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April 2027

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The month began on a high with a cup win and continued strong.  We had a chance to clinch promotion with a point against Forest Green, but it wasn't to be, despite dominating the match.

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One point in our final match will do it!  We face Notts County at home.

New Signing

We've signed George Sutherland from Manchester United for $3M.  He will help out immediately upon joining us this summer at the striker position.  He has also been capped twice by Scotland.

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Posted (edited)

Final Day!

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What a turnaround from when Rank took over!

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Edited by ranks39
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2026/2027 Season Review

Well, this was a season to remember!  Taking over around the halfway point and the squad sitting in the 18th position in the table to seeing us go up automatically is an amazing accomplishment.

Overall Best XI

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Club End of Season Awards

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Here's how we finished out the season.

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Nathan Trott - Goalkeeper - Trott had a great season for us and he commanded the back line well, breaking the team record for shutouts in a season.

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Luke Matheson - Right Back - What can I say about Matheson?  He was definitely a driving force on our back line who also got forward to great effect.  He scored 3 league goals and assisted on a further 10 - what a great year!

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My Center back pairing of Magnus Skolsegg and Rodrigo Rego was also very strong and held our shape together, even with my full backs getting into the attack.

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At the left back position, Rhys Giles held his own.  He is still very clearly learning and improving but he is definitely getting better!  He contributed 6 league assists and showed some defensive ability, as well.

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The  midfield partnership of Christoph Kramer and Taylor Teague really flourished with Teague playing from a deeper position and Teague playing in a box to box fashion.  Kramer contributed 5 goals and 10 assists this season while Teague chipped in 2 goals and 8 assists of his own.

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Mark Griffiths, our Right Attacking Midfielder had a nice season - he was very dangerous up and down the right wing, cutting inside to create danger.  He provided 6 goals and 4 assists.

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Our Central Attacking Midfielder, Reece Strong, was also a key cog in the attack this season, supporting the attacking from his position.  He provided 7 goals and 12 assists.

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Jack Black, on loan from Everton(but joining permanently this summer) held down the left side of our attacking midfield.  He showed great ability to get into the right spots and scored 7 goals, while assisting on 7.

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Finally, our main striker, Ben Bruce.  His finishing is still very bothersome but he found a way!  He scored 17 league goals this season and formed a part of one of the best attacking units in the league.

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League One Season Awards

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Leagues in Review

National League South - Bromley go up as champions(with 100 points!) and Maidstone go up after winning the playoff.  Maidenhead, Kinstonian, Weston-Super-Mare, and Poole Town go down.

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National League North - Gateshead go up as champions and Darlington go up via the playoff.  Halesowen, Braintree, Morpeth, and Rushall go down.

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National League - Stockport go up as champions, Fylde win the playoff, and  Yeovil, Barrow, Torquay, and FC Halifax go down.

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League Two - Crewe go up as Champions, joined by Wycombe, Doncaster, and MK Dons.  Port Vale and Newport County go down.

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League One - Barnsley go up as Champions, joined by Bolton Wanderers and Charlton.  Chesterfield, Colchester, Bradford City, and Burton all go down.

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Championship - Burnley go up as Champions, Joined by Sheffield United and Reading.  Sheffield Wednesday, Sunderland, and Oxford hit the drop.

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English Premier League - Manchester City win the league comfortably, with Arsenal, Liverpool, and Tottenham claiming Champions League places, Manchester United and Chelsea claim Europa League spots, and Norwich joins the Euro Cup II.

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JD Cymru Premier - Barry are Champions, taking 7 points more than TNS.  TNS are still the only professional club.

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Scottish Premiership - Rangers and Celtic blast everybody else, while St. Johnstone are relegated.

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Scottish Championship - Livingston go up as champions and Alloa and Airdrie go down.

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Northern Irish Premiership - Larne win the league and Newry City AFC hit the drop.

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Irish Premier League - Cork City lead at about the midway point, followed closely by Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers.

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Posted (edited)

International Call-Ups

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Thomas is looking for his first senior cap, Giles has just one and Skolsegg has just 2.

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Youth product Roger Mulder gets his first call-up of any kind.

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Edited by ranks39
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Signings Confirmed!

Now that we are heading up to the Championship, it's time to do a little roster-building.  We've signed four players thus far  for a total of  $4.75M, three of which will immediately and regularly contribute!

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First off, Sean Romanis is a depth option to help out our wingers a bit.  I don't think his stars give him his due, though, as I think he'll outperform them.

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Secondly, Chris Burke, a very pacy winger that will slot in immediately and compete for minutes.  I also believe that we're going to lose Mark Griffiths to a bigger club, so this will help to ease that blow.

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Jack Black is a known quantity to us, as he's spent the last season with us on loan from Everton.  We purchased him outright and he'll retain his left winger position.

