 drumming at Bournemouth was always going to be one of those moments you want to forget, but I think that’s too obvious. The defeat against Stevenage in the FA Cup was a bad moment for us this season but, to be honest, there really isn’t anything that comes to mind.
4. Sum up the season in a sentence or two?
[pullquote]The best way to describe the campaign is unlucky…[/pullquote]
At the start of the season, none of us expected to be soaring up the table and we were all aiming for survival. The best way to describe the campaign is unlucky. The game at Charlton which was abandoned with us 3-1 up did not help our season.
The way Birmingham came back from 2-0 down at Bolton on the final day to send us down summed up our season in a nutshell.
5. Your view on off-field affairs this season?
I think you can always see a difference on the pitch when there is change off it. We are no exception. The talk of takeover at the beginning of the season could, in no way, have helped our fortunes of staying in the Championship. Down to the little details such as the chairman resigning moments before our game at Barnsley show how we have struggled off of the pitch.
With talk of takeover again this year, it is hoped that any deals are done and dusted in time for the start of the season on order for a successful campaign.
6. What are your expectations for next season?
[pullquote]We need to give Paul Dickov and the board chance to rebuild and mount a solid promotion push in order for us to be successful in the second tier…[/pullquote]
We know how tough League One can be, and this season looks even harder. Of course we will be looking to go straight back up to the Championship, and that’s what we all want, but realistically I’d be happy with strong finish, somewhere around the play-offs.
We need to give Paul Dickov and the board chance to rebuild and mount a solid promotion push in order for us to be successful in the second tier.
7. Where do the club need to strengthen on the pitch?
I don’t think we need an overhaul of the squad going into the season, we just need to add to what we already have to strengthen the squad. Having said that, we could do with a striker who will score 20 plus goals a season as this is something we have lacked recently. Also, if Ross Turnbull does not renew his contract, signing a good goalkeeper is a must.
8. If you could take one Port Vale player for next season who would it be?
[pullquote]If we are in search of a keeper, from what I have seen, Chris Neal looks steady and would be a solid signing at League One level…[/pullquote]
That’s a tough one. Like I said above, we could do with a striker to knock a few in for us but looking at the Port Vale team sheet, I can’t see anyone different to who we’ve already got. If we are in search of a keeper, from what I have seen, Chris Neal looks steady and would be a solid signing at League One level.
9. What do the club need to do off-field to improve?
The takeover that is being processed will hopefully strengthen us off the field. John Ryan is heavily experienced in the chairman role and, with him back at the helm, we should be able to build and enjoy a good season on and off the field.
10. If you were granted one wish for next season, what would it be?
An end to the season that doesn’t threaten us with heart attacks! If we are going to go up or win the league, we want to have done it before the final day. If we are pushing for the play-offs, we want our place confirmed or not with time to spare.
The last two seasons have been stressful and it would certainly be nice to have a break!