A League 2 blog with an overwhelmingly pro-Torquay United bias
Next up in our ambitious season preview it’s battling Barnet:
Recap of last season
The Bees treated us to one of the most daring relegation escapes of recent years. Languishing in the drop zone with 7 of their remaining 8 games against top half opposition, Martin Allen’s arrival sparked new life into the side that even his bafflingly sudden departure couldn’t extinguish, and they steamed ahead of free-falling Lincoln on the final day with a dramatic, penalty-sealed victory at a packed Underhill.
The fighting spirit that characterised their triumphant bid for survival looks to be among their greatest assets. The experience and contacts of Lawrie Sanchez could prove an invaluable differentiator at this level.
It’s probably unfair to read too much into last season’s overall performance given how strongly they finished, but a porous defence, shot-shy attack and an inability to hold onto a lead all played a part in propelling them towards the drop zone. They’ve also yet to replace some of the players who’ve left over the summer.
While Steve Kabba’s experience up front will be key, his junior striking partner Izale McLeod’s composed finish from the penalty spot to keep his side in the Football League underlined his importance to the team. Assistant Manager Guiliano Grazioli has noted that McLeod has been “on fire” in pre-season: if he can hit the ground running then Barnet may be able to maintain a comfortable distance from the relegation places.
One to watch
Barnet averaged a higher points tally during young midfielder Sam Deering’s loan appearances than in those of any other player last season. Having now joined the club permanently, he is widely regarded as a definite starter and this could be a massive year for him.
A lot depends on whether they can maintain the momentum from their great escape. If they can recapture their survival form on even a sporadic basis then things may finally be looking up for the perennial relegation battlers. Realistically, a slight improvement on last season’s life-or-death struggle is the best that they can hope for, which equates to entering the 46th round of fixtures without facing a fight for their league survival.
Ben: They’ll have enough about them to stay up, but I expect them to still be in the bottom third
Danny: Strike force and stability = steering clear from danger
Maxi: Flirting with relegation as usual but surviving once again
Links to other teams in this preview can be found here