A look back at the month of August - the start of the Championship campaign and our exit
from the Betfred Cup.
Allan Johnston changed his favoured 3-5-2 to a flat back 4 during the first half at Ayr, substituting Danny Devine. This followed a poor start to the game, with the previously-reliable defence looking badly out of sorts. Will the manager write off the opening half hour at Ayr as a blip, and revert back to the Ashcroft/Durnan/Devine trio against Inverness this weekend? I would expect so - the Ayr game aside, the defence has been solid when all 3 first choice centre backs have been available.
Lee Robinson enjoyed a great start to his Pars career, achieving 12 shutouts in 21 games after joining the club in January. His style of goalkeeping, which he promotes on his website and Instagram page 'The Modern Day Goalkeeper', features, among other things, non-traditional volley kickouts and extended forays (Manuel Neuer-style) upfield. He has been a refreshing change to the typical type of keeper we have seen through the years but when his distribution lacks the accuracy of his Instagram videos, and when he is at the halfway line with the ball with the team 4-1 down, then losing possession and watching helplessly as the opposition narrowly miss a long range lob into the unguarded goal (as happened late in the defeat at Ayr), it's time to focus on the fundementals again and only add flourishes when appropriate.
GET WELL SOON
After an extended injury absence, it seemed that key midfielder Tom Beadling was on the road to recovery after he made a 60 minute appearance at Inverness in the Irn Bru Cup on 14 August. However, since then he has had a reaction to the injury and has yet to add any minutes to the game time he needs to get back to full fitness. He is expected to be fit again in the near future and the team will benefit greatly when he is fully fit and available for selection.
Myles Hippolyte's good form on the wing at Ayr showed that he is better played as a wide attacker rather than as a centre forward. He has mostly been played in a central role but has yet to fully convince as a striker. His game is better suited playing wide left or right.
WANTED: A CENTRE FORWARD
With only 2 natural strikers in the first team squad - Faisaal El Bakhtaoui and Andy Ryan - another option up front would be welcomed. 17 year old Lewis McCann is not ready to fill that role for the first team yet: the team would benefit from having a centre forward who can hold the ball up - a goalscorer with physical presence. Is there a 2018 version of an Andy Smith-style player out there?
REASONS FOR OPTIMISM
- the Longridge brothers have both made excellent starts to their time at EEP and will be important players for us this season.
- despite losing the game, the performance against Hearts in the Betfred Cup was encouraging and showed the capabilities of the team when on form.
- the team's poor display at Ayr could be a blessing in disguise - the players will want to show they are much better than how they played last weekend and in captain Lee Ashcroft's words, ''put it right''.
- The Championship is such a competitive division that losing 2 of the opening 3 games has not left a big gap from the leaders. If we can pick up our form and results, we can quickly move up the table and establish ourselves as title candidates, while other teams will take points off each other - I do not anticipate a runaway winner this season.