Forest Green Rovers 0 Us 0

Earlier this season I described our fixture list as looking like an extended pre-season. Little did I know how prophetic that was. We have passed the point where the play-offs are even the distant prospect, the ship has steadied enough to ensure no unlikely relegation, now we’re simply preparing for next season.

So 0-0 draw with Forest Green, like the rest of the run-in, I suppose, needs to be looked at in a broader context. Certainly the team is improving, but the vagaries of the loan system and the short term nature of lower-league contracts means it is nearly impossible to make any firm conclusions about the nature of the squad going into the 08/09 season.

The key constant is the manager. Darren Patterson’s application to the job at hand is unquestionable. He has overhauled the team and got rid of dead wood. He’s also improved things. However, it is easy to criticise the manager, and easy to see objectively where things have gone wrong. It is far harder to make a team play well. However, what makes you a great manager is the ability to critically evaluate your own decisions; so when you’ve got it wrong, do something about it. The value of Darren Patterson and with it the prospects for next year will only truly be seen in the summer.

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Oxblogger is a blog about Oxford United.

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