Saturdays 0-0 draw with Torquay certainly highlighted the need at Sincil Bank for restraint following a decent start by Chris Sutton.
Whereas wins over Macclesfield and Aldershot boosted the hopes of a decent campaign for City, the lacklustre display against The Gulls only seemed to underline the size of the task Chris Sutton is facing.
Saturdays starting line up had three new faces, all of whom it became apparent hadn’t played enough with the others around them. There is no disrespect intended to the players themselves as all looked like competent footballers. However it did just seem like a massive injection very soon.
Furthermore the influx of loanees means we now have six on our books, with three signed until January: namely Rene Howe, Joe Heath and Adam Watts. That leaves the two Villa loanees and Anthony Pulis in for just one month each. Are one month loans the way to go? The players won’t have time to gel before they are off back to their parent clubs.
Saturday also saw the arrival of Bermudan winger Khano Smith who was dropped straight into the side. Smith looked short of match fitness, meaning he didn’t quite pose the sort of threat expected from a player of his calibre.
I think a telling sign was the bench from Saturday. Gone are the youth team, and sat in their place are the Peter Jackson generation. Aaron Brown is on the bench, Richard Butcher is there, Scott Kerr is there even Moses Swaibu is there. It appears that if you played for Peter Jackson, then you’re going to struggle to convince Chris Sutton you are worth a place in the side.
So what of the man tasked with lifting season 125 out of the doldrums? Well Chris Sutton is clearly a man of very few words outside the training ground. Last week I had the delight of attending a celebration meal at The Bentley Hotel which commemorated 125 years of Lincoln City. Unlike his predecessors Chris Sutton and Ian Pearce both attended the meal, and Chris even proposed a toast to the past manager – with the words ‘Here’s to the past managers’. Nothing more. However his attendance spoke volumes.
He seems very keen to play the game his way. Don’t concede goals first and foremost, and worry about scoring them later. Bar one Stefan Oakes drive City never looked like altering their score line of ‘nil’, but across the back they did looked more assured than a Jacko side. I think first impressions often mean a lot, and Chris Sutton sat at the back of the stand during our 3-0 home reverse against Notts County, and clearly felt he had to stop the goals going in. Out went 4-4-2, in came 4-5-1.
His signings so far have been a mixed bag. It’d be too early to comment on the Villa lads, and Khano Smith wasn’t exactly a Sutton player. He did bring Adam Watts to the side which looks like a good move, but LCM has yet to be convinced that Anthony Pulis is a decent addition to the side. If anything we need forwards, as discussed by Oscar Chamberlain last week.
So four games in and sadly the jury is still out. In terms of personality Chris Sutton and Peter Jackson couldn’t be further apart if one sat on the Sun and the other on Pluto. In terms of wins to games ratio Sutton is nudging it at the moment, and although the jury returned with a guilty verdict against Jacko, we haven’t really begun the preliminaries of the case under Sutton. However one thing is clear: We are a million, million miles from where we need to be.