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Can Nathaniel save Rovers season?
There are times in every season that a football team meets with success or adversity and often it seems to be simple changes that dictate how the side copes with either.
For Bromsgrove Rovers under Rod Brown, 2 seasons ago the FA Cup game at Eastwood Town was a turning point.
Coming back from 5 – 1 down to draw 5 each and win the replay had a galvanising effect on the squad and saw them go on to win promotion in the league.
I believe this was due, in no small part, to a confidence born that day which meant that no matter how big the challenge Rovers players knew they could meet it.
Having suffered defeat in that FA Cup game might also have been a turning point for Eastwood Town as they have never looked back and as well as being in the Unibond Premier chasing the title they find themselves facing Kettering in the third round of the FA Cup this season.
Which brings me to another point. Eastwood have had momentum since that time and have continued to progress.
Regrettably, Rovers somehow lost the momentum of that promotion season and ended up back in the Midland Division.
Worse still, Rovers have lost so much momentum that they currently look like an average side in the Midland Division with only an outside chance of making a place in the play-offs.
Bedworth manager Liam O’Neill said recently that there are 6 sides in this division capable of competing for the top and another six who should be safe in the top half, away from trouble at the bottom.
I agree with Liam but it strikes me that Rovers should be one of those top 6 sides and not languishing in mid-table.
There may be a glimmer of hope in a season where Rovers have struggled to score goals with the unearthing, albeit probably accidentally of new striker Nathaniel Waite.
To be in the top 6 a side needs someone who can score 20 goals a season and Nathaniel might just be it for Rovers.
The other “top 6” side struggling for a goal scorer this season has, surprisingly, been Chasetown but as Charlie Blakemore has now signed Luke Reynolds they may have found their answer.
Let’s hope Rovers have found theirs with Nathaniel although, he is much more than just a goal scorer.
There are few players at this level who can hold the ball up so well and bring other players into the game.
We haven’t seen it at Bromsgrove since Paul Szewczyk left a few seasons ago.
It was sad to see recently that it appears “Shevvy’s” football career is over due to a recurrence of the injury that plagued him over the last couple of seasons.
So we wait to see if Rod can get that momentum going and Rovers can make the play offs by the end of the season.
It will be good if they can but to be honest, for a club of Rovers size that should be a minimum requirement.
We need to get out of this division upwards and stay up.
Whilst the Premier is tougher and we contrived to fail to remain in it last season it really shouldn’t be difficult to finish mid-table in another division that splits into the “haves and have nots”.
The difficulty for Rovers is probably that in this division we can give an appearance of being one of the “haves” whilst in the league above we’ve only shown as one of the “have nots” against big budget teams like Halesowen and Corby.
Looking at things logically, if Leamington can go and win 15 out of 16 and draw the other one, there is no reason Rovers can’t go on an unbeaten run and deliver what the fans deserve, a minimum of a play-off position.