A few weeks on from the appointment of Slavisa Jovanovic, after what felt like a lifetime without a manager, and it is debatable whether much has changed in terms of the direction we are taking.
Admittedly, I wasn’t expecting an immediate uplift in fortunes under the new manager and appreciate that anyone coming in is going to take time to assess and try and address the mess that is our Football Club. The draw away at Huddersfield at the weekend was the first point under the new regime, and while I am sure no-one is expecting much at home to Hull this weekend, we will hopefully in the coming weeks finally start to see Jokanovic address the problems within the side and make those tweaks that should see us gently move away from the relegation zone.
With the exception of this weekend’s opponents, who having put six past Charlton last time out leapfrogged us, we find ourselves at the wrong end of the table despite being the second-highest goalscorers in the league. A strange situation indeed although anyone who has bore witness to the shambles that is our ability to defend will understand why.
Back in the summer, we all knew that the defence was an area that needed addressing and it was interesting to see the team that started against Huddersfield excluded the likes of Stearman, Ream and Fredericks (all summer signings) and instead we went with a partnership of Hutchinson and Burn. While I don’t doubt that Slavisa is still feeling out the potential options with view to a more consistent line-up in the near future, it only serves to raise further questions around Mike Rigg and his player recruitment policy, something that given this month’s embargo, we will not be able to address in a great deal of detail until June.
By no means was Saturday’s result anything to write home about, but given the fact that we have taken one point from the last three matches, each in which we dominated possession, it would suggest that if we could possibly learn how to defend then we have the potential within the side to compete with anyone at this level. Slavisa had mentioned after the Huddersfield game that more training was needed and in the run up to the Hull match we are lucky enough to have a full week without any fixtures. Not that this will make the weekend’s task any easier, but it will hopefully allow further focus on our defensive frailities in light of what will likely be the best attacking outfit we face in the league this term.
The fact is that the likely outcome against Hull this weekend will be another three points for Steve Bruce’s men, but with Fulham being Fulham and the second-highest scorers in the league, surely it is only a matter of time now before a back-four quartet finally click and produce a performance that capitalises on our posession and potentcy in the final third. Could this be the result that finally announces the potential available to Jokanovic? Will we start to feel a sense of togetherness and pride at Craven Cottage which has been missing longer than I can remember? Here’s hoping so!