On paper it is pretty easy to report on Brechin City’s season so far. Having not won a single game the Glebe Park side sit bottom of the Championship and must surely be facing an immediate return to League One. The table doesn’t lie but there is more to Brechin’s season than the three points they have accumulated since August.
Manager Darren Dods is someone who worked wonders with an injury ravaged squad last season and in many ways this year was always going to be a bit of a free ride. He has faced criticism for his defensive tactics in the past but the hard work in making sure his side are difficult to beat has nearly paid off on more than a few occasions this season (frustratingly they have lost a league game by just a single goal on nine occasions). Brechin have caused teams problems this year but they haven’t quite managed to get over the finishing line. Moving in to January there is a bit more confidence in this team compared to early on in the campaign but the lack of a clinical finisher at the club has meant that there have been numerous opportunities for points that have sadly passed. The January window is an opportunity for Dods to add to his squad and he is keen to do so. He will expect his side to pick up their first victory and push on giving some hope of remaining in the Championship for another year.
Looking beyond 2017/18 Brechin will be in a much stronger position after a season in the Championship. Bigger crowds, commercial revenue and a Scottish Cup draw against Celtic will ensure that despite a seemingly inevitable relegation they will be in a very good place for an immediate return to the Championship. The windfall from the tie against Celtic will allow the board to make small improvements behind the scenes and they will also be in a position to give the manager a little bit of money to reinvest in the squad. There is no real danger of Dods being sacked and the board will be happy to give him the opportunity to prove his worth again next season.
January Wishlist – It is obvious to say a striker or two wouldn’t go a miss but for me personally there is an argument to be made in not making any signings. The reasoning behind this might be in then giving Dods a larger budget for next season rather than spending it on the second half of this season.
Player of the Season (so far) – Multiple options for this. A few players are relishing the chance to prove their worth in the Championship and the majority of players have not looked out of place in any way. After much deliberating (and some input from my go to Brechin fan Kim) the decision is that Gary Fusco gets the ‘so far’ award. The 35-year-old deserves a season of Championship football and he has grabbed this opportunity with some solid displays.
Predicted Finish – 10th. Regardless of recruitment it looks like Brechin will finish bottom. They are not helped by the fact that the teams above them will be able to spend much more in January. The best Brechin can hope for is a decent second half of the season and a couple of victories for their fans to celebrate.
Manager Grade – B. Darren Dods is a rare breed in football, a genuinely nice guy with a good relationship with pretty much everyone. He has a great deal of good credit in the bank and he is still relatively inexperienced in management so there is much more to come from him. There is no danger in him being sacked so for him it will be a case of looking ahead to next season to build on his growing reputation.
Overall Grade – Practically impossible to give Brechin any real ‘grade’. Things at the club are pretty healthy, the fans are generally quite happy and the team on the park are showing enough despite the results. No team should be satisfied with bottom spot but Brechin are a side that can be happy with their season so far and it could be a campaign that sets them up for a successful few years ahead.