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Finally, George Sutherland comes to us from Manchester United.  His contract was running down but there was an extreme level of interest in his service, so we made a transfer bid  of about $3M to ensure that we got him.

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Now, we'll be looking to tap a couple of free transfers to add some depth to the squad as we hit the Championship.

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New Signing!

Oli Ewing joins us on a $775K transfer and will slot right into the hole left by Christoph Kramer's departure.

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New Signing!

Darren Rye, an English Center Back, comes to us from Arsenal after failing to break through.  We paid about $3.1M and that will conclude our transfer business for this window unless we find a free agent or a free loan player.

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Pre-Season

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A very solid pre-season with a 3-3 draw to Premier League side, Leicester City, a draw to Ligue 1 side, SM Caen, and a 3-1 victory over Anderlecht!

Here's how we'll line up this season!

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August 2027

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A great start to life in the Championship followed by a run of draws and a humbling loss to Stoke.  We rotated our entire side for the Carabao Cup loss - we are focused solely on the league this season.

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A pretty decent standing at the moment.

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September/October 2027

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To be honest, I can't complain about this two month stretch.  The losses to Fulham and Huddersfield were unsurprising but the lost to at the time bottom-of-the-table Birmingham was extremely disappointing.  Sutherland won the Rotherham game on the very last kick.

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We are firmly mid-table and I couldn't be happier!

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November 2027

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Sutherland continues his torrid run all over the Championship.  We were particularly impressive in our victories over Milwall and Cardiff and we stole 2 points from Charlton with a semi-rotated squad.  We were very unlucky to not come away with the full three points against Fleetwood, as well.  We're beginning to impose our style upon our opponents.

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We sit 7th and are on a great run of form as we approach the halfway point of the season.

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And right at the end of the month, we got this news....

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December 2027

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Our form dipped in tandem with Sutherland's injury.  We hit a bit of a run of injuries, but we've come out the other side now.

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We sit 11th, just four points out of the playoff places just over halfway through the season.

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January 2028

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Not a terrible month, Sutherland continues to go scorched earth on the Championship.  We rotated our entire squad for the FA Cup so a loss was definitely a reality.

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We still sit in a respectable 10th place, just 3 points off of Crystal Palace for the final playoff spot.  If we could turn one of the losses in each month into a win, we'd be in the picture.  As it sits, we're still right there and have plenty of matches to turn it around.

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February 2028

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Kind of a disappointing month.  We weren't expected to take anything from Stoke, Crystal Palace, or Cardiff - especially considering the fact that the match against Crystal Palace would catapult the winner to 6th and the final playoff position.  The disappointing part is the fact that we at least played as well as Stoke and Crystal Palace and got nothing from either match.

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We steady ourselves in the 9th position, still just 7 points off of Crystal Palace in 6th and Leeds in 5th.  The pack between 3-10 is beginning to pull away a bit from the bottom of the table.  We're kind of in this weird place that I feel like we shouldn't be this high in the table but if we don't get into the playoff this season, I feel we may toil here for awhile.

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Posted (edited)

March 2028

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We've officially entered a tailspin.  Despite outplaying most sides, gaffes at the back have left us on the wrong end of three straight.  It's a fatal blow to our playoff hopes....

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Our gap has ballooned to 11 points with just 6 matches to play.  Aside from that, the teams above us are generally in good form and we're, well, not.

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Edited by ranks39
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Youth Intake

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It's not great.  

Steven Smith could turn into something but he's a long way off.

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Posted (edited)

John Terry: Wanted Man

After fielding what seems like 15 interviews about how John Terry is in the running for all manner of management roles(from the Welsh Prem to varying levels of English football), John Terry has been offered the top job at League Two side, Cambridge.

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Much ado about nothing.

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Edited by ranks39
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April 2028

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Not a bad month but the two losses sealed our fate.  

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We finish 9th, well above our expectations.  Cardiff played inspired football down the stretch to claim the title and Crystal Palace used their win over us as a springboard to mount a run to the second automatic promotion place.  Stoke tumbled down the table and finish just 5th!  The playoff will be interesting.

 

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End of Season

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Leeds win the playoff and join Cardiff and Crystal Palace in the Premier League.  Wigan, Luton, and Charlton go down.

Overall Best XI

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Team end of season awards/statistics

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Sutherland, despite not scoring in our last handful of matches, finishes up with 30 league goals, what a player!

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New Signings!

We brought in a few new faces both for the first team and for the future.

First off, Christopher Eze - he is a very well-rounded fullback and at just 18, he has a lot of time to work on his attacking attributes.  He comes to us on a free after being released by Arsenal.

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Keith Judge -a very physically-gifted striker and another from Manchester United for $400K.  He will likely be my second-choice option and will push Ben Bruce to the wing as a backup.

