With the Scottish Championship now approaching the halfway point I felt it was time to look at each team and summarise how everyone is doing. I plan to work my way through the league over the next week and a bit so hopefully we can get through the teams before Christmas! Although 90% of what is written will be my own opinion I might dig into my social media and forum contacts for a little bit of help with some of the finer details.
We begin our look at the season so far with Alloa (purely because of alphabetical order).
It is always a challenge writing a blog post for a team that you know are doing lots of good stuff and are achieving what they had hoped but are still technically struggling due to their league position. Alloa very much fall into this category. They are to be admired for what they are doing but there is still a real sense of worry given the teams around them and the budgets available to managers like Ray McKinnon and Gary Caldwell.
Having seen Alloa several times this year I can say this, they are a very good side. They are organised, committed and they play good football when needed. In previous years we have seen sides sit at the bottom of the table and approach every game with a “must not lose” mentality but with Alloa you feel as though they see every game as a potential victory. They have also (in spells) managed to match pretty much everyone in the league. Under Jim Goodwin they have developed a real resilience about their play and they should be praised for that. Will it be enough to keep them in the division? In all honesty I don’t think it will. They still lack goals in their side and the potential business done by other teams in the January window might put them at a further disadvantage. It doesn’t help that the teams around them have much larger budgets and can call on this over the next few weeks.
January Wishlist – I’m not sure what kind of transfer kitty is available to Goodwin and they already have a few players in on loan. If they can strengthen then they could probably benefit from another striker or someone who can get goals. They’ve been guilty of not having the ruthless edge they need and it has cost them in matches where they looked on top but couldn’t quite get over the finishing line.
Player of the Season (so far) – I’ve seen Alloa on a number of occasions (it already feels like we play them every other week) and for me there are two standouts in Goodwin’s side. I think that Dario Zanatta, on loan from Hearts, has been a fantastic addition to the Championship and he will surely go on to have a great career. Also we’ve been the victim of a couple of stunning strikes from midfielder Iain Flannigan. He has been in superb form so far this season. Both players would not look out of place at other teams in the division.
Predicted Finish – 10th (sorry)
Manager Grade – A. Jim Goodwin has done a fantastic job at Alloa and he should be recognised for what he has achieved. That recognition may come in the form of a few job offers and I would expect him to take a number of calls in the summer when some teams are maybe looking at a change of manager. He has been resistant of full-time management but that might change if the offer is right.
Overall Grade – A. As I said earlier on it is difficult to write something like this because of the really good work going on at Alloa and their performances so far this season. I still think they will ultimately come up short but that is not to say they haven’t done exceptionally well this season.