It was time for my first season as Dumbarton manager to get under way. Before the league kicked off there were a few cup games to get through. A good cup run is always pretty good for a low league team, as it brings in some much needed finances. As much as topping the league was my main priority it would be very beneficial to get through a few rounds of each cup. Game one of being in charge was my first venture in to the Challenge Cup up against Stenhousemuir, the game went all the way to penalties after finishing 3-3. The shoot out was one of the craziest shoot outs I’ve seen, and I eventually won it 13-12. Seeing as they were a lower league team, and I only just managed to beat them, I wasn’t feeling particularly confident that I would get much further than the first rounds in the cups. However 11 goals in our next 3 games put my initial fears to rest a little. Here is how the fixtures have gone so far.
As you can see we have actually been in very good form for the most part, and haven’t suffered any back to back defeats. And yes, I did bring home Dumbartons first trophy of the season winning the Challenge Cup final against Hearts. Winning it was made a lot easier by the fact that no Scottish Prem teams are involved – Hearts were relegated last season. I did however drop out in the third round of the League Cup, but that was a 2-0 loss to Prem side Motherwell, so I can’t be to unhappy about it.
So far my successes had mainly been down to two players, McKerracher and Megginson. They had both been linking up very well and led the way in the scoring (Megginson – 14 goals) and assisting (McKerracher joint top – 9) charts at this point in the season.
As long as they were able to keep this kind of form up, a playoff place was surely on the cards.
As January rolled around, I was expecting teams to start making moves for a few of my players, and I wasn’t wrong. Within a day of the window being open, I had received bids for 5 different players, and most of them came from ‘better’ teams. I wasn’t confident that I would be able to keep all my players. With an already small squad, losing my key people could be a turning point for the worst in my season. My fears were compounded when one player called a meeting with me after I rejected a bid for him. Chris Turner was the man in question, one of my regulars of the three man midfield. He informed me that he wanted to move on to a bigger club, I tried to reason with him and tell him that he could achieve what he wanted where he is now. Turner was having none of it. Eventually I excepted a bid from Patrick Thistle for £35k. At least I was able to get a decent amount for him.
Two players have already been brought in to cover. Barry Robson, a versatile 36 year old who can play anywhere in midfield, he will provide good cover for any injuries or tired players. The other was Alexis Dutot, 22 year old French defender. Some competition for CB would be good, as I was a little light in that area, he can also be deployed as a RB.
Here is how the table stands currently. As you can see we are in the playoffs, and only 5 points off the top spot. The 6 point gap between me and 5th is also very good, and makes me feel like a playoff spot is almost guaranteed at this stage.
Check back soon for the final season results.