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Ben Thomas - A Welsh center back with all of the physical tools and good defensive instincts.  He has loads of potential but will also add depth immediately to our backline.  We purchased him for $85K near the end of his contract to ensure that we'd get him, as interest was high.

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James Cooper - a young, Irish striker that is very raw but has potential.  He'll join our youth sides.  He came to us as a free agent after leaving Wolves.

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Finally, the jewel of our additions, Joel Davies.  Davies is a complete and and well-rounded midfielder who is ready for immediate minutes in the center of our midfield and will allow us to build a bit more depth on that position.  We put in a $150K offer for him on the third-to-last day of his contract as there were numerous offers for him on a free.

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I definitely feel as those moves have given us the talent to not only consolidate our position in the Championship, but to mount a legitimate promotion challenge.

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Pre-Season

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Not terrible, we were competitive with Sporting and RB Salzburg and we dismantled Bayer Leverkusen.

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Squad

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August 2028

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Not our best start but to be fair, there were some pretty tough matches.  We have been terrible in front of goal.

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We sit firmly in the middle of the table.

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Posted (edited)

Poached Players Update

As a reminder, here is a list of the players that have been poached from the various clubs that Rank has managed.

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Jimmy Nolan has been with Millwall since being poached from us and coming through the intake in 2024.  His is with the U23's and has yet to make a first team appearance.  It's odds-on that his breakthrough won't come with Millwall.

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Eden McDonagh came through in 2024 and spent the next few season with the Sheffield United youth teams before moving to Harrogate in 2027-2028; he made no appearances for either club.  His persistence, however, paid off in 2028 as he secured a move back home to play for Cobh Ramblers in the  first division.  In his first season, he's started 26 matches and scored 8 goals across all competitions.

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Rob O'Brien was poached by West Ham United and came through an intake around 2025.  I forgot to check "Keep History After Retirement" and thus, he's disappeared from the game.  At the end of the 2026-2027 season, he was released and failed to catch on with anyone, prompting his retirement from professional football.

Evan Rooney was poached by Wolves in 2026 and came through the 2027-2028 youth intake.  He is currently with Wolves U23 side and looks like he could have a little bit of potential in the future.

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Shane McMillan also came through in the 2027-2028 youth intake for St. Mirren and is currently with their U18 side.

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Edited by ranks39
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September 2028

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We are completely hit-or-miss in front of goal.  Two 1-0 losses that we outplayed both opponents was the frustrating part of the month.

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We sit 11th but with so many matches still to play it means little to nothing.

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Posted (edited)

A nostalgic look back.

This month, I'll look at how Rank's previous clubs are doing.

First, Cabinteely are back in the First Division - relegated after their first season back in the Premier Division.

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 This season, they've finished third and will compete in the promotion playoff.

Next up, Bohemian F.C. - after I left following the 2026 season, Bohemians would go on and win the Premier Division in 2027.  They also qualified for the Europa League group stage in 2026-2027.  

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Unfortunately, they came runners-up in 2028.

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BUT, they qualified for the Champions League Group Stage, won the EA Sports Cup and won the President's Cup.

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We also left them with excellent youth coaching and recruiting.

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Edited by ranks39
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October 2028

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The loss to Brighton was disappointing as we had the better of the match, in my opinion.  We did go on and win the following two matches before another match in which we dominated and managed to drop points.

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We sit in 8th, so not a bad spot to be.  We cannot continue to drop points, though.

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Sutherland is heating up though!

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November 2028

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We just cannot put a run of form together.

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We sit 10th and aren't out of the races yet.

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December 2028

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A pretty good month capped by a humbling, 5-0 defeat.  We put out a B side to keep our First Team fresh for league play.

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We sit 8th in the league but our form is picking up a bit!

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Unfortunately, Leeds have triggered Matheson's minimum release clause.

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It's just been that sort of season.....  We get on a run of form and we're beaten by ourselves.

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January 2029
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What a terribly frustrating month.  We dominated the matches with Sunderland and Swansea and dropped all three points.

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We are still at the races.


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February 2029

I guess the phrase "it's always darkest just before the dawn" truly applies to our season!

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After closing January with a 3-0 win over Millwall, the good times kept rolling into February.  The only thing that could have made it better would have been grabbing the full three points from Huddersfield.  Better yet, almost every team that we beat was mid-table or a playoff contender!  The team has really come together since losing Matheson to Leeds.

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We still have a long way to go, though, as Brentford lurk just behind us.  Boy, we can really score goals but we can also pitch them away just as easily as we're the top goalscoring outfit in the league.

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International Call-Ups

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Tom Blake is from my most recent youth intake.

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Ben Thomas, who joined us this past summer, gets his first call-up while at Bolton.